by Linda Sparrowe, with Yoga Journal

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Yoga is everywhere these days. Hollywood stars take their personal instructors with them on location; newspapers and magazines hail yoga as the answer to the unrelenting stress in our society; pregnant women wrap their cell phones in their yoga mats and hurry to class. The yoga we practice today bears little resemblance to the yoga that began humbly almost 5,000 years ago, but in its rich and varied history, yoga has always evolved to meet the needs of the culture it serves.

Linda Sparrowe's text follows the long and complex history of yoga. While it changed dramatically over many thosands of years certain concepts have always prevailed: the union of opposites; the affect the outside world has on the body; the yearning for and seeking of some form of liberation; and the interest in discovering and attaining one's true Self. Above all else, yoga has been and continues to be about the process of transformation.

Following her clear and well-organized discussion of the evolution of yoga, rooted in the devotional and metaphysical teachings of the sacred yoga texts including the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad-Gita, and progressing to an in-depth look at the philosophy of Patanjali, the father of modern yoga, Sparrowe addresses yoga in our modern world. Here are brief introductions to the 2oth-century yogis who were influential in making yoga a western, indeed a worldwide, obsession: Swami Sivananda Saraswati, T. Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois, Indra Devi, B.K.S. Iyengar, and T.K.V. Desikachar.

But the icing on this multi-tiered cake are the 400 poses, or asanas, artful black and white photographs taken especially for this book, that illustrate the relatively new development (within the past 150 years) of physical postures derived from an ancient Indian tradition. As beautiful as these photographs and poses are, it is important to remember that even modern yoga touches more than the physical body; the flexibility and stamina achieved on the yoga mat will doubtless transcend to more important aspects of everyday life.

10 3/4 x 14 in., 448 pages
ISBN: 0-88363-509-7
$75.00 U.S.

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