Sunday, August 19, 2007

In Which I Finish a Book(let) Quick Tips for Balanced Living is a compilation of short essays published by Yoga International. The essays are very quick reads and run the gamut of covering such topics as meditation, pranayama, asanas, netti pots, and more. Most of the essays have an epigraphic quotation and are written by a different person. There is no background or contact information offered for the various writers of these essays. I suppose this is just as well. Although I would assume that each of these essays is written by a professional, I am not sure I would recommend this book to anyone. That is costs $9.95 is ridiculous. (That I got mine for free is not so ridiculous.) What I found especially disturbing is that contraindications for some of the suggestions were not mentioned nor offered. For instance, bhastrika is recommended as a way to “boost your energy.” Who wouldn’t want to do that, especially in the midst of enervating summer? And yet, not once did I read that people with high blood pressure and/or heart disease should avoid this practice completely. The writer merely suggests that such people—along with women who are pregnant or menstruating, people with ulcers, et al—may want to avoid doing this pranam. My mother would call this collection “yoga light,” meaning that there is just enough information to make you think you learned something but not enough to really be useful or challenging. I would not recommend it to anyone I didn’t know very well and whose health wasn’t assured. Better to read an issue of Yoga Journal; it’s cheaper, has pretty pictures, gives background information on almost every contributing writer, and includes warnings for any asana or pranam explored within its pages.

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