This book is a must-have for yoga practitioners. It is a book that earns more of my respect over time because it is so thorough, organized, and helpful. Its authenticity is palpable and you can sense the dedication of its authors (a team of siblings) in every page.
Yoga, The Iyengar Way, by Silva, Mira & Shyam Mehta was first published in 1990. I’ve personally owned it since 1995 and reference it often.
Reviews on Amazon say it has the best pictures of any yoga book. This is absolutely true! The pictures are very clear and consistently presented. The reason the pictures are so helpful, I believe, is because they reflect a sincere and devoted practice with years of study with Mr. Iyengar. The fact that the pictures are of the authors themselves gives this book’s content a strong and powerful resonance.
The pictures become even more meaningful with the accompanying details. Each posture includes specific steps to get into it, how to work effectively in the posture, alternative options (which they call “Ways of Practicing”), and extra details for what to focus and reflect upon. The information is dense without being overwhelming, which is why you can come back to this book again and again.
The material in the book is organized in a really helpful way, too. There are three parts to the book: The Body, The Mind, and The Soul, and each part is well-organized with practical detail on the 8-limbed path of yoga. Most impressive to me is that the book presents the subject of Yoga in a way that you understand what actions to take to practice yoga. As the reader, I can appreciate the deep and rich philosophical context of yoga in the way it is presented here. Even the names of the poses are presented in Sanskrit, though subtly presented and unobtrusive to the western reader. There is a guide of how to correctly pronounce Sanskrit and each pose is translated into its smaller parts. In fact, when I first studied with this book, I made a chart of the book’s translations which I referenced for years.
Of immense value, too, are the 4 courses and 60 practices laid out in the appendix. There are also therapeutic sequences given for various ailments. Having followed the sequences on numerous occasions, I can say that they are worthy, which comes as no surprise given the soundness of the Iyengar approach.
The authors, infused with B.K.S. Iyengar’s blessing, have presented a book that is timeless and helpful. I met them in Pune, India once, while studying with the Iyengars and told them just that. They very humbly and graciously accepted my acknowledgement.