Yoga – beneath the surface


Last week, we looked at three books on Yoga, to venture beyond the surface and plumb the depths of this ancient art, which also happens to be one of the most exact sciences in practice today. Even a cursory reading reveals this part of Yoga to us – the part that focuses on precision, to elevate yoga from the humdrum status of exercise regimen, to the exalted position of a life-transforming journey. In fact, several yogis aver that if any yogic practice – be it Mudra, Asana or Kriya, is done without a single day’s break for 90 continuous days, the spiritual, or if you prefer – metaphysical benefits are sure to unfold in the course of everyday life.

Last week’s books familiarized us with the ancient wisdom that Yoga holds in reserve: this week, we take a look at some tomes that cover peripheral, but nevertheless fascinating aspects of the same.

Yoga Anatomy: Leslie Kaminoff, a renowned expert in the T.K.V. Desikachar tradition of Yoga has authored this – one of the most famous books on Yoga anatomy. With a crucially required focus on breathing and the sensations of the spine while doing Yoga, this book is a detailed look at what your muscles are doing during each pose. Illustrations help us understand how muscles lengthen, compress and otherwise work during a range of asanas, while the accompanying text clarifies correct breathing techniques, possible obstacles that might occur during the practice of an asana, and of course, the Sanskrit name of each.

Yoga Body: While this sounds like another exposition on anatomy of the body during Yoga, this book has a totally different subject matter. It has gained an equal share of admirers and critics with its compelling and tell-all approach to the history of modern Yoga. From tracing the movement of Yoga into the asana-free eloquence of Vivekananda to the renewal of more and more physical austerities in Yogic sadhana, Mark Singleton holds the attention of the reader, educating us with ease.

The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita: Paramahansa Yogananda has a way of writing to the reader, and nearly all of his works have a worldwide audience bound by neither time nor geography. In this effort, he takes the Bhagavad Gita, often understood as being an essentially religious tome exclusive to the Hindus, and widens its appeal by expounding the true meaning of the text. This book is essentially a selection of text from his magnum opus-styled two-volume commentary on the Gita. In short, it is just the text for the seeker of divine liberation to delve into deeper states of meditation through the medium of Yoga.

Wait no more, turn the page, and watch your world of yoga yield rewards and riches past imagining. Happy reading!


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