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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Yoga
by Joan Budilovsky and Eve Adamson
1998

Dogmatic Yoga purists may be horrified to see the practice laid out in classic "Idiot's Guide" style - but this book isn't for them. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Yoga is for practical, down-to-earth souls who want to learn about Yoga - not just the poses, or Asanas, but also the philosophy - in a clear, non-mystical manner. Even better, authors Joan Budilovsky and Eve Adamson also add in some nice touches of humor.

This easy-to-read manual covers all the bases for the Yoga beginner and significantly, it begins with Yoga's tradition, the Eightfold path (its philosophies), and breathing, or Pranayama, before getting into the postures. The subtext here is that you need a firm foundation of knowledge before starting Yoga's physical aspect. The Asanas are well organized into standing postures, backbends, twists and vinyasas, before going on to the sitting and mat postures. A whole chapter is devoted to Shavasana, or the Corpse Pose - the pose most likely to be neglected by us Westerners, and one which we probably need the worst.

To finish up are chapters about adding Yoga to your lifestyle, from thoughts on vegetarianism and food types (this section is amusingly entitled "Gunas Gracious!"), to therapeutic Yoga, to Yoga for different segments of the population (men, women, children, seniors, couples). A glossary and bibliography complete the book.

In addition to all this great information, there are little tidbits sprinkled throughout the book in classic "Idiot's" style. "Know your Sanskrit" contains enlightening information on Yoga's language, "A Yoga Minute" offers little factoids, and "Ouch!" cautions against dangerous moves or behaviors. All in all, this is an excellent introduction to Yoga, and would be a wonderful addition to any Yoga newbie's library.

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