on June 24, 2003
This book, for me, has been wonderful. The author's tone of voice is fully inclusive, non-judgemental, and open. It invites all people to come to know the eternal meanings through study of self through yoga. He emphasizes that the most effective way to know what is the right action for yourself, in any situation, is to follow the paths of yoga to learn more about yourself and your inherent motivations.
He sees yoga as being approachable from unlimited directions. Some people will prefer pranayama (breathing) or mediation over asanas (postures) and he believes that yoga can be as unique as the yogi. In the end, all the paths of yoga lead to awareness, so it doesn't matter how you begin.
As for being non-judegmental, if you smoke, for example, he would never condemn or judge you. If that is what arises truly from within you, then so it is. He would add, i'm sure, that yoga would likely make it less necessary to smoke, but that preoccupation is not his. He is razor focused on helping the reader clarify his or her own place in the universe through yoga.
This book will likely help anyone take their yoga practice to a higher level.
on August 15, 2003
I have read many books on developing a serious yoga practice. However, this book is the most realistic, down-to-earth, and comprehensible out there. Desikachar believes that the practictioner of yoga should "start from where he stands." Rather than getting caught up in doctrines and dogma, cleansing rituals, and rules... Desikachar helps the modern yoga practictioner integrate their spiritual life with their mundane existence, so that the mundane becomes infused with the spiritual. It is truly a rich and inspiring book that has deepended my practice and encouraged me during my moments of doubt.
on April 22, 2004
This book is outstanding in its presentation of yoga. The book gives outstanding and in depth detail of every aspect of yoga from asana to pranayama and lifestyle to mantra. This book is not one you read from cover to cover at one sitting but rather read, digest, intregrate into your practice and reflect/journal about what you have learned before returning for more. I recommend this book to all my serious students and to fellow practioners as well. Broaden and deepen your practice with this book. You will be rewarded for your efforts. Namaste!
on July 10, 2002
No introduction is needed for the author (son of famous yogacharya Sri T Krishnamacharya). I got interested in yoga after reading his series of articles in Indian magazines in late 1980s. First of all, this book is not an explanation of yoga poses (I recommend Light on Yoga for that). I first bought the book thinking its another book about yoga poses. But I was wrong. This book is exactly what the title says - how to develop a personal practice. The emphasise of the book is for the practitioner to observe himself/herself and see how he/she can augment the benefits of the poses. This is an invaluable and a very important step in learning yoga.
Now, everytime I read it I find it throws more light on understanding yoga. I used to do yogic poses mechanically, but now I have a different perspective. The book really makes you think about an asana and how to improve yourself to benefit from it (the term for this is viniyoga). The emphasis is on gradually learning and enjoying each pose instead of hurrying to accomplish some asana. There are several tips for maximizing the benefits of asanas - for eg counterposes, developing breathing techniques by observing oneself etc. The explanation is lucid, the writing is so simple and effective. Several common questions are answered in Q&A format which is very helpful.
The second part of the book contains Patanjali's yoga sutras in Sanskrit and followed by explanations in English. (Yoga sutras are the foundations of yogas in other words - the heart of yoga). The explanations are very simple and easy to understand.
on December 21, 2002
Many yoga books and classes these days overly emphasise the asana, the postures. As a consequence the idea of achieving perfect postures has become synonomous with Yoga. Desikachar lays out in simple and easy to follow writing, the idea that the postures are but one of the many tools of yoga. Furthermore he emphasises the concept of adapting the yoga to suit the individual, rather than the individual attempting to force themselves to suit the yoga. An absolutely brilliant book that demystifies asana, pranayama, and bandha, and gives an excellent account of what yoga actually is. Desikachar's approach applies to everyone no matter what 'style' of yoga you are doing. The concepts he discusses are universally applicable.
on January 29, 2003
With the possible exception of McAfee, no-one alive today understands more about the heart and soul of yoga than Desikachar.
If you have reached the point in your yoga practice where asanas alone have not provided yoga's promise of self-completeness, then get this book, find a quiet corner and indulge yourself. You will not be disappointed.
on December 6, 2002
This book is a great starting point for an understanding of yoga and what it really is.
Yoga is more then just poses to get skinny. Yoga is a way to make you happier, healthy, and strong.
If you start yoga in a class at a gym you will not learn as much as you could if read his book. Most yoga in the US is the non threatining version. An ex-aerobics instructor who took 20 hours of yoga teaching classes is not fit to teach the real yoga.
This book is not trying to change your religion. Hindus are not expected to do yoga. Any god of your choice (or no god) will do.
Yoga is a philosophy not a religion. This book gives you the why and the how. Holding poses is not yoga. You need this book to know why you do things in yoga. If you read this, your practice of yoga will be better and you will get 100 times more out of it.
Buy the book before you buy any other yoga book.
on August 5, 2013
This book deepened my understanding of yoga. Being new to yoga the author writes about complex concepts but breaks them down so they can be more easily understood he also provides examples that are relatable. After reading this book I feel more confident in developing my personal practice in a more compassionate way.
on June 5, 2002
What more can I say?
The writing is clear, the content excellant, the illustrations informative. I found myself savoring the prose. The words used not only clearly define and explain topics, but also give the reader the chance to vicariously experience the topics.
If you read it through, buying this book is definitely the best thing you'll ever do for you personal practice.
on January 2, 2010
I got a lot of very valuable information from this book. It changed the way I breathe during practice. Desikachar's approach is extremely compassionate. The book is practical, and offers down to earth real pointers for practice and is at the same time very profound.