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Yoga The Spirit And Practice Of Moving Into Stillness

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,515 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Discover the path to inner peace with this guidebook that combines hatha yoga and meditation strategies from world-renowned yoga master Erich Shiffmann.

World-renowned yoga master Erich Schiffmann offers an easy-to-follow, exciting new techniques—the first to combine hatha yoga and meditation—to all who are seeking healthful beauty and inner peace.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 1st 1996 by Gallery Books
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4.28  · 
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 ·  1,515 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all yogis and yoginis
Shelves: 2008
This is absolutely my favorite yoga book. It's beautifully written and immediately gets to the heart of what practicing yoga is about in easy to understand terms (without all the fluffy new agey stuff). The photogragphs and explanations of the asanas are clear and easy to understand. Get it, read it, love it. I reference it constantly for my own practice as well as for teaching.
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Although I learned more from Schiffmann's DVD with Ali MacGraw which I practiced with for the longest time during the long Vermont winters several years ago, I also bought this book which was very helpful, because the explanations and reasons behind the poses was described in great detail. My favorite yoga book is one that I no longer have, nor do I know the title. I bought it in a used book store in a remote town halfway between Montreal and Quebec City. It's from that book that I learned about ...more
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is by far my all-time best yoga book. There could be no better yoga teacher that Erich. Mind, body, spirit, breathing, energy - he addresses all aspects. When you are ready the (yoga) teacher will appear. Namaste.
Alexandra Rosenblum
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book has so much good stuff to say about meditation and energy and the asanas and I was totally in it and getting a ton out of it and the the last few section he just said "gods will" one too many times. Maybe semantics. Still I don't think the last quarter worked for me the way the rest did. Also, I really hate in books on
Mediation when the advice is "let your thoughts pass like balloons. clear your mind. Think about nothing". Yeah. Um, ok. That's why I'm reading this book! Clearly that is
Rita Brown
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I will read this book again and again. My yoga teacher considers Erich Schiffmann to be one of the great yoga teachers of our time. She studies with him every opportunity. While I have not taken his classes, the book is amazing. It is NOT a yoga "how to" book. It describes the spiritual journey into the depth of yoga. He is an incredibly loving and compassionate writer. There is extensive meditation guidance in this book, all very warm and easy to follow. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
this book has been on my "currently-reading" shelf since i first joined goodreads. i thought of creating a "currently and forever reading" shelf, but i chose to move it to "read" with a disclaimer...this book will always be at the top of the stack of books at my bedside. just as there is no end to our practice, there is no end to reading this book.
Jan 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Good information, but take it with a grain of salt: Schiffmann's cues and sequences are not very safe, in my opinion. I say this in reference to the vast majority of Yoga students over 25 in the US. A good reference.
Elena Johansen
Despite the high rating I gave this, I'm actually divided on it. As a guide to the poses of yoga, it's brilliant, with clear photographs of each pose, and for the more difficult ones, a breakdown of working up to the poses in easier stages. It's going to be invaluable as a reference.

As a text explaining meditation, daily routine, and all the non-pose-related aspects of yoga, I found it incredibly wordy, repetitive, and preachy. I understand that the pose guides need to be complete for the refere
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I love the subtitle of his heavy-duty trade paperback, "the spirit and the practice of Moving into Stillness". Such a poetic way to describe yoga and meditation. Erich Schiffmann is an American yoga expert who has studied with some of the more influential yoga masters in the world. Schiffmann covers all the basic asanas with black and white photos and descriptions of each pose from beginner to master level. Most of the poses are illustrated with photos of himself but a few are illustrated with p ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Overall, I enjoyed this, there were some concepts that really resonated with me - that we are all conditions by others' views of us, which makes us defensive, for one - and I enjoyed Schiffmann's personal history a lot. However, the manner in which he presents his material is a little offputting. There is a lot of repetition, just with different types of really atmospheric, evocative language, but it feels empty. He is saying far more than he needs to say in order to convey his point, I believe. ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Excellent explanation of various yoga poses and meditation techniques that can be incorporated into your life, so that you can "live" yoga, every moment of every day.

Quote from book:
" of the most rewarding side effects of yoga practice and meditation is the renewed zest of life you will experience.... When you go within and expand beyond your usual sense of self - ...Then you realize there is no such thing as practice! Never was. There is only the real thing, ever - and always."
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Definitely a resource to use time and again.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
Even for a yoga hack, this is a great book. I continue to use it as a reference so it never spends much time on the shelf. I highly recommend this for beginners to yogis.
Claire Elizabeth
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book got a "2" because it wasn't for me. However, I did enjoy the read.

The most important thing in this book, to me, is Chapter 9 on asanas. The instructions are fantastic. The levels of difficulty are available, and the benefits are stated. I learned that the most stable sitting position for meditation is lotus because it makes it easy to sit straight.

The most annoying thing, to me, about this book was the author’s use of second person. ”You will come alive,” ”You will sense the creative m
Craig Shoemake
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asanas, yoga
The book opens with an inspiring yoga bio, then divides into four sections: 1) Mr. Schiffmann's yogic philosophy or approach, 2) an overview of how to approach asanas, breathing and energy, 3) asana instructions divided by type (standing postures, forward bends, backward bends, etc), and 4) meditation. This struck me as a totally reasonable way of going about things and is sufficient to whet any would-be yogi's appetites.

Regarding the first part, occupying pages 3-40: Schiffmann is definitely a
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Always perform the poses slowly and with care. Never fight yourself. Mastery of these easy poses will make the more difficult poses easy. Most of all, learn to enjoy your practice."

"Each breath you take can remind you to be here now, to treat this moment as important, and repeatedly to affirm the fact that right now you are exactly where you want to be, doing exactly what you want to be doing."

"Train yourself to stay in the now."

"You are in charge; you are the master of your breath."

"The proces
Brenna Gorbatov
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in yoga
Recommended to Brenna by: Amey Mathews
This book is one you won't want to get rid of if you are practicing yogi. Erich Schiffman reminds yogis that yoga is more than the asanas; rather, it is about feeling, being open, being receptive to our true Selves. It is about living yoga. This book provides thoughtful, spiritual insight in the first portion of the book, and then detailed and helpful tips with pictures of various asana postures. This book is especially useful for people who struggle with mediation or live in their head too much ...more
Jenifer Pruim
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to pieces. Literally.
I was a beginner in my yoga practices and living in small towns in the north woods with no yoga teachers around and I wanted more. This book helped me by giving me both heartfelt inspiration through his personal journey and insights with yoga as well as the very thorough step by step instructions on the poses. I think I remember almost writing him a thank you letter.
I have since studied at three different teacher trainings and various studios and am no long
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I currently have many yoga teachers and am trying to find the path that I would like to teach.

I have a very long way to go, but I have read enough to know how this book deserves at least 4*s. This book contains easy-to-follow variations to the most common asanas that you will encounter.

This was recommended by my teacher who takes a Kripalu-like approach, that I (perhaps naively) contrast with my teacher who has an Iyengar-like approach. The book deserves respect for its humble and wholesome appr
Farnoosh Brock
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love Schiffmann - I took a yoga and meditation class from him in New York in 2003, wow 10 years ago, and I loved it. His approach to yoga is unique and creative and his personality lends itself brilliant to the spiritual types. The book is more than just a description of yoga poses and black and white illustrative photos. It is poetic philosophies and beliefs of The author and accounts of his personal journey into the higher self.

I haven't read the whole book cover to cover. I have read many
Nov 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book gave really detailed descriptions of all the poses, step by step. Rather than just showing the poses in their final stage, the reader is encouraged to build from the very basics of each pose, to the more advanced stages. I plan to go back and re-learn some poses using this book. The chapters about meditation and spirituality were very inspiring, as well; however, he used the word "God" a lot, and even though he defined God as the infinte which is present in every one and everything, I ...more
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A book cant teach us yoga, even this one doesnot. This is an excellent reference book. Very good for understand how to approach and practice yoga, to understand how exactly is yoga different from stretching or other exercises, on attitude - no, not preaching but things like being aware of lines of energy, finding the edge etc. I liked it a lot. very enlightening. :-)

For the asanas, This book makes sense only once u have gone to a teacher and learnt the basics. Can be used for refinement. It has
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Joanna by: Mom
This is one of the most thorough yoga books I have ever read. Erich Schiffmann discusses the importance of breathing as well as the physiological aspects of each pose in great detail. There are also suggested routines that look great, but I am lazy enough that in order to actually practice, I need a dvd in front of me (I like Kathy Smith's New Yoga series). I find that although my dvds are well-cued and timed, the information from his book helps me get the most out of each pose because it fills ...more
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, yoga
The introduction and following Schiffmann on his own path to yoga sets up this book to be an indispensable guide to building a personal practice. The detailed description of the poses, the importance of breath, and ideas on meditation will also make it a handy reference tool for yoga teachers. The images are a little laughable, but that might be due more to my own immature sense of humor and the need to giggle when I see a man wearing really tight shorts.
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
His intro about living in India as a young man and how he discovered yoga is really interesting. The beginning chapters on breathwork, edges, and asana fundamentals bring new ideas and new perspective to my own appreciation of yoga. The pose breakdown chapters in the 2nd half of the book are okay but offer few modifications for cranky knees, hips, spines and necks.
megan freeburn
Jan 20, 2015 rated it liked it
not particularly life-changing, a few interesting quotes but ch 1/2/4 seemed to be more about himself and how spiritual and enlightned he is, which is fair enough, i suppose, i didn't pick this up looking for a groundbreaking philosophical treatise on yoga- all in all a reasonably good intro with some helpful tips for those of us with horrifically long legs which makes even basic poses hell
Dec 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: aspiring meditators
Shelves: spirituality
while the majority of this book explains some beginner asanas (yoga poses) with helpful photos, i found this book incredibly powerful for Schiffman's writings about yoga's ability to cultivate inner stillness, calm, centeredness, focus, and self-realization. he also has a good guide to meditation at the end. beautiful book.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, own, ritual
I love Schiffman's use of language and his ability to couch a seemingly ineffable concept in language that strikes a cord. His use of epithets like feeling-tone, his stress on the important of experiencing who you are, his encouragement to play with lines of energy and the razor's edge are all encouragements to keep growing by loving and listening to yourself.
Jul 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yoga students
Before Donna, there was Erich. Love this man. When he's talking to you, he looks like the cheshire cat who knows a wonderful secret.

If you ever have a chance to take a class from Erich..I highly recommend it. He is so much fun. And, he's in Santa Monica, CA!
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-books, yoga
I really like this book. It provides a solid basic foundation how to practice and what you should expect from regular practice. I love how the book has a conversational tone.
Highly recommend this one!
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“Stillness is not the absence or negation of energy, life, or movement. Stillness is dynamic. It is unconflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action. It can be experienced whenever there is total, uninhibited, unconflicted participation in the moment you are in—when you are wholeheartedly present with whatever you are doing.” 8 likes
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