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The Tibetan Book of Yoga: Ancient Buddhist Teachings on the Philosophy and…
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385508379, Hardcover)Geshe Michael Roach's The Tibetan Book of Yoga is an excellent second yoga book for someone who is interested in Buddhism and is looking to deepen his or her yoga practice. The slim volume--based on Heart Yoga from the Gelukpa tradition of the Dalai Lamas--delves more into the philosophy behind the poses than their practice. In the first four chapters Roach provides a quick history of Heart Yoga and introduces the uniquely Tibetan Buddhist aspects of the practice. Drawing on Tibetan conceptions of human physiology, Heart Yoga imagines five levels to work in each yoga pose. These levels include the physical body and the breath but also encompass the "inner winds" (internal energy channels), thoughts, and "world-seeds" (each seed is a part of karma that "ripens when we look at something, and colors how we see it"). Heart Yoga is infused with tong-len, a Tibetan meditation of "giving and taking" where the practitioner generates compassion through a mental image of taking away pain from others and giving joy. In later chapters, Roach walks his readers through the 10 exercises that form the core of the daily, 30-minute Heart Yoga practice. Each exercise is described in modest detail (with a few accompanying black-and-white photographs) before Geshe Roach offers his commentary on how the exercise serves the development of the five levels. Throughout, he remains centered on the fifth level, world-seeds, and the generation of compassion, as the vital foundation for successful, long-term practice. Roach, the first American to receive the title "Geshe," has done a valuable service in bringing these ancient Tibetan traditions to a wider, English-speaking audience. But The Tibetan Book of Yoga is not a comprehensive guide for a yoga beginner. Roach suggests in the text that readers "piggy back" on other yoga teachers and teachings to learn correct pose form and avoid injury. In the end, The Tibetan Book of Yoga fills an important niche in Western yoga as an introduction to Tibetan philosophy of yoga, an introduction that may well spawn a new generation of books, videos and schools to expand on its teaching. --Patrick O'Kelley
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:42 -0400)
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