Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How Yoga Works” as Want to Read:
How Yoga Works
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

How Yoga Works

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  580 ratings  ·  108 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How Yoga Works, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How Yoga Works

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,169)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
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...more
Karen Fiedler
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.
"Yoga is learning to stop how the mind turns things around" ~ YS 1.2, pg 109

This is one of the many gems in Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally's book How Yoga Works. When I first ordered this book, I assumed it would be another yoga book explaining technique and philosophy; instead I was delighted by this narrative of the yogic journey into which Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are woven.

Roach and McNally take the readers on a journey from the characters' rough hewn state to their enlightenment....more
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
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...more
Barbara Gunter
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...more
Maiga Milbourne
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
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
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
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,...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie Botterill
Awesome. Totally got me thinking of everything, including myself, with a different perspective - powerful!
good, easy read, makes deeper teachings accessible through story
Erin Luhks
Let me think about this one.
Victoria Klein
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...more
Nicholas Smith
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?
Sarah Cunningham
Read for book club. Probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise, but I'm glad I had the chance to read and discuss it with a group.

It's a fable, of sorts. Similar to the idea of "Who Moved my Cheese," using a simple story to illustrate something. (That's where the similarities end...) It's plainly written, but that doesn't make it a quick and easy read. It took me over a month to get through it, and I kind of skimmed parts of it.

It's made me change, in small ways, the way I react to little th...more
Anwen Ebenezer
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
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...more
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.
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
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
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.
This was my second time reading this book, and it is absolutely my favorite yoga book. Absolutely perfect for those with an interest in yoga beyond just asana–accessible, clear, and enlightening. I want to recommend this to all my yogis!
Jasmin Cromwell
Feb 09, 2014 Jasmin Cromwell is currently reading it
This book is a must read for anyone who wants to study or practice yoga.
This book recasts the yoga sutra into a novel. In that way, the reader gets to see how yoga practice/philosophy might be enacted, and this is, I found, a useful pedagogy. The author is no literary stylist. If beautiful writing is important to you, you may be distracted by the limitations of this material. However, I learned a lot, and it helped me better understand yoga precepts in terms of a practical spirituality. I borrowed the book from a friend and will now probably purchase my own copy, so...more
Leslie Wurtz
This book was very interesting. I can agree with some comments that it is rather clumsily written, but I also agree with people who are raving about it. It is not about the yoga poses, but the ideas behind the practice of yoga. These principles are brought to light by way of a story. I would not have picked this book out on my own, but was encouraged by my daughter, a yoga instructor, to give it a try. I have finished it, am going back through to take notes to keep with me. I think this book wil...more
I read this book slowly - very unlike me! - over a few months. Having finished it I might have to go back and start again! It isn't a literary masterpiece and I agree with some other reviewers who found it a bit "weird". But the overall message is very strong and removes the "fashionable" lens yoga is often viewed through to what is underneath. Historically inaccurate and a little clunky in parts it might well be, but if you can get past the vehicle and look purely at the content then as a yoga...more
Seth Wilpan
He delivered on the promise of the title.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 38 39 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
  • Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life
  • Light on Life
  • The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga
  • The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker's Guide to Extraordinary Living
  • Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques
  • The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice
  • Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression
  • A Life Worth Breathing: A Yoga Master's Handbook of Strength, Grace, and Healing
  • Yoga The Spirit And Practice Of Moving Into Stillness
  • Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit
  • Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing
  • The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy and Practice
  • Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners
  • Yoga and Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization
  • The Yoga Sutras
  • Journey Into Power: How to Sculpt Your Ideal Body, Free Your True Self,  and Transform Your Life With Yoga
  • The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras
The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha On Managing Your Business And Your Life The Essential Yoga Sutra: Ancient Wisdom for Your Yoga The Garden: A Parable The Tibetan Book of Yoga: Ancient Buddhist Teachings on the Philosophy and Practice of Yoga Karmic Management: The Secret Laws of Karma that will Create Success in All Aspects of Your Life

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »