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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Many people come to yoga from the perspective of health improvement. I am one of them. The path to yoga is often difficult in this case. You don't feel well, and those who instruct you are usually not yoga teachers. You get just a little dab to help you relax before meditating or as a supplement to an improved diet. Without knowing more, you do not know if you want to take on a lot of yoga. Yoga, The Path to Holistic Health is perfect for such health seekers. You will learn what asanas (poses or postures) can be used for what ailments, and the illustrations will help you use these asanas without an instructor.
I wish I had seen this book before having surgery recently. I did not know that there were asanas for improving my condition, and I might have avoided a procedure that has caused me much discomfort and inconvenience.
This book is a beginner's work, aimed at those who know almost nothing about yoga. As such, it is perfect for those who want to try some yoga to see what the health benefits might be. In my case, my brief exposure to yoga during meditation training led me to be interested in doing more. I found, though, that some asanas seemed to be hurting me. I was doing something wrong, but had no way to correct myself. Now, with this volume, I can see how to self-correct my practice. I also found asanas for what I want to accomplish that are easier on my middle-aged physique.
The illustrations give you the asana from 360 degrees, which is very helpful. He uses a range of models, so you will see both women and men performing the asanas. You are also told how to do them as a beginner. Each asana contains a caution section about who and when you should avoid this position. Mr. Iyengar also provides dynamic advice for how to move your body that gives you the essence of the asana in a way that mere illustrations could not. That advice focuses your attention on the way that the posture is being conducted in ways that I would have otherwise missed.
The book starts with a brief introduction to yoga and its benefits. The philosophy is then briefly outlined. Basic asanas are then described in sections based on whether you do them by standing, sitting, forward bends, twists, inversions, back bends or while reclining.
For people who live in Western countries, there is an extensive chapter on using yoga to relieve stress with lots of asanas. Many of these include props. I had not been introduced to props before, and liked what I saw.
To me, the core of the book was the section on which asanas to do for ailments. Your symptoms are the organizational structure. So if you have had asthma, for example, you go to the respiratory system section and look up the asanas that help. You then go to the front of the book (using the page references) to see how to do these asanas. From this, you can build your own program of self-healing. I recommend meditation as a supplement.
Finally, Mr. Iyengar provides a 20 week yoga course for those who want to begin yoga with a basic program. This looked like too much for me, but I will start it on my next vacation and see how it goes.
After you have used this book as a beginner for a few weeks, you will probably benefit from having an instructor check out your asanas once in a while. You are probably making small errors that are hard for you to self-correct.
The benefits of asanas come from relaxing the body and connecting the mind and body. You can also do this with your thoughts as the starting point. I suggest that you also select thoughts that you can use during the day to relax and create finer integration.
Ease into more positive positions, in order to flow with the natural river of improvement!
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on 7 April 2001
This is BKS Iyengar at his best - a beautifully illustrated step-by-step guide for all, from beginners to the more experienced,with special sections on reducing stress and how to treat and/or prevent a wide range of ailments. The instructions on how to perform each yoga asana, or posture, are clear and easy to follow, and there is a unique 360-degree picture of the final pose which shows you exactly how it should be done.The Self-Correction boxes showing 'right and wrong' pictures cover most of the common faults we make and are extremely helpful -use a mirror or find a friend to help you correct yourself.And the list of Benefits for each asana tells us exactly what effects it has on our bodies, inside and out, - essential information for the Holistic Health approach.
The section on Yoga for Stress, explains how yoga can counter the stresses of modern living and shows with clear illustrations how the use of props can help to achieve the asanas without strain, and so create a feeling of peace and relaxation. The section on Yoga for Ailments is one of the most clear and comprehensive I have read, and gives sequences of asanas, using props, to treat or prevent a wide range of ailments we have all heard about, even if we do not suffer from any of them ourselves, again clearly illustrated.
Finally, there is a easy to follow 20-week course taking you from simple to more complex asanas, with guidelines and suggestions for beginners. If you follow his instructions I feel quite sure you will achieve harmony in body,mind and spirit and understand that yoga is a holistic experience.
This is the book we have all been waiting for! Everything you need to know is covered in simple language you can understand accompanied with excellent, clear illustrations.
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on 13 February 2002
This has everything the yoga practitioner- beginner or advanced - could need. Helpful sections on how to hold the correct postures, asanas for different ailments, props needed and a glossary of the asanas. It is illustrated throughout and has a section on anatomy to help you understand the benefits of the asanas on the body.
Not a cheap book but well worth the price.
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on 23 March 2001
BKS Iyengar's light continues to shine brightly with this beautifully produced and highly useful book. It has a number of sections, starting with a lucid account of the principal benefits of Yoga practice and a brief summary of Yoga philosophy. This is followed by lavishly illustrated descriptions of a selection of classic poses. The two subsequent sections are probably the main attraction of this book for teachers, with extended sections on Yoga for stress and a 150-page section illustrating particular sequences for particular ailments. The final chapter suggests a somewhat ambitious 20 week Yoga course. The book concludes with a better-than-usual index.
This book is far more user-friendly than 'Light on Yoga', and it is very comprehensively illustrated. In line with the recent emphasis evident in the Iyengars' teaching, the stress is on correct performance of the basic poses. This is not a book for those wanting to do impressive-looking advanced poses; however, it will promote safe and correct practice and is useful for those interested in any form of Yoga. The chapter of classic poses is limited to a selection of only 23 asanas (the subsequent chapters include more, shown with the use of props). Throughout the book, the standard of illustration is exceptional; the 'Classic Poses' section shows how to get in the pose (with boxes listing benefits and cautions) and this is followed by double page spreads showing the full asana pictured from eight different angles. The reference section has some detailed anatomical drawing, although it is intruiging to note that the heart is not included in the internal organs.
There is a wealth of detail in this book, which is a gift to practitioners and which draws deeply from the tremendous teaching experience of the Iyengars (a rather benign image of BKS himself crops up throughout the pages, but it has to be said that he looks startlingly ferocious demonstating Tadasana). Teachers will want this book, and will find plenty in it to quote to their students, but there is nothing here which will look too intimidating to beginners. This is a book which will be used a lot, so despite its high price, it is well worth having in hardback.
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on 20 May 2002
A thorough look at yoga, for all abilities. I started out a total beginner, and used the book to complement classes, it was so useful. Shows easier poses for beginners, and advanced ones once you get better.
More expensive than some of the other books, but if you are serious about practicing yoga, well worth the money.
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on 16 February 2006
This book is excellent for every person who wants to start or get better in yoga. All of the postures are with pictures easy to understand and motivating to do. I use this book to complete my Iyengar classes. Now i can do the postures every day or choose a certain program for example the neck (a lot of computerwork) It helps me to relax after a hard day of working and fills me with energy or helps me relax when wanting to go to sleep. *****
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on 19 March 2009
According to Amazon.UK there are 31 separate genres for written books.

It would be very difficult to select a book for just one of those genres as 'The Most Important, Worthwhile & Special Book Ever Written'.

To make such a claim as for any book as 'The Most Important, Worthwhile & Special Book Ever Written in Any and All Genres' would be almost crazy.

Yet that is what I propose for this book. My reasoning is this:-

Surely the most important worthwhile and special thing in anyones life, and everyones life, is "How You Feel". If you feel wretched, depressed, upset, unhealthy, unenergetic........then what is your life but a burden: a misery? Any costly baubles or trinkets will have little real value.

LIFE is not about how wealthy you are, but how rich your life is.

So if each day is a blessing; a source of joy enjoyed with excellent health, energy, enthusiasm, flexibility, stamina and zest for life.......then all other so-called problems will pale into insignificance.

This is what this book can offer, as no other book can quite do.

In my opinion it is the centre of the universe in terms of Happiness.......and as the Dalai Lama reminds us: "The very purpose of Life is Happiness."
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on 27 June 2013
I have started doing Yoga recently and I was looking for a book that would help me practicing the asanas correctly. This is THE book. May look pricey, but it is worth every penny. The illustrations are of good quality, the explanations are to the point and I really like the 360 degrees pictures. It also covers what to do and what not to do and some alternative poses if you suffer with injuries or illnesses. There is a thorough explanation of the different types of asanas (picture + text), their original name and the name in English. Excellent the chapter of yoga with props and the one on ailments. It closes with a 20 week yoga program for those who are starting out. The book is not a substitute for a face to face yoga classes, but it is excellent if you want to get better and get more in depth knowledge with regards to this discipline. I got it second hand from amazon and the price was very competitive and the book practically like new!
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on 9 July 2010
Very good book, helps with those bits of alignment you might not understand in class. The poses have clear pictures from many angles to aid positioning.
Like the information regarding the poses that are suitable or more importantly not suitable when suffering from various ailments too.
Both my teacher (she regards this book as her "Yoga bible")& I highly recommend this item.
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on 25 October 2010
If you are interested in the true spiritual aspect of the Yoga practice this is ultimate book! Everything, literally EVERYTHING, you need to know about Yoga is in here!
Highly recommended, it should be in every Yogi's library! Even just for reference!
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