I have actively worked with this book for 2 months and this teacher for 5 years. This is an elegant, innovative introduction and practice manual for the broader and deeper dimensions to Yoga practice.
The publication is in two parts. The first is a presentation of the classical five dimensions to the human being from the Taittriyha Upanishad integrated with the Kriya Yoga model of transformation from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and the age and orientation models of Yoga practice from the teaching lineage often known as Viniyoga in the West. This discussion alone will be of much interest to the serious Yoga student of any tradition, for many classical teachings are condensed in a well-written, authoritative and accessible manner. The authority comes both from the influential teachings of Krishnamacharya and his son, Desikachar and the scholarship of the author, a student of Desikachar, Sanskrit and religion for many years.
Following this foundation is a series of discussions and practices sequentially emphasizing each of the 5 dimensions: Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anadamaya. Within these discussions are more well-written teachings on Pranayama, the Bandhas and the Cakra model. These practices are instructive and surprisingly challenging by themselves, but they are not prescriptions. They are illustrations of principles that can be further adapted by individuals to better support their own bodies and purpose for Yoga practice. In brief, this is what the Viniyoga teachings are all about. Still, the practices can be practiced by individuals on their own or used by a teacher as a template when working with his or her own students in group classes. For those not familiar with Viniyoga, the practices are well-presented with pictures and detailed instructions.
For those who have worked with the author for some time, several of the practices are familiar, but others are new. Many of the best practices he has presented at workshops are not shown. This book will be a relief for the many students who have tried to recall the flood of information presented at workshops around the country because much, but not all, is finally written down. A natural complement for this book is Kraftsow's first book, Yoga for Wellness, where the principles of Viniyoga asana practice are presented, along with many therapeutic applications of breath and movement. Three other good complements are Yoga for Body, Breath and Mind by A.G. Mohan, The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar and The Essence of Yoga: Reflections on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Bernard Bouanchaud.