The subtitle is “Almost Everything You Need to Know about Yoga – from Asanas to Yamas” – quite an ambitious project.

The author pulls it off well, he clearly has the experience and knowledge to tackle the topic, and for the most part he does so dispassionately.  I say for the most part, as at times you get the feeling of the discussion being reflective more of the authors background than an unbiased discussion – however these are big topics, and it’s difficult to cover them without bringing ones own viewpoint into the framing of the discussion, and despite this the coverage is balanced, through and orthodox.

There are five main chapters, running to 220 pages – covering What is Yoga, Sanskrit, Veda, Yoga Sutras and Hatha Yoga – and each chapter then subdivides into a number of linked questions running loosely as a chain of discussion.  The author admits he can’t cover everything – refreshingly honest – and that many questions have more than one answer, or perhaps no answer at all:

After eighteen months of research for this book, and almost four decades of personal inquiry, I can safely say with some authority that there are an awful lot of questions about yoga.  Many of these questions have answers, often more than one.  Many more questions haven’t the inkling of an answer, either because we don’t have enough historical information to answer them yet or because they are fundamentally unanswerable.  But all of these questions, whatever their concerns, boil down to one ultimate question, which is “Who am I”?

The book dances between fact, analysis, discussion, and feeling, and balances these well, giving a fascinating discourse with interesting asides.

It’s not a FAQ in the sense of “Where hold my feet point in Warrioir 1” or “Is hot yoga could for you” – no problem, bookshelves are full of books on modern postural yoga – Asana – and equally full of heavy philosophical works.  This book is neither of those, and fits in it’s place nicely as an accessible board brush exposition.  This is a book for those with a knowledge of Yoga theory, or those who’ve read about, or penalised heard of in class, some of these concepts but want to know a little more.

I’m happy to recommend this book.

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