The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga's History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices

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North Point Press, Jan 5, 2021 - Health & Fitness

A succinct, approachable guide to the origins, development, key texts, concepts, and practices of yoga.

Yoga is practiced by many millions of people worldwide and is celebrated for its mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. And yet, as Daniel Simpson reveals in The Truth of Yoga, much of what is said about yoga is misleading. For example, the word “yoga” does not always mean union. In fact, in perhaps the discipline’s most famous text—the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali—its aim is described as separation: isolating consciousness from everything else. And yoga is not five thousand years old, as is commonly claimed; the earliest evidence of practice dates back about twenty-five hundred years. (Yoga may well be older, but no one can prove it.)

The Truth of Yoga is a clear, concise, and accessible handbook for the lay reader that draws upon abundant recent scholarship. It outlines these new findings with practitioners in mind, highlighting ways to keep traditions alive in the twenty-first century.


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Every yogi, yoga teacher, and Yoga Teacher Training Academy needs to know about this book! In fact, I would also recommend this book to those who know very little about yoga and want to gather an overview. Daniel's experience as a yoga teacher, journalist, academic, and foreign correspondent has afforded ample opportunities for him to hone the art of condensing sometimes complex material down to the essentials. What I love about the book is that I can see, in one page, the truth about one aspect of Yoga at a time. I know that, should I wish to read the full texts relating to any of these informative overviews, there are easy to follow references I can return to. Daniel Simpson seem able to grasp and deliver the concepts in no-nonsense, engaging language and I wish I had been presented with this book during my Yoga Teacher Training! This is a do not miss book - what a gift! 

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About the author (2021)

Daniel Simpson teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, in teacher trainings around the UK, and at Triyoga in London. He is a graduate of Cambridge University and has a master's degree from SOAS University of London.

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