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THE BIG BOOK OF YOGA: INTRODUCTION

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the Big Book of Yoga! Within these pages you'll find out about the story of Yoga - what it is, where it comes from, how it works, and what it's meant to do.

Hatha Yoga Asana PostureThe practice of Yoga - a ancient Sanskrit word meaning "union" - has been around for a long time, and there are literally whole libraries devoted to its study, so this is just a little slice of a very big pie! Think of the Big Book of Yoga as an interactive user's guide to Hatha Yoga. It's designed to be accessible for ripe beginners, but useful for more experienced yogis all the same. You can check out the Index if there are specific things you're looking for. The main chapters cover basic concepts and issues related to the practice of Yoga. Also, be sure to play with the various animated, interactive illustrations that go along with each chapter - there's a lot of good detail there that only gets touched on briefly in the actual text. There's a list of Recommended Reading at the end, if you want to take your study further.

The Big Book of Yoga is also a work in progress. We've got a ton of material that we'll be adding on, here and there, including short video and audio clips of various teachings and explanations of some important topics, as well as all sorts of great links and additional resources for you. So stay tuned, you never know what will turn up next! (In fact, if you'd like to know when new additions are posted, send us an email and we'll keep you

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informed.) And, of course, we are open to suggestions - if there is some aspect of the Yoga tradition that you think would make a good fit here, by all means, let us know! It IS supposed to be a Big Book, after all.

Here's how our story will unfold: the first chapter, The Yoga Family Treehouse, goes through some important historical points in the evolution of Yoga, and takes a look at the general state of Yoga today; after that, we'll get into The Nuts and Bolts of Hatha Yoga - how the Hatha Yoga system is designed to work, step-by-step, from first forward-fold to final enlightenment; next, we enroll in Subtle Anatomy 101, for a whirlwind tour Yoga Sunset Meditationthrough our energetic bodies - prana and chakras and nadis, oh my!; then, Caveat Meditor, a section on some of the obstacles and pitfalls you may encounter on the Yogic path; finally, in The End of Yoga, we'll close with a discussion of exactly what the purpose of all this practice is for, and where Yoga is ultimately taking us.

In the Big Book of Yoga we'll tackle some of the big questions: What is spiritual practice good for? Why do Hatha Yoga, specifically? How does Hatha Yoga work? All throughout the book, when you see words in blue italics, it means that there's a Glossary entry for it. To see that word's entry, simply hover the mouse pointer over a particular word, and a window will pop up that gives you the definition. (We think that's pretty neat.) In addition, when you see endnote numbers (like this: 1), click on the number for more information on that particular topic. You can also read through the entire Glossary and Endnotes sections at any time by acessing them through the Table of Contents menu at the top right corner of the page.

So let's get started, shall we? Click the "Next Chapter" page on the bottom right corner to begin.

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