cover image THE TIBETAN BOOK OF YOGA: Ancient Buddhist Teachings on the Philosophy and Practice of Yoga

THE TIBETAN BOOK OF YOGA: Ancient Buddhist Teachings on the Philosophy and Practice of Yoga

Michael Roach, Author, Geshe Michael Roach, Author . Doubleday $15.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-385-50837-7

In a slender, accessible volume, Roach (The Diamond Cutter ), a Tibetan-trained American Buddhist monk, advocates Heart Yoga, which "works on your heart in two ways: It makes your physical heart and your body healthy and strong, and it opens your heart to love others." Roach lays a philosophical foundation for the various poses of Heart Yoga before describing the poses themselves. He identifies what he calls a human's "Five Levels," which are like interdependent layers of an onion, beginning with one's external organs and moving progressively inward and incorporating breath, thoughts and, at the very center, "world-seeds": the condition of one's mind that colors how phenomena are experienced—whether one feels a rainy day is lovely or dreary, for example. By sowing positive world-seeds through Heart Yoga and other practices, a person can effect powerful inner change. Roach next describes the various poses of Heart Yoga in brief chapters, giving detailed instructions for doing the exercises, followed by explanations of how the poses work on the Five Levels and why. Roach handles his subject with a light, even inspiring touch. The instructions are detailed enough to practice but are not needlessly complex, and the explanations of key concepts—such as "Giving and Taking" (taking someone's pain upon oneself and radiating peace in return)—are inviting rather than dogmatic. Those new to yoga, as well as those looking to supplement their established yoga practice, will find this primer both helpful and lucid. (Feb. 17)