In "Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses", Claire Dederer spends a chapter (Pigeon) talking about the challenges of wanting to learn more about yoga and being completely overwhelmed by all the text out there. In her own words:
"One of the problems with yoga was that there was no bible. No urtext. No word of god. Really, this is because yoga is a technique for knowing god, or even becoming god. A technique cannot have a bible. It has, instead, a manual. Or many manuals."
She goes on to tell of the many books she read looking for an understanding of yoga, finishing up with:
"What I took away from my readings was this: I was, according to these scholars, not doing yoga. I was doing asana, and the origins of that were quite suspect."
Oh, how I felt for her! My own experience was one and the same. I started going to yoga classes for the same reason so many of us start - a friend asked me to come with an I liked it so I kept going. It was wonderful and I could quickly tell there was more to it. But where to learn more? A Google search for "yoga" returns 471,000,000 results (as of today). In no time one will, like me, be completely overwhelmed at all the information that seems to have no structure to it and says crazy things about not having sex and not eating meat or drinking wine. Such a turnoff! If only I had started with "Pick Your Yoga Practice", I would have saved months of research and wrong turns.
Meagan McCrary does a wonderful job of organizing thousands of years of knowledge into a quick cheat sheet of yoga. The first three chapters - Yoga Explained, America's Yoga History, and Philosophical Foundations - are worth the purchase alone.Read more ›