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4.8 out of 5 stars40
4.8 out of 5 stars
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2003
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2003
I bought this book after reading a recommendation off a listmania list. Wish I had this earlier.
The book is fascinating; without going into the terminology of Yoga, the author tells you what Yoga is all about; how it affects the mind; why should one do postures; how he came to choose Yoga and stick with it. I had hitherto read a lot of hard-core philosophy of Yoga - the sutras, the translations, etc, but reading Erich's book gives you a simpler translation of the both process and the outcome.
A student of Jiddu Krishnamurthy, the author easily and fluently speaks Yoga; the Who am I excercise in helping one to know oneself is a simple and profound way of getting deeper into our consciousness. If you ever thought why you should do Yoga at all, read the chapter on "Why Yoga?" and ye shall be convinced.
The coverage on postures, while detailed and broken into numerous steps, are a bit long-ish for a quick read; but that is what Yoga is about - no quick lunch anytime.
Another highlight of the book is the various sets of routines one can follow for all levels of students.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2004
After all these years, this is the book I come back to when I am stuck in my practice and need a little inspiration. If you are a beginner student, don't be scared off by some reviewers who say this book is not for you. If you are drawn to this book, then that is enough. You will learn plenty and grow with this book and find your bliss.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2001
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2004
After dipping into and out of various yoga and meditation texts -- and their accompanying philosophical bases -- I can say this book is the best I have ever found. I use it daily, it encourages both thoughtful contemplation and regular mindful practice without a lot of gobblydygook. Schiffmann's style is both easy and surprisingly far-reaching. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to center themselves and learn to sit still.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2004
My practice has taken on a new depth after reading this book. I am grateful that I can share this with my students. Be skeptical and find out for yourself. This book will change your yoga... for the better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2002
The spirit and practice of Erich Schiffmann is well transmitted in this distillation of Erich's classes turned into a book. His engaging personal style and deeply-held convictions about using yoga as a primary channel for self-knowledge and enlightenment make his book a great introduction to starting or expanding your yoga practice.
This book opens a lot of doors. Erich's unique personal history with Krishnamurti and B.K.S. Iyengar contribute well to the common sense and precision of his theme of "Moving Into Stillness" and as a 6'4", 200+ lbs. XXL-sized teacher, Erich shows that yoga is not the exclusive province of the small and lithe.
If your just looking for a book or video to show you the basic postures, there are plenty of sources that can fill the bill. If, however, you are looking for the why and how of yoga as deep resource for transformation, Erich's user-friendly guide is an invaluable vade-mecum to the journey.
To get a taste of Erich's "voice", start with Chapter 11,"Listening for Guidance- The Aerial Perspective"pp.329-331.
Let Erich help you join your mind to the Infinite Mind, which, after all, is the true goal of yoga.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2001
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.
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2009
I consider it a very good resource. I have been new to yoga and practice by myself using different yoga DVDs. Initially I was practicing yoga mostly as fitness exercises. Reading the book I have been realizing what should I feel and how should I feel about different poses and how to integrate the poses with breathing. I consider it an excellent book for anyone new to yoga.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2003
Whether you want to spend your life studying yoga or just have a curiousity about yoga, you should read this book. The author's words sound like they are being spoken directly to you. They are both clear but insightful, explaining complexities in the most understandable way.
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