This overview of the essentials of Yoga—understood not merely as a system of exercises but as a full-fledged spiritual tradition—is meant to both broaden and deepen the understanding of beginning students. It covers all the basic elements of this ancient discipline and philosophy of India and includes newly translated excerpts from the scriptures. Special attention is given to branches of Yoga, such as Tantra, that are of great interest to Western students but frequently misunderstood.
The topics covered include:
• The principal branches of Yoga
• Moral principles
• Meditation and concentration
• Control of the breath
• The physical exercises of Hatha Yoga
• Mantras: sacred sounds of power
• The powerful psychospiritual energy known as Kundalini
• The transmutation of sexual energy
• The teacher-student relationship
• Suggestions for further reading and other resources From Publishers Weekly For many Americans, Yoga has become just another kind of aerobics, an exercise system disconnected from any religious framework. As a spiritual corrective to that distortion, Feuerstein's guide is an important pointer in the right direction that should also help readers understand the astonishingly sophisticated system that has emerged from a 5000-year-old Indian spiritual tradition. Employing a very accessible vocabulary, Feuerstein's work offers real utility in its overview, its list of what to read next and its identification of useful resources from both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Most importantly, Feuerstein includes significant discussions of meditation, mantra, Kundalini and Tantra, which are themselves tantalizing recognitions of the transcendent paths within Yoga. As a starting point for the seeker, Feuerstein's book is excellent. The book is also refreshing in its own unpretentious recognition that it is only that. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Booklist Feuerstein, author of more than 20 books about yoga and other facets of Indian spirituality, is adept at presenting accurate and accessible interpretations of these traditions to Western readers. In this welcoming primer of yogic thought and practice, he places yoga within a historical context, clears up common misconceptions, defines terms, and provides concise descriptions of the main branches, or schools, of yoga. At each stage of this fluid exposition, Feuerstein emphasizes how the practice of yoga benefits all aspects of life, including the physical, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. The aim of all yogic practices, from following moral precepts to refined techniques of breath control, is for the practitioner to live in harmony with the world through transcendence of the ego-personality. Feuerstein uses this goal as a touchstone as he describes the importance of the teacher-student relationship, the significance of asanas and meditation, and yogic "dietary wisdom." As he moves on to increasingly complex and challenging yogic disciplines, Feuerstein retains his lucidity, but, naturally, can only scratch the surface of these profoundly demanding and esoteric realms. Donna Seaman About the Author Georg Feuerstein, PhD, (1947–2012) is internationally respected for his work on Yoga and is the author of over fifty books. He designed and taught several distance-learning courses on Yoga philosophy for Traditional Yoga Studies. For more information, go to www.traditionalyogastudies.com.
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