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Yoga for Wellness: Healing With the Timeless Teachings of Viniyoga
by Gary Kraftsow
1999

This thoughtful and heady book approaches Yoga from both a personal and therapeutic angle. This is typical of the Viniyoga tradition, which tailors practice to individual needs. Gary Kraftsow, a world-renowned Viniyoga instructor, illustrates in words and over a thousand photographs why Yoga is (or should be) a holistic practice, which takes all aspects of a person's well-being into consideration.

Although the first part of this book goes over the basics, it is not really for a Yoga novice. Rather, it's for those who want to add depth to their practice by exploring the Viniyoga tradition. Kraftsow goes deeply into breathing, and explains the importance of sequencing postures and also touches on sound and props. The basic poses are discussed, as are the risks of each type of posture (forward and backward bends, lateral bends, twists, extensions, inversions and balance). This is merely the beginning. The next two hundred pages - the therapeutic applications, called Yoga Cikitsa - are really the meat of book.

Kraftsow doesn't just throw out a few healing sequences, he sets the stage by talking a bit about anatomy and the different systems of the human body. Then he reveals how the Yoga postures work to help with each condition - back problems, asthma, hyper and hypo-tension and thyroid conditions, to name a few. He also devotes a whole chapter to Yoga and emotional health, an area that is all-too often neglected. Anyone who has practiced Yoga seriously for a while has noticed that breakthroughs in their practice tend to coincide with emotional breakthroughs. It doesn't take a big leap to understand the healing relationship Asana can have on the emotions.

This is not a book for the casual Yoga enthusiast who pops into class now and again to gain a bit of flexibility. It's for those who are fascinated by Yoga's complexity, and who want to add more facets of it to their practice.

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