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How Yoga Works

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  890 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
The secrets of how yoga works to make us truly whole are revealed here in a delightful story based on how these precious teachings reached Tibet form their home in India, over a thousand years ago.
Paperback, 406 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Diamond Cutter Press (first published January 9th 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,838)
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Jan 21, 2011 Ross rated it it was ok
Really wanted to like this book. Yoga teachers who I respect highly recommended it. I don't object to the content but rather to the vehicle--a dramatic tale ostensibly set in an ancient Indian kingdom.

First, I have a low tolerance for historical inaccuracy in fiction. Details of language, culture, dress, science and technology--did anybody edit the text for that? For example, the story, set in the 11th or 12th century, BCE, contains casual dialogue about oxygen and the respiratory system--none o
I agree with many reviewers that the vehicle used to teach the essence of yoga is rather weak. The credibility of the characters, setting and language are quite incredulous for a tale set in 1000AD, and the writing style for a novel-like book is rather amateurish and long-winded.

But if you set aside the weaknesses of the story-telling, which is merely a vehicle used to teach yogic philosophy, then you would find that there are gems for personal growth. This book sets out to teach core points of
Karen Fiedler
Jan 10, 2011 Karen Fiedler rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It puts the philosophy of yoga into a comprehensible, engaging, and enjoyable story. I have read it 3 times to date.
May 16, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing
It will probably resonate more for yogis, but everybody should read this--it's full of wonderfully quotable bits to sink your thoughts into. Both during and after reading it, I find myself thinking of it throughout my day. There are some small parts I'm still not sure I agree with on a philosophical level (more specifically, existential and ethical)--but even those points of contention are worthwhile ideas for me to contemplate.

Apparently (based on others' reviews), there are some concerns about
Kyarra Keele
Aug 28, 2015 Kyarra Keele rated it liked it
The concept of the book is beautiful and I did learn a lot from it. I gave it 3 stars because I feel that it was drawn out too much. It became difficult to keep reading about 3/4 of the way through. I do appreciate the book but I would not exactly go out of my way to recommend it.
Mike S
May 22, 2009 Mike S rated it it was amazing
Shelves: metaphysics
This is a great book for people who are interested in yoga but don't know much about it. And I don't mean just the outer practice of poses and stretches, the book goes into some of the inner practice and how powerful they can be when done along with the outer practices, enhancing their effects. It does this within the setting of a heart-warming story, and frequently quotes and explains some of the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. I looked forward to reading this book every day until it was finished, th ...more
Barbara Gunter
Jul 04, 2013 Barbara Gunter rated it it was amazing
The other reviews are correct when they say that there are historical inaccuracies, and that the story is amateurish, but I feel they are missing the point. It's a lovely book, which does a fantastic job of demonstrating the principles of yoga in the style of Sophie's World. It helped to crystallise the reading I had done on the subject of meditation and it made me very happy just reading it. This is one of those books that I will return to again & again.

I would recommend that everyone read
Britt Skrabanek
Aug 21, 2015 Britt Skrabanek rated it it was amazing
How Yoga Works was on our recommended book list when I did my Yoga teacher training , as we didn't have room in our jam-packed schedule to make it a required read.

It took me a while to come around to it, thinking in some way that it wasn't as important as the other books I read during my training. I was pleasantly surprised.

I can absolutely see how this book would not be for anyone, especially if you prefer Yoga learnings straight up. But for a fiction lover, I adored the storyline surrounding e
Maiga Milbourne
Sep 14, 2011 Maiga Milbourne rated it liked it
Roach and McNally again seek to explain Buddhist spiritual principles, this time to an audience interested in the practice of yoga. They develop a sort of fable as a vehicle. Thousands of years ago in a small border town between India and Tibet, an 18 year old Tibetan woman who has studied yoga with a master, passes with her dog. She's incarcerated and begins transforming the jail and its inhabitants through her teaching of yoga. I just kept thinking a historian would cringe repeatedly at the si ...more
Marla B
Mar 21, 2012 Marla B rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. In fact, I savored the last couple chapters for the continuously evocative wisdom each page shared. While at times the story moved slowly, the momentum of the story matched the messages within. This book reaffirms the notion that every human being has a purpose, a unique gift, to use in their life to benefit themselves and the lives of others, that they might not necessarily realize they have until some time along their journey, they are called upon to use their g ...more
Junky's  Wife
Apr 06, 2008 Junky's Wife rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga
This book inspired me to start my own karma journal. I have really been surprised by how influential it has been on my behavior and my life in general. Even if you aren't interested in yoga (like, in the sense that you don't go stand on one leg and pretend to be a tree), the book is worth reading. It's as much a spiritual explication of the Yoga Sutras as it is a cool novel. There's actually much less stuff about the postures than you might expect. Don't let the title mislead's no step- ...more
Dec 16, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
Very mediocre as a story, but a nice explanation of yoga philosophy. The historical inaccuracies in the characters' style of speech and interactions was a little hard to overlook, however the overall message delivered was a good one. I wouldn't recommend it as the only book on yoga for someone to read, but some of the analogies and presentations of concepts did make certain things more clear as well as stick in my mind. I love the knocking on the pipes analogy. :)

3stars may be a little generous,
Jill Myers
Feb 21, 2016 Jill Myers rated it really liked it
I've been reading this book for years. A few years ago I began reading it in order to participate in a book club at my local Yoga studio. I got about half way through and then hit a wall where, for me, it was so esoteric and over my head that I abandoned the book. Now, in two days, I'm starting a two hundred hour Yoga Teacher Training course at that same yoga studio and my teacher suggested I read this book in preparation for the class. I'm glad I did! This time I kept reading through the parts ...more
Feb 07, 2014 Gydle rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 07, 2015 Olivia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-books, yoga
I initially started this book because it was a recommend read for the Yoga instructional course I am taking. It is a pretty wonderful book.

Inspirational you could also say. I am also reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This is perfect as a read along of sorts to really open your eyes to the meaning of yoga and the sutras. Fast paced, the writing was vivid and fluent. I had many heart opening moments and I cried at the sheer beauty that unfolded to me as I read~
So many life lesson are bound in
Julie Botterill
May 03, 2013 Julie Botterill rated it it was amazing
Awesome. Totally got me thinking of everything, including myself, with a different perspective - powerful!
Jan 05, 2009 Kristen rated it it was amazing
good, easy read, makes deeper teachings accessible through story
Victoria Klein
Dec 09, 2013 Victoria Klein rated it it was amazing
I’ve been pondering the best way to start this particular book review, but I can think of no way other than: this is one of the best books I’ve read in my entire 29-year-long life. Yeah, it’s that good. That may sound like a lot to live up to (+ it certainly is!), but this book has permanently changed the way that I look at Yoga.

As a long-time student, recent graduate of a 200-Hour Teacher Training Program, + almost graduate of a 500-Hour Teacher Training Program, it’s no secret to me that yoga
Dec 08, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it
My rating would really be 3.5. I can't say I really enjoyed reading this book,but it did have some gems in there that made it worth sitting there & forcing yourself to read it..and no doubt lots of it will stay in my mind.. I know things like that make a book worth reading. But I won't say it was the most enjoyable book I've ever read.

PS- at last I finished this damn book!! TG!!
Nicholas Smith
Mar 22, 2014 Nicholas Smith rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book in a matter of hours. Loved it. It seemed to reflect many of my experiences with yoga over the last several years. Then I read about Roach. Wow. What a polarizing man! I don't like complicating the author with the work, but when a book strikes you on a gut, even spiritual level, how do you balance the value of the words with the reputation of the man?
Aug 19, 2015 Kaylee rated it it was amazing
I am so willing to look past the historical inaccuracy which many of you have pointed out (honestly, I wouldn't have realized anyway) due to the invaluable life lessons contained in this book. A treasure I will definitely come back to again and again when I need a little insight, or a reminder of what my journey with yoga is all about. This book offers a beautiful way of thinking and living that has the power to help you and everyone in your life.
Nov 09, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga
I read this book as preparation for yoga teacher training. While it is an "easy" read due to the narrative style, it is one that needs repeated readings to truly grasp. As I continue my yoga studies, "How Yoga Works" is becoming more clear to me. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a yoga practice, and wants to learn more about this thing called yoga. :)
Anwen Ebenezer
Sep 08, 2014 Anwen Ebenezer rated it it was ok
I am torn between loving and hating this book. It is a beautiful story that explains the philosophy of yoga in a clear and simple way. Perhaps that's what bothered me most? It is too simplistic and leaves very little for the reader to interpret for themselves. The characters are also poorly developed and I found the writing style almost unbearable, especially the dialogue which is very repetitive, to the point of being irritating. As other reviewers have mentioned, the story is completely inaccu ...more
Jan 27, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I can honestly say that this book changed my life. My way of thinking. It opened up windows and doors and last of all my eyes. I got it from the library but now feel the need to buy it as I wish to read it again and again. I feel like I will get much more out of it and pick up more things. What a great story and philosophy. If only everyone lived this way... If only...
Jul 03, 2014 Miriam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: most-loved
I'm still reading the book but info about the authors has dulled my enthusiasm for it. See the Rolling Stone article:

Update: I finished the book and loved it. The authors may have had problems in their personal and professional lives, but in the end, their foibles may have made this a more authentic read. Highly recommended for anyone who practices yoga--whether a novice or into it for decades, or someone just curious about why yoga is so helpful. This is
Jan 14, 2014 Mandy rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book, it presents the teachings of yoga through a relatable story which anybody could pick up and understand. Many of the teachings presented in the book were linked back to translations of the sutras which I thought was a nice touch. At times this book had me engrossed for hours at a time, often it made me smile and it also managed to take me by surprise. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in yoga or even making positive changes to their life.
Stephany Peterson
Oct 18, 2014 Stephany Peterson rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic! I adore this book! I have tried for years to commit to yoga and taking care of myself and this book finally gave me the best motivation to do just that! It explains yoga in the clearest way! It is amazing.
Michele Gamble
Mar 28, 2014 Michele Gamble rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful story throughout which the whole subject of how life works is woven an amazing read .I would highly recommend this for those who are yoga teachers and those interested in yoga
Jul 15, 2014 Maria rated it it was ok
You either love or hate this book. The message behind it is pretty powerful, but I'm not a fan of the style in which it was delivered. It was required reading do my yoga teacher training.
Jan 28, 2016 Kelli rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Has completely transformed my personal practice and finally helped meditation 'click' for me. Brilliant! A powerful allegory/teaching text hidden in a fictional story.
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