World-renowned yoga master Erich Schiffmann now offers an easy-to-follow, exciting new technique - the first to combine hatha yoga and meditation - to all who are seeking healthful beauty and inner peace. Through simple instruction and essential illustrations, Yoga reveals more More...
than one hundred poses and yoga routines for all levels of ability that will slow or even reverse aging, increase stamina and strength, and slim and tone the body; a complete program of meditation to promote self-realization, decrease stress, and promote creativity and love; yoga's secrets of stillness and movement that will enable you to radiate energy and feel an inner luminescence throughout your body; exercises that will awaken joy, allowing you to feel good about yourself and experience happiness; and techniques for mindful breathing and conscious physical immobility to wonderfully transform your perception of yourself and your world. Discover how to feel balanced, centred, and coordinated, increase flexibility, eliminate pain, and become free of life's negativity through the spirit and practice of Yoga.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
275 of 275 people found the following review helpfulBy louienapoli on February 2, 2003 Format: Paperback
One of the best books on hatha yoga ever. There's nothing difficult to understand or apply. But the material will probably change the way you practice. It certainly did for me. I've been practicing yoga, on and off, for about ten years. I've taken classes with terrific teachers and even an agonizing series of 6 a.m. seminars with K. Pattabhi Jois. Yoga never got beyond the physical for me until I read Schiffman's book. Sometimes I wondered what the real difference was between a good hatha yogi and a contortionist. That question has been answered. Schiffman teaches the internals of yoga. His focus is on mobilizing the body's intrinsic energy--qi or prana--in each posture. The postures act as energy templates, he explains, but it's necessary to understand the lines of flow and circulation. He makes this very easy to understand and apply. And when you do, the external technique improves and you become precise without thinking about every distracting detail. Also, Schiffman's approach is beautiful. He teaches you to sense your limits and learn when you want to stay well within them, and when you want to push them. This is a method of gentle, "occasional healthy pain, tremendous gain." Schiffman is schooled in the Iyengar and Desikachar approaches. Precision is important to him. But he's taken it a quantum step farther. With Iyengar's Light on Yoga and Donna Farhi's Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit, Schiffman's book completes a trinity of the three most impressive, helpful books on hatha yoga I've seen, regardless of which style you practice or your level of skill.
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This book is excellent for a number of reasons. The detailed descriptions of how to do the postures are wonderful. There are excellent hints for progressing through difficult postures, including some really helpful exercises for helping you get your hip joints in shape to do the lotus pose. Erich really understands how the different poses affect the physical body and the energy field, and imparts this knowledge clearly and eloquently.
There is a whole section on breathing with the postures which I've not seen done so well in any other book. Also, he explains his concept of "lines of energy" which really bring the postures alive. A line of energy is a directional path of force that moves through your body during a pose. For instance, when you are doing the Mountain (basic standing) pose, you allow two lines of energy to develop: one which starts at the navel and runs down through your legs and feet, anchoring you down into the earth; the other lifting you from the navel upwards through the crown of your head. Understanding these lines helps the practitioner to experience each pose as a way of reorienting one's energy, rather than just a set of muscle stretches.
Perhaps Erich's greatest contribution to the yoga literature is his way of explaining how asana practice goes with meditation practice. Before, I was never sure how asanas fit in with the rest of yoga practice. Now I understand a lot better. I found Erich's spiritual writings very unpretentious and inspiring. The meditation exercises are wonderful both for beginners as well as people who've been meditating for a while.
This is a wonderful book from a teacher who knows his subject well and who seems to have a truly open heart. I would love to take a class from him someday.
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103 of 110 people found the following review helpfulBy Andy Todes on May 2, 2001 Format: Paperback
If you buy only one yoga book, this is the one. By a mile. Practically glutted with commonsense advice, especially from the mental point of view, here at last is a book that can take you a long long way in the privacy of your own home. Particularly useful is the exquisitely detailed information on the poses. Information that may at first seem like overkill, but isn't. Instead what you have is a comprehensive system for progressing slowly, naturally, and correctly. I love the author's comments on "feeling your edges" and "lines of energy" which really open your eyes right up. Superb photos. And an outstanding description of ujjayi breathing -- a difficult concept to describe but done beautifully here. A brilliant book which took 10 years to write. Good things obviously take time. My only advice is when it comes to meditation, take a look at Lorin Roche's, "Meditation Made Easy." Or Roche and Maurine's, "Meditation Secrets for Women." With these three books in your possession, you'll be cooking.
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