Book Reviews

YOGA: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness

YOGA: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness took me 12 years to write. It was published in 1996. Here are reviews found on amazon, not all of them complimentary.

You can get the book here: YOGA: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness

* A guide to inhabiting your body in new ways. This accessible, clearly written book opens a doorway to yoga for newcomers and jaded veterans alike.
Utne Reader May-June 98, from an article entitled “The Loose Canon, 150 Mind-Altering Masterpieces”

* Erich’s book captures the essentials of hatha yoga better than book I know.
Joel Kramer, author of The Passionate Mind and The Guru Papers.

* Erich’s wonderfully refreshing language renders the superb information in his book completely accessible. This is one of the excellent works from a new generation of asana masters.
Swami Chetanananda, author of Dynamic Stillness and Choose to Be Happy.

* “I liked your emphasis on the student cultivating their own inner reference system. usually yoga is taught as a set of rules and we are supposed to repeat the other persons experience. Your book is refreshingly original in this sense as, while giving some wonderful suggestions and guidelines, you keep throwing the student back on their own resources (which is what good, masterful teaching, and I believe ethical yoga teaching is about).”
Donna Farhi, author of The Breathing Book.

* Yoga: The Spirit and Pracctice of Moving into Stillness

I bought this book on the advice of my yoga instructor, it is a great book, with poses shown in exacting detail. The first half is about how to get to that “yoga place.”

*Essential Yoga Text

Whether you are a teacher or student, beginner or advanced, this book has so much to offer. At many levels, Schiffmann beautifully, humbly and skillfully presents the essence of Yoga. From the simplest level of detailed asanas to the most subtle exploration of activated stillness, clarity, reality, and love, this is a comprehensive and thought-provoking book. He is a gifted writer/teacher in that he leads you to think, feel, practice and ultimately discover it (whatever that is for you) on your own while providing support and encouragement.

This book is accessible, inspiring and a true joy. It is a core Yoga text that is referenced time and time again and I highly recommend to any serious student or teacher of Yoga.

* Amazing and uplifting,

This book has a beautiful flow that matches what Yoga is all about. The pictures of poses and the explanations are simple. I only wish the instruction of poses was audible.

*         A Beautiful Soul

I actually haven’t read this book, but have been taking yoga classes from the man himself here in Santa Monica, and just realized this book exists.. All I want to add is that Erich is the most radiant happy being I think I’ve ever met. Such a beautiful soul, with such a gentle and beautiful practice. Erich is most definitely the real deal! I look forward to reading this. I know already that he has much to teach!

*         Great book

I had to purchase this book for a yoga class at school. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I really love the breathing and meditation techniques. Yoga is a life changing physical mental and spiritual process which I will continue to practice here on out… thanks!

*         Excellent of course

I as always got great service from amazon! This book is great for taking yoga out of the gym & into something meaningful & not just another sweaty activity.

*         Excellent Yoga Book

Erich has created an amazing text full of informative poses and concepts. He masterfully describes how to enter poses and keep your self aligned properly. Also the benefits of each pose are listed so you can determine what poses to use for certain issues. My favorite part of the book are chapters 7 and 8. In chapter 7 he describes in my opinion the “real essence” of yoga by elaborating on how you get the energy to flow in the poses. This is the real aim in that you are trying to get a release. If you follow his lead here you will discover it for yourself. He follows in chapter 8 with the concepts of the edge and how to protect yourself once you have established the pose.

I highly recommend this book for any yoga teacher or student.

This is a classic text!

*         Great book on yoga!

My yoga instructor often referred to this book and I thought I would buy it. I’m glad I did! Erich Schiffman goes into great detail about the breath, meditation and especially the benefits of each asana. He explains in detail how to do the different poses and even has a sample home practice for an overall workout. I recommend this book for anyone, whether new to yoga or a seasoned practioner.

*         One of the best books on yoga out there, Great book on yoga!

This is an excellent how-to for just about anyone interested in learning about hatha yoga as experience, both as pose and meditation. Even if you’ve been practicing for many years (as indeed I had been when I purchased this book), you will learn a lot.

Schiffmann does not rush into a discussion on asanas as most books on yoga do. Instead, he spends the first eighty or so pages talking about the intangibles needed for each pose, including the right mindset, breathing techniques, body awareness of tension (or prana) in each pose, and the intuition to work with those tensions to become more comfortable with and aware of oneself in a pose.

Only then does he discuss the experience and benefits of many basic poses, including standing poses, sun salutations, backbends, forward bends, inversions, twists, and shoulder and hip openers. He talks about how to move into each pose, introduces preparatory stretches to each pose, and details how to deepen a pose into another stage once the body has become more experienced and flexible with time. Each pose and its different stages are depicted with photos and just enough biology in Schiffmann’s accessible prose to ensure that the reader knows what body part should be where. His very useful concluding chapters on meditation are more or less non-denominational and in any event genuine, and so likely to speak to everyone, spiritual agenda or no.

He emphasizes self-acceptance as a road to self-discovery (rather than self-discovery as a road to self-transformation) by encouraging the reader to let themselves experience exactly where they are in a pose on any given day. The clear overtone is that accepting how we experience a pose right here, right now, opens the door to understanding, accepting, and even savoring who we are.

Definitely make room for this book in your budget.

*         This book changed me!

great as a manual for beginers but also an insight in philosophy of yoga… great to read as an inspirational book so buy it even if you not gona practice

*         Re-examine your practice

This is a short review, much in line with others here. This book explains and insists that yoga is not something you do to get fit or lose weight. It is yoga from the inside out, it is not about moving into an asana as a milestone and then moving into the next milestone. Please read it, but be aware that it will take you out of your yoga classes and put you into a room alone with your mat and props.

*         Good for the Yogaphobes

While I cannot add much to what has been written here, however I cansay that Erich’s writing voice matches his voice as a teacher. You can hear his short lectures on his website where he adds files to listen to!

Enjoy and absorb the book at a leisurely pace. Even if meditation or yoga isn’t ‘your thing’, the book will invite you to think about your Self in a more expansive way. Nothing to fear here, just like a cool guy talking to you… perfect for the cynic or dweeb in your life who snubs all things ‘crunchy’, or alternative. It’s just about life man, relax and read something different for a change…and some of us will be willing to read Forbes.

*         Great Yogi – Good Book

Erich is a great modern yogi and he writes a good book.

His knowledge is amazing.

If you in the discovery phase of your yoga practice, you simply cannot go wrong with buying this book and using the information he presents.

*         Outstanding Text

Outstanding text, very clear. VERY inspirational. Goes into background of material and deep insights into Mindfullness, meditation. Immensely spiritual.

*         The very best

this is the third copy i have bought to give to a friend.

i am a yoga and meditation teacher. i also suggest erichs book to my students. i really think you can put all other yoga books aside and i really like many of them, but the way erich writes you can feel the poses.the last chapter on meditation is the very best.

read every word and go out into the world and do every word.

this is the only meditation book you will need. you can relate so simply to his real approach. i think he should publish the meditation chapter on its own.

*         Excellent all the way!

Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness is well worth the time it will take to absorb its pages. When applying these principles to your daily life you will discover the profound effects yoga can have, not just through physical discipline, but mental, emotional, and spiritual effects as well.

This is an excellent book.

*         I’ll probably sell this on eBay

I am disappointed in this book. I was expecting a book which takes you right into practicing Yoga but the first Chapter is all about the author’s youthful years in England and India. Then the next Chapters are on meditation. I got bored and put it down and haven’t picked up it since.

*         Not for the timid

This book is definitely for advanced students. My daughter loves it because she is 18 and can more easily twist herself into a pretzel than I could ever dream of. Erich is amazing and if nothing else, I look at this book periodically for the WOW factor and keep dreaming that some day I’ll be able to do these postures.

*         A profound underserstanding of Yogas true meaning

I have gone through many Yoga books and tried many “yoga courses”. It always seemed to be a struggle against my mind and body. Somehow i just didn’t get the deeper meaning and it remained a form of physical exercise. Fortunately i began to develop some intuitive understanding and awareness in my practice. That’s when I came across Schiffmann. His book expressed beautifully what I was beginning to realize. Every asana I have tried using Schiffmann’s approach has been a joy to practice. Buy this book. Use it. It will change your life.

*         Introduction to Yoga

Learn the basics of yoga through these calming descriptions of the poses. Find out why breathing is so important to the perfect form.

*         Comprehensive and easy to pick up when you can

I like that the book covers the basics and is easy to pick up and read a little here and there. I like the descriptions of the Asanas and how it explains the flow of energy during each pose. It reminds you how to hold your body and reminds you to breathe during the pose. Just reading the descriptions is calming. I think this is going to be a great book to assist me on journey to making Yoga a part of my daily life.

*         Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness

Erich Schiffman has a way with words – Reading this book helps you to understand his passion for yoga and opens you to the emotional and spiritual deepth that yoga provides. I highly suggest it!

*         Move into stillness guys

A perfect title. Love it. Om Shanti. Anyway, I thought I had enough books on poses but this book surprised me on how lacking my other material was. He is very detailed yet easy to understand and like someone else said this is organic yoga from the inside out. This has changed and enlivened my practice and really helped me to understand how a pose should feel to me. He points out this is your practice which hit home with me that instead of just following a routine of sorts I needed to really feel it and make it me. The breathing, alignment, lines of energy and moving meditation are brought to life. Obviously, I am very happy I bought this book.

*         Self evolution

Great in-depth journey to self-evolution by the author. A good motivation to self analysis and positive, healthy lifestyle.

*         Best yoga primer available

Buy this, and immediately take it to your nearest copy shop; have them remove its spine and give it a spiral binding so that it will lie flat. That way, you can lay it flat on the floor, where it can more handily serve as your guide while you study and practice a pose. It is the ideal first yoga text, but it is constructed to remain of use, no matter how advanced your yoga study gets. An ideal accompaniment for work with a teacher or a video, it is clearly written, helpfully illustrated by instructive photographs, and well organized for easy referencing. It includes a comprehensive collection of poses, and the poses are broken down into different levels of skill development, so that no matter how flexible or inflexible your body is, no matter how elementary or advanced your yoga learning, you can find the right pose and the right version of it for you. Even though it is a superb guide for anyone starting to develop or even just continuing a home practice in yoga, it also opens with an inspiring autiobiographical introduction and includes instruction in meditation, as well as explanations of yoga philosophy, giving some sense of how yoga can transform one’s entire approach to living–without becoming evangelical about it. Schiffman has studied with a remarkable variety of yoga masters, so his text will suit students from a variety of yoga teaching traditions–Krishnamurti, Desikachar, Iyengar, Scaravelli, and so on–but not Ashtanga. There are many good yoga texts out there, but if you had to whittle your yoga library down to only one text, this one would be my choice.

*         Understand Yoga More

I really did not understand completely what yoga was about until I read this book based on other reviews. If you truly want to understand the “spirit” of yoga this is a great introduction for beginners and advanced students.

*         You Don’t Have to Be a Yogi to Enjoy this Book

This book is required in the yoga teacher training that I am taking but could be assimilated and enjoyed by a person who has never done yoga. Erich talks about mindful living and using energy to improve your life which is fascinating. His prose is fluid and very calming. He also tells an interesting life story in the beginning. I also like his organic style of yoga whereby the emphasis is on the process and not the perfect pose.

*         Excellent yoga sequences

I love the yoga sequences and descriptions of asanas in this book. In order to really use it, I had to go through and highlight the important elements of each asana, since his descripition last for pages and is quite detailed, and you just can’t hold it long enough to read everything! I also love the guiding priciples he offers, like lines of energy. However, the beginning portion of the book, before the descriptions of the asanas, is a little difficult to read. He is very wordy, I read sections to my family and friends that actually made them laugh as he goes on and on about something, making a good point but making is about 7 times before he moves on. Better too much explanation than too little, I guess, but please be sure to get past that part to to the asanas, don’t get discouraged! Erich Schiffmann is a wonderful teacher and a very wise man, his message has changed and reinvigorated my practice.

*         The Yoga Book That Stands Above All Others!

I discovered Erich Schiffman’s wonderful book about 9 years ago, soon after I started practicing Yoga, and I haven’t missed a day of practice in all those years. This book was probably the most single significant tool that helped me to develop a safe and sound practice. In fact I love it so much that I bought my Yoga teacher a copy as a “studio warming” gift when she first opened her studio. I wanted her to have a copy for the studio’s collection of books so that other students could have access to it.

First there is a wonderful introduction which introduces you to Erich’s background, one of the premier teachers not only in the U.S. but perhaps the world. It’s very interesting to see how he came to become a Yoga teacher and the things that influenced his unique approach to Yoga.

This is not just a book about the poses but an approach to Yoga that takes you to the core and depths of the practice. For me, the first section of the book gives you tools that you can take into practicing any style of Yoga. You learn about breathing, how to sensitively play your edges and find lines of energy in your poses and much much more.

The section on Asana (the poses) gives in depth instruction which are much more than just “bend your leg this way, raise your arm that way”. There is tremendous detail which will help you deepen your experience of the poses and create an awareness that starts with your body and eventually move into your whole life.

I have several shelves of Yoga books and if I had to choose one out of all of them there is no doubt that this would be the one I would choose above all others.

Highly recommended!

*         Very Helpful

I am just beginning Yoga and this book explains all that I want to know in a way I can understand.

The author has written in a way that describes the excercises in a detailed but clear way and also makes you comphrehend the philosophy supporting the excercises as well as the practice of meditation.

I am very happy that with the help of this book, I can move and grow in my yoga practice.

*         Moving Into Peace, Health, Joy and Love

This book is an exquisite compendium of the core components of Yoga, their application and expected outcomes. All this is presented in a gentle, lucid fashion – accessible to anyone who would care to be more loving and whole. It’s the best ‘Yoga book’ I’ve read, and I have a collection. I would recommend it to anyone – beginner or developed practitioner. I would also love to see/hear more from Erich on CD. His work with Ali McGraw is timeless.

*         A bit verbose, but exceedingly useful

The majority of the information in this book is extremely valuable to the practitioner. The explanations of the asanas are very accurate and give all the detail necessary to effectively begin to practice any given pose. Also, the more difficult poses include preliminary exercises that are geared towards the beginner or those otherwise physically unable to immediately perform the asana; I have personally found this aspect of the book to be exceedingly useful.

In addition, I was surprised to discover that this book included a very useful section on meditation. Although many of the ideas presented are exceedingly simple, I found them nonetheless highly effective.

The tricky part of the book is the verbose method used to describe every detail of each asana. An entire paragraph is often devoted to each individual movement. This is at first overwhelming to the point that the asana appears to be much more difficult than it really is. In most cases I have ended up reading the explanation, then typing up a condensed version of the asana that can actually be used while first learning the pose. After some practice with the asana, the book can then be referred to again to pick up on the details and further perfect the pose.

Finally, there is one aspect of the book that I found a bit monotonous. When he attempts to describe the more spiritual aspects of yoga he has trouble expressing himself. He will go on for pages trying to get across a single point that never really seems to be clearly expressed. He says it best when he mentions that these things cannot be understood until experienced directly. Nonetheless he tries (and tries, and tries) to explain these experiences, but is ultimately unsuccessful.

Overall, though, this book is not to be missed by beginning or intermediate students. I have found it to be comprehensive and effective while managing to remain highly accessible. It is rare to find all of these qualities in one book.

*         Loved this book!

I teach a yoga-based class and was looking for a yoga book with good descriptions of the purpose and procedure of the poses. I’ve looked through many (many!) books that lay out the basic alignment of common poses, but was looking for one that went a bit further. This is it. Knowing that most people cannot immediately and comfortably sit right down and do lotus pose, the author gives preparatory poses to get you there. Even then, he admits that it took him several years to get into the pose comfortably. It’s that sense of humility, empathy and lack of pretention that runs throughout the book.

His step-by-step instruction is very clear. Rather than just giving the “do this, move that” kind of instruction, he’s more of a coach through the pose. Knowing that many people will be discouraged when they don’t look like a yoga model in their own pose, he always encourages you to be comfortable where you are now. Addtionally, his writings on meditation and relaxation practices were not only right on target, but just beautiful to read.

I learned a lot from this book that made me a better teacher and enriched my own experience. I’d highly recommend this book!

*         A man who lives what he writes and teaches it as well…,

Erich Schiffmann was my very favorite Yoga teacher when I lived in LA. Now I live outside of Paris and miss his yoga classes very much. His style was so in the moment, so well thought out, so complete. His love of Yoga is so much a part of his life and how he teaches. Though I knew his style and teaching, I found this book so easy to understand and interesting. I love how he explains his own journey into yoga and how it has become so much a part of his life. If you love Yoga or are even contemplating it…read this book. And if you ever get a chance to have a class with Erich…don’t hesitate! Oh, and his video is great also!

*         Highly Recommend for Instructors and level 1/2 students

After all these years, this is the book I come back to when I am stuck in my practice and need a little inspiration. If you are a beginner student, don’t be scared off by some reviewers who say this book is not for you. If you are drawn to this book, then that is enough. You will learn plenty and grow with this book and find your bliss.

*         Too Theory Based

Renowned yoga master Erich Schiffmann offers an easy-to-follow technique. Through simple instruction and essential illustrations, this book reveals more than one hundred poses and yoga routines for all levels of ability that will slow or even reverse aging, increase stamina and strength, and slim and tone the body; a complete program of meditation to promote self-realization, decrease stress, and promote creativity. Discover how to feel balanced, centered, and coordinated, increase flexibility, eliminate pain, and become free of life’s negativity through the spirit and practice of Yoga. In my opinion, there are a lot of better yoga books out there and this one is a bit advanced, especially if you’re a beginner. This isn’t one I’d recommed to anyone.. there’s too much theory and not enough yoga.

*         A lifetime companion

After dipping into and out of various yoga and meditation texts — and their accompanying philosophical bases — I can say this book is the best I have ever found. I use it daily, it encourages both thoughtful contemplation and regular mindful practice without a lot of gobblydygook. Schiffmann’s style is both easy and surprisingly far-reaching. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to center themselves and learn to sit still.

*         An excellent resource for students and teachers

My practice has taken on a new depth after reading this book. I am grateful that I can share this with my students. Be skeptical and find out for yourself. This book will change your yoga… for the better.

*         Read if you need peace

Whether you want to spend your life studying yoga or just have a curiousity about yoga, you should read this book. The author’s words sound like they are being spoken directly to you. They are both clear but insightful, explaining complexities in the most understandable way.

*         Yoga, philosophy sans terminology

I bought this book after reading a recommendation off a listmania list. Wish I had this earlier.

The book is fascinating; without going into the terminology of Yoga, the author tells you what Yoga is all about; how it affects the mind; why should one do postures; how he came to choose Yoga and stick with it. I had hitherto read a lot of hard-core philosophy of Yoga – the sutras, the translations, etc, but reading Erich’s book gives you a simpler translation of the both process and the outcome.

A student of Jiddu Krishnamurthy, the author easily and fluently speaks Yoga; the Who am I excercise in helping one to know oneself is a simple and profound way of getting deeper into our consciousness. If you ever thought why you should do Yoga at all, read the chapter on “Why Yoga?” and ye shall be convinced.

The coverage on postures, while detailed and broken into numerous steps, are a bit long-ish for a quick read; but that is what Yoga is about – no quick lunch anytime.

Another highlight of the book is the various sets of routines one can follow for all levels of students.

*         Yoga From the Inside Out

One of the best books on hatha yoga ever. There’s nothing difficult to understand or apply. But the material will probably change the way you practice. It certainly did for me. I’ve been practicing yoga, on and off, for about ten years. I’ve taken classes with terrific teachers and even an agonizing series of 6 a.m. seminars with K. Pattabhi Jois. Yoga never got beyond the physical for me until I read Schiffman’s book. Sometimes I wondered what the real difference was between a good hatha yogi and a contortionist. That question has been answered. Schiffman teaches the internals of yoga. His focus is on mobilizing the body’s intrinsic energy–qi or prana–in each posture. The postures act as energy templates, he explains, but it’s necessary to understand the lines of flow and circulation. He makes this very easy to understand and apply. And when you do, the external technique improves and you become precise without thinking about every distracting detail. Also, Schiffman’s approach is beautiful. He teaches you to sense your limits and learn when you want to stay well within them, and when you want to push them. This is a method of gentle, “occasional healthy pain, tremendous gain.” Schiffman is schooled in the Iyengar and Desikachar approaches. Precision is important to him. But he’s taken it a quantum step farther. With Iyengar’s Light on Yoga and Donna Farhi’s Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit, Schiffman’s book completes a trinity of the three most impressive, helpful books on hatha yoga I’ve seen, regardless of which style you practice or your level of skill.

*         Unusual book by an interesting teacher

Erich, if you have ever experienced his teaching in person, is an interesting teacher. He has a very exploratory nature when it comes to yoga and frequently practices at home and makes up new postures as he goes. He has a pretty lengthy book here that has a lot to offer that you may not have seen quite that way before. If you are interested in a fresh new look at yoga, this book could be for you!

*         Erich Schiffmann’s Vade-Mecum to Life

The spirit and practice of Erich Schiffmann is well transmitted in this distillation of Erich’s classes turned into a book. His engaging personal style and deeply-held convictions about using yoga as a primary channel for self-knowledge and enlightenment make his book a great introduction to starting or expanding your yoga practice.

This book opens a lot of doors. Erich’s unique personal history with Krishnamurti and B.K.S. Iyengar contribute well to the common sense and precision of his theme of “Moving Into Stillness” and as a 6’4″, 200+ lbs. XXL-sized teacher, Erich shows that yoga is not the exclusive province of the small and lithe.

If your just looking for a book or video to show you the basic postures, there are plenty of sources that can fill the bill. If, however, you are looking for the why and how of yoga as deep resource for transformation, Erich’s user-friendly guide is an invaluable vade-mecum to the journey.

To get a taste of Erich’s “voice”, start with Chapter 11,”Listening for Guidance- The Aerial Perspective”pp.329-331.

Let Erich help you join your mind to the Infinite Mind, which, after all, is the true goal of yoga.

*         Absolutely wonderful!

This book is the most practical and inspiring book on yoga I’ve ever come across. Schiffman manages to beautifully weave the ‘experience’ of yoga with clear, precise instructions. All in all, a brilliant book for any yoga practictioner to have. In my opinion, much, much better than Rodney Yee’s book.

*         A must for any person doing Yoga

This book has changed the way i do Yoga

explanations are clear,

it goes deeply into the process of yoga which is not only postures (Asanas) or breathing techniques (pranayama), but a combination of the two in order to associate mind and body as you associate deeply your breathing with the movement within the process of the postures.

just perfect, i wish a chapter on sexuality would have been added as we know, breathing has much importance into the sexual act. i suggest also easy books from Van lisebeeth, and 2 masterpieces from iyengar for advanced students.

*         Enrich your life

WOW! WHAT A BRILLIANT BOOK. IF you ever wonder why you should do yoga, read this book. It is written in plain language. Beats 99% of other books by a mile. Just get it and enrich your life.

*         Amazing Unfolding of Spirit

I have practiced and taught yoga for about 5 years now. This is a most incredible book, for it teaches you WHAT to FEEL in asanas and pranayama. This is SO critical especially for instructors, since merely mimicking “cool” postures can lead to wicked injuries and tremendous frustration. Schiffmann nurtures us along beautifully, spiritually, and tenderly. Get this if you are serious about your yoga!


If you buy only one yoga book, this is the one. By a mile. Practically glutted with commonsense advice, especially from the mental point of view, here at last is a book that can take you a long long way in the privacy of your own home. Particularly useful is the exquisitely detailed information on the poses. Information that may at first seem like overkill, but isn’t. Instead what you have is a comprehensive system for progressing slowly, naturally, and correctly. I love the author’s comments on “feeling your edges” and “lines of energy” which really open your eyes right up. Superb photos. And an outstanding description of ujjayi breathing — a difficult concept to describe but done beautifully here. A brilliant book which took 10 years to write. Good things obviously take time. My only advice is when it comes to meditation, take a look at Lorin Roche’s, “Meditation Made Easy.” Or Roche and Maurine’s, “Meditation Secrets for Women.” With these three books in your possession, you’ll be cooking.

*         The best yoga book I have found.

This book is excellent for a number of reasons. The detailed descriptions of how to do the postures are wonderful. There are excellent hints for progressing through difficult postures, including some really helpful exercises for helping you get your hip joints in shape to do the lotus pose. Erich really understands how the different poses affect the physical body and the energy field, and imparts this knowledge clearly and eloquently.

There is a whole section on breathing with the postures which I’ve not seen done so well in any other book. Also, he explains his concept of “lines of energy” which really bring the postures alive. A line of energy is a directional path of force that moves through your body during a pose. For instance, when you are doing the Mountain (basic standing) pose, you allow two lines of energy to develop: one which starts at the navel and runs down through your legs and feet, anchoring you down into the earth; the other lifting you from the navel upwards through the crown of your head. Understanding these lines helps the practitioner to experience each pose as a way of reorienting one’s energy, rather than just a set of muscle stretches.

Perhaps Erich’s greatest contribution to the yoga literature is his way of explaining how asana practice goes with meditation practice. Before, I was never sure how asanas fit in with the rest of yoga practice. Now I understand a lot better. I found Erich’s spiritual writings very unpretentious and inspiring. The meditation exercises are wonderful both for beginners as well as people who’ve been meditating for a while.

This is a wonderful book from a teacher who knows his subject well and who seems to have a truly open heart. I would love to take a class from him someday.

*         Buy this book. Now.

This book is a must for all but the most advanced practitioner. Mr. Schiffman’s perspective is unique. Most books don’t give anywhere near enough detail. On first look, it would seem that Mr. Schiffman gives way too much detail; after reading, and trying, his instructions, I’ve seen that there’s no such thing as too much detail. Postures I’d given up because they didn’t do anything for me now feel really good. If you’re serious about your practice, you want this book.

*         Excellent! This is the only book that I could recommend…,

Nothing can replace a good teacher. But for those who are looking to practice yoga on their own this is the only book I can recommend. Many famous books like “Light on Yoga” by B.K.S.Iyengar fail here, they include many poses but few details so practicing them can increase the danger of injury and enforce wrong techniques. Here you will find only 49 most important poses with every detail for safe practice. After two years of suing Iyengar books I returned to learn basics with this author, just few months with it gave me much more than two previous years.

*         If you only buy one yoga book, this should be it!

Erich’s gentle words and powerful message could cajole even the most guarded of naysayers of yoga to try it. Not only is he a most accomplished practitioner but an eloquent writer. This was the first yoga book I bought(I now own many and still this one is my favorite!)when I was starting my practice and its information and photographic illustrations of the asanas really filled in many of the gaps all beginners are faced with. I most appreciated his light-hearted encouragements.

*         Yoga you can understand!

I have many books on yoga, including Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga”. While I enjoy my other books, I have to say this one is my favorite. It explains the asanas (poses) in easy-to-understand language, yet it is very precise and true to the essence of yoga. I also like how the poses are referred to in their traditional names as well as their western names (such as downward dog, tree, etc.). It makes it easier to look up poses in the back, and integrate it with what you learn in class. The back of the book also has sample routines for beginner to advanced students. An all around great book!!!

*         Visually stimulating description

I found this book to be enlightening and very entertaining as Erich Schiffman has a distinctive style in both his writing and yoga. The visuals I received from his descriptions of the poses and what you want to have happen in your body were wonderful, opening up new avenues in my yoga. I don’t know that I am falling for his comments on “love” and “God”, but other readers may enjoy that part of it.

*         The Best Yoga Book I’ve Read

Well I haven’t yet completed it but this is where I truly learned and understood and felt Yoga. He puts so much time/love/energy into teaching you with his words. I have been reading and practicing for over 4 years and this is all I will need besides one on one teaching.

*         Very good

If you won’t to learn yoga (hatha yoga og power yoga)this is a very good book ….and his Video is also good. I have learn alot from it and still do the nice practisses he tells about in the book. 5 stars.

*         The Essential Book on Yoga

This is by far the most practical,lucid and inspiring book on yoga I have ever read.I am a yoga teacher and have been practicing for over twenty years.It is the only book I know of that teaches how to develope a truely personal practice,based on the experience of truth.Through the cultivation of inner awareness,gentleness and compassion the author guides us to connect with,honor and express the truth of our divine nature .This is the heart of yoga. I recommend that if anyone reads this book and doesn’t connect with it immediately,keep reading until you do!It’s well worth the effort.

*         Good but not the best

The first few chapters seemed like the usual mumbo jumbo. He went to India and saw a guru and learned some important “values”. The second section where he describes about breathing and asanas is the most useful along with his description of how to do the poses. I think he is also over-elaborate in doing the poses.

*         Unique insight into yoga practice

After almost 25 years of practice, this book not only provided new insights but also validated my own experiences. I recommend it so highly I gave away my first copy. Ideal for both beginners and advanced practictioners, it expresses the inner spirit of yoga without the mystical fog that surrounds many advanced books.

*         The Best Yoga book I have read!!

I have many books on Yoga and this book I am having a hard time putting down. Everything he says is so easy to understand and you are able to relate to each page. I decided to write this before I am even through with this book since I am so enspired by it! I can’t say enough about this book!! Thanks so much for letting me see the true beauty of Yoga.

*         Not only the finest, but the most human, book on yoga.

This book conveys a rich, personal, and utterly human approach to hatha. Erich manages to combine a deep passion for hatha yoga with a compelling and authentic personal statement of its role in his life. What is so inspiring about the book is that it combines the precision and beauty of Iyengar yoga with the intensely personal vision of a fellow American. Erich views yoga as a wide highway on which all can travel at their own speed. I would not be without this beautiful and inspiring book.

*         This is the best book written on yoga to date.

Most yoga books focus on how to do the postures from the outside in—the external approach. Erich Schiffmann’s book shows us how to do yoga from the inside out—the internal approach. There is no other book, or teacher for that matter, that is able to convey this information in such a profoundly clear way.

*         I agree, this is the best yoga book I’ve ever seen.

It has everything I’m interested in, in clear easy-to-understand language.

*         This is the best yoga book I’ve ever read.

I’m telling everyone about it. You should get this guy on the Oprah Winfrey show.

*         Sub-title sums up book very well.

“The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness” very much sums up the spirit of this book on yoga. Being still in meditation is the goal of the author and he uses the poses to move toward that place. The tone is nurturing and clear, and gives the reader a sense of accessibility to the material, as opposed to unattainability. There are many photographs and the approach is different than what is found in other books. I read the book regularly and use it in my own teaching.

*         The best yoga book I’ve seen. Practical and interesting.,

An outstanding yoga book for beginners and intermediates. Has renewed my yoga practice with interesting ideas and answers.

*         Practical yoga by a real person

He seems like a real person, writing what he experiencedin yoga; lots of practical advise and stretches for thosetoo stiff to do classical yoga poses. There are instructions for extending lines of energy: obviously you have to experience this in order to know. Covers the poses in the video and more. Discusses meditation, pranayama, etc.