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Archive for August, 2006

For Total Posers (four book reviews)

Unfurl your mat and meditate on this summer’s best yoga books.

Yoga Beneath the Surface: An American Student and His Indian Teacher Discuss Yoga Philosophy and Practice By Srivatsa Ramaswami and David Hurwitz. Marlowe and Company, $16 paperback.Don’t have a personal guru? How about a portable one? In Yoga Beneath the Surface, Indian master Srivatsa Ramaswami elaborates on the finer points of yoga philosophy with California yogi David Hurwitz. A student of the renowned Sri T. Krishnamacharya (1888–1989), Ramaswami illuminates issues as varied as the nature of the self, the hidden benefits of poses and whether to jump back to chaturanga on an inhale, exhale or no breath at all. The conversational format is skimmable—making it handy for yogis commuting between classes—but the full experience may require the use of other reference books, notably Ramaswami’s The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga. And if you aren’t already comfortable with Sanskrit and the yoga sutras, this book will take some effort.
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Peace Keeper: Pema Chodron

Critic’s Pick

To end wars, some march on Washington or analyze foreign diplomacy. According to Buddhist nun and best-selling author Pema Chödrön, we need to meditate, too. Chödrön, 70, discusses ways to de-escalate violence—on ourselves, others and the world—among other topics on the season finale of PBS’s Bill Moyers on “Faith & Reason” on Friday 4 at 9pm and Sunday 6 at 7pm. It will be a rare appearance for Chödrön who, in failing health, recently embarked on a yearlong retreat. Her new book, Practicing Peace in Times of War (Shambhala, $16), lands in bookstores this September, and, like her other tomes, makes complex Buddhist ideas appealing and accessible to the average joe. “War and peace begin in the hearts of individuals,” she says. And when she says it, you believe her.

Time Out New York / Issue 566 : August 3, 2006 – August 9, 2006