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Books about Yoga:
for Teachers

  1. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (2003)
  2. The Lost Teachings of Yoga [UNABRIDGED] (Audio - 2003)
  3. Anatomy of Hatha Yoga- A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners (2002)
  4. A Physiological Handbook for Teachers of Yogasana (2002)
  5. Yoga for Teachers (The Missing Peace) (2002)
  6. Yoga Structural Yoga Therapy- Adapting to the Individual (2001)



Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
by B. K. S. Iyengar

Paperback: 384 pages ; (January 2003)
Thorsons Pub; ISBN: 0007145160

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Book Description
This book provided readers with a fresh and accessible translation of this ancient text.

Reader Review
A Definitive Guide for the Aspiring Student, October 10, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from Chicago, Il United States
In today's world, the main problem with acquiring the knowledge of a new subject is the lack of contact with a learned teacher. Between traveling, busy daily schedules or just living in a place where there is no access to a learning facility, it is very difficult to pursue the topic of interest. Where the subject of yoga is concerned, B.K.S. Iyengar, a master of yogic knowledge and methods of practice, helps the hopeful student transverse this barrier by bringing to the masses his knowledge and direction in a series of wonderful books. He further enables the aspirant to better practice the vidhya (science) by developing easy to learn techniques and availing props to help in the process of practicing the techniques.

This particular book, Light on the Yoga Sutras, is an in-depth exposition of the philosophy behind the science of Yoga. It provides the student with the original sutras (verses) as written by Patanjali, the Indian sage who compiled the knowledge of yoga into written form over 2,000 years ago. The book then offers a translation and explanation of these sutras, effectively filling in the gaps of knowledge left by the intensely compact form of the original sutras.

From all my research into the subject when I first wanted to learn more about yoga, I can definitely say that this is one of the best books on the subject I have ever come across. B.K.S Iyengar provided me with the guidance and knowledge I needed to confidently pursue the subject without becoming discouraged.

I would recommend B.K.S Iyengar's Light on Yoga in addition to this book, for where this book provides the theory; Light on Yoga provides the practical methodology.
It is essential to fully understand both the practical and the theory to fully reap the benefits of yoga.

For those who want to delve even deeper into the science of yoga, Light on Pranayama the Yogic Art of Breathing provides one with the techniques and insight into the methods of breathing. It is a good addition as a learning aid, but not necessary until you are at ease with the asanas (postures) and have a good grasp of the theory and knowledge of yoga and are ready for more.


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The Lost Teachings of Yoga [UNABRIDGED]
by Georg Feuerstein

Audio CD: 7 pages ; Unabridged edition (February 2003)
Sounds True; ISBN: 1591790093

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Reader Review
A Delightful Education and Inspiration, December 30, 2002
Reviewer: John W. Kepner (see more about me at Amazon.com) from Little Rock, AR USA
This is an extensive and innovative review of the traditional teachings of Yoga, well delivered in an engaging, conversational manner. The key Yoga teachings from the Hindu, Buddhist and Jainism traditions are systematically developed, well-woven with references to both the classic literature and an astounding range of references to other world wisdom traditions and history. Among my favorites is his linking of the four traditional goals of life from the Vedas with the Declaration of Independence of the United States and the preamble to the Constitution.

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are, of course, discussed in depth. I appreciate his emphasis on the central role of the Kriya Yoga model of transformation - a model still quite relevant today - even though there are some differences from the Krishnamacharya teachings I have heard from Desikachar and Kraftsow. All of the more well known eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are discussed in depth, with much deserved emphasis on the Yamas and Niyamas, the traditional moral foundations of Yoga. Each of the seven traditional paths of Yoga are well explained in some especially educational ways, not just listing the different paths. Georg's command and experience with of the spectrum of Yoga teachings allows him to present some of the teachings in new ways, such as his 12 steps to spiritual recovery and his tests for authentic yoga.

The lecture style is easy to listen to. He peppers his discussions with questions that a modern student would logically ask, and then weaves personal experience into his answers. Feuerstein is not afraid to focus on contemporary issues with the lens of the classical teachings. For example, free market capitalism. As an economist I have a few different interpretations than his, but I appreciate the importance of examining modern situations and making personal choices from a considered moral foundation as opposed to simply self-interest.

I see these tapes as an important resource in three key ways. First, as a delightful educational and thought-provoking experience for the Yoga student in all of us - perhaps on long cross-country drives as I do. Second, for Yoga teachers brushing up on selected topics for their own teaching. The tapes have already helped me prepare for a couple of lectures I am giving later this month. Third, I see these tapes as recommended or required "reading" in the many new Yoga teacher-training courses springing up around the country to help meet their philosophy requirement.

My only regret is that these lectures on tape are not available in written form so one can easily go back to review and highlight key sections. Feuerstein is a prolific writer and these teaching are well discussed in a wide variety of his books elsewhere. In my view, however, the lectures on this tape set are especially well put together. They are an intellectual tour de force distilling many decades of study and writing. I very much enjoy hearing them in his own voice.


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Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners
by H. David Coulter, Timothy McCall

Hardcover: 623 pages (October 2002)
Body and Breath; ISBN: 0970700601

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Book Description
Anatomy of Hatha Yoga is the only modern authoritative source that correlates the study of hatha yoga with anatomy and physiology. Hatha yoga is comprised of stretching, strengthening and breathing exercises in upright, lying down and inverted postures. Yoga teachers and students, personal trainers, medical therapists, or anyone who is curious or troubled about how the body responds to stretching and exercise will find in this book a cornucopia -- partly new and partly old -- of readable and reliable information. It was written and edited to meet the needs of a general audience largely unschooled in the biomechanical sciences, and yet to attract and challenge the interests of the medical profession. This book features 230 black and white photographs and more than 120 diagrams and anatomical illustrations.

Chapter 1 summarizes general principles of anatomy and physiology as applied to hatha yoga. Breathing is next in chapter 2 because yogic breathing expedites movement and posture. Breathing is followed by pelvic and abdominal exercises in chapter 3 because the pelvis and abdomen form the foundation of the body. Standing postures will then be covered in chapter 4 because these poses are so important for beginning students, and because they provide a preview of backbending, forward bending, and twisting postures, which are covered in detail in chapters 5, 6, and 7. The headstand and shoulderstand, including an introduction to cardiovascular function, are presented in chapters 8 and 9. Postures for relaxation and meditation are treated last in chapter 10.

Reader Review
Thorough and meticulous, November 2, 2002
Reviewer: An Amazon.com Customer from Boston, MA United States
This book is required for the yoga teacher training I am enrolled in. I've read it from cover to cover and I was blown away by the amount of information Coulter presents. He doesn't make references to specific schools but presents things very generally. He also doesn't use too much Sanskrit, so most yoga students shouldn't be too intimidated by the material.

The information he presents on Breathing, the importance of the Abdominopelvic muscles (or the "core muscles", as they're popularly known today) and his chapter on Forward Bends where he discusses nutation were my favorite portions. Coulter isn't doctrinaire in most cases, as is appropriate for someone discussing the anatomical aspect of yoga. He presents variations for the popular poses (forward bends, cobra, triangle, etc.) and discusses what the ramifications of the modifications are. While some are called "advanced" and some are called "beginner", it doesn't come off as a value judgment.

Because Coulter was so thorough throughout the entire book and backed up almost every statement with a logical explanation, it was noticeable when he did not. For instance, he, like almost every other author of a yoga text, recommends that women not practice inversions if they are menstruating. Why? I really hoped that someone with his background would be able to supply an explanation other than because that's the way it's been done. Also, while he spends quite a bit of time talking about the importance of the right tetrahedron for meditation postures and the various postures that can be used, I felt he glossed over the reasons why meditation has to be done sitting versus lying down. Minor quibbles, but only more obvious because the rest of the book is so meticulous.

If you are planning on teaching yoga, if you already have a yoga practice or if you're not quite convinced that yoga can do anything for your body, pick up this book.


the most useful guide to understanding yoga ever written, January 3, 2002
Reviewer: An Amazon.com Customer from Stanford, CA USA
I am both a psychophysiology researcher and a yoga teacher and this book does a better job explaining both the physiological processes and yogic practices than any other text I've read. I could not recommend this book highly enough for those yoga students and teachers who want to understand what exactly they are doing to their bodies during asanas and especially pranayama.

This book does not wave hands and make vague claims or explanations like so many general-audience health of yoga books. My only complaint is that the author does not share the specific studies and sources he used to write the text (other than the knowledge acquired from his medical experience). Perhaps that is because this work is the first of its kind.

If you are teaching yoga now, you should read this book from start to finish as many times as necessary to assimilate the incredibly udeful information. That's what I'm trying to do now!


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A Physiological Handbook for Teachers of Yogasana
by Mel Robin

Paperback - 652 pages (May 2002)
Fenestra Books; ISBN: 1587360330

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Reader Review
Clear, concise, informed, relevant., February 17, 2003
Reviewer: Dwight Newton from San Diego, CA USA
If you're like me, you will think long and hard about buying this book. At first glance, it's likely to appear as yet another anatomy/physiology book with a yoga bent (pun intended).

Not so.

It is, instead, an attempt to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western approaches to the human body and consciousness while not taking one "side" or the other. In fact, it attempts to reconcile the two approaches by showing how closely they parallel one another and how observing yoga from both perspectives can lead to a greater understanding than embracing either alone.

Dr. Robin (Ph. D., not M.D.) very clearly knows what he's talking about from both directions, and presents it in a way that's quite accessible. I was particularly impressed by the fact that I didn't have to dig through the book, reading between the lines and familiarizing myself with a lot of medical jargon to understand what my spine was doing during backbends -- the book just tells you! Although the book definitely does its job in presenting the major concepts of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, etc. these are always in service to the subject of yoga asanas (yogasana).

This book is truly a labor of love and has proven to be the best source of information about the relationship between yoga asana practice and the structure of the human body that I have seen so far including the excellent The Anatomy of Hatha Yoga by Coulter (also recommended -- but I'd give Robin's work a try first).

In summary -- for the yoga practitioner seeking a deeper understanding of the human body within the context of physical yoga practice, this is worth the cover price many, many times over.


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Yoga for Teachers (The Missing Peace)
by Ashok Wahi, Virginia, Dr Gittelman, Stefani Pappas

Spiral-bound: (December 2002)
Princeton Design Group; ISBN: 9708284629

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Book Description
What profession can possibly be more important than that of teaching? Our work is critical to our national defense and economy as well as the future of the world. The welfare of our students, of course, but so, too, must our own welfare be a matter of genuine concern for all teachers. The key to that often ignored but vital inner being of every teacher may well be Yoga. Read on and see how Yoga can help you and every teacher, both in the classroom and in your life generally. With the promise of focus, peace of mind, awareness, balance, flexibility, and strength, Yoga offers "the missing piece" of the puzzle for teachers everywhere.


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