Yoga for Dummies

This was the first Dummies book written on Yoga, in 1999. After that came a whole series of yoga-related Dummies books - power yoga, yoga with weights, and more. Interestingly, while all of those other books are now easy to find on Amazon, this initial one is now relegated to hard-to-find status.

The book goes over everything you would need from start to finish. It explains the roots of yoga, and talks about the few supplies that you might find useful. It talks about the most important basics. You have to take every step at your own pace - not being competitive, not pushing too hard. You want to be steady and comfortable in everything you do, to move slowly. You want to work at the edge of challenge, but without discomfort and pain.

This can be very challenging for westerners who are taught to win, taught that no pain = no gain. Instead, yoga is about building strength and flexibility gently.

In general I really like watching DVDs to learn poses, because you can see them in three dimensions and see visually how to move from one position to another. So in that sense I found the drawn versions to be less helpful. Yes, they'd be great for someone without a TV or computer - but I like the DVD much better.

Now, that being said, the book is a great companion to having a DVD. It gives you tips and pointers you might not otherwise understand just from watching a DVD version. For example, if you're up on your arms, then a trembling sensation is OK - it's simply a sign that your muscles aren't quite strong enough yet to hold your weight. However, you should never strain in what you do.

The book talks about many basic steps that you can incorporate into every day life. Breathing through your nose helps you take long, slow breaths that are naturally filtered and warmed. Deep breathing in general helps you to stay calm and low stress. In fact, the book talks about the difference between distress (bad stress) and eustress (good stress). Good stress helps you grow, to learn, to expand your horizons.

One of the parts which intrigued me was involving ions. Apparently computers and TVs emit positive ions. You would think positive = good! However, some studies show that these bring on depression, irritability and fatigue. In nature, negative ions are created by thunderstorms, waterfalls - and in our home, in showers. Most people find these things very refreshing. The book has the "old science" of therefore seeking out negative ionizers.

Negative ionizers were hugely popular a few years ago. They cause dust particles to bind - so the "heavier dust" falls to the ground where it can be swept up. This keeps air free of allergens. But on the other hand, it creates ozone. Ozone causes lung, asthma and other related issues. So ironically devices which keep the air clean (to help with breathing) also cause breathing issues :) So the newest generation of air filters use ionizers only within the filter itself, but prevent the ions from getting out into the room. In fact makers of filters now make sure to tout this great benefit, that they do NOT ionize the air.

So in any case what I'm saying is that this book has great yoga information - but is best used in conjunction with a DVD. Also, it's from 1999 and hasn't been updated, so it has some "old science" in it which can be quite out of date. I really would hope they'd put out a new version of this to fix some of these issues and perhaps pair it with a DVD. That would be a really great combo.

But for now, it's certainly useful if you keep the above items in mind.



Yoga for Forgiveness Yoga for Forgiveness
Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness provides a step by step recipe for calm and healing. Author Lisa Shea has been following this practice for a decade and over time has tweaked and polished the steps until each one resonates with serenity.
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