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THE BIG BOOK OF YOGA: THE END OF YOGA

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Yoga Meditation

other students to come out of this lineage. Talk to others who have practiced with this person, and try to get a sense for any common reactions (positive or negative) that these students might have had.

You can't know everything about a teacher by where they came from and what they've studied, but it can sure tell you a lot. If you do find a teacher who seems to fit your bill, then make a commitment to study for a good six months to one year with that person before making any lasting judgments.

Some traditional systems insist that it takes twelve years just to know if your teacher - or your student, for that matter - is the right one for you. In today's world, twelve years just to see if you like someone may seem a bit extreme, but we mention this just so you have a sense that a year really isn't all that long, especially when you're talking about making a decision that could affect you for the rest of your life!

You can also start to think about what kind of person you are, and where your interests lie. Are you extremely intellectual, or do you act more from your heart than your head? Do you like feeling like you're "in" your body, or do you like floating up in the clouds? Are you comfortable with long periods of stillness and introspection, or do you always need to feel like you're involved in some project or another? Of course, all these questions have shades of nuance in their answers - they're rarely so black-and-white. However, having a good sense for your personal typology can help you find the spiritual path that's best suited for your temperament.

Hatha Yoga is a system that is traditionally known for a) its inclusion of the physical body as an important ground for preparing the way to spiritual growth, b) its effect of building up the energy levels in the mind and body, and c) its demanding

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practices of cleansing, strengthening, and conditioning the body and, by association, the habitual patterns of mental behavior. (Keep in mind that all forms of spiritual discipline are strenuous in one way or another - if it was effortless, we'd all be Buddhas already! - but these are the particular ways in which Hatha Yoga makes its name among other paths of practice.)

So, does Hatha Yoga sound like it might be a good fit for you?

The End of [The Big Book of] Yoga

By this point you have a pretty good introduction to Hatha Yoga. You know where it came from, and a bit about the major lineages that are around today. You learned about the design and structure of Hatha Yoga, and how its step-by-step process is meant to unfold. You have a basic idea of Yoga's vision of the "subtle anatomy" that carries the energizing effects of Yoga in the human body. And hopefully you have a better idea of what to look out for along the path - the perils and pitfalls that can make progress in Yoga more difficult. Finally, with this last chapter, you have some guidance and inspiration to take with you into your practice, regarding the meaning and purpose behind the system of Hatha Yoga. Less of an end, really, and more a new beginning...

There's still a bit more, if you're interested. Have a look at the Endnotes section at the end of the book if you're curious to read more, do a bit of your own research, or just to see where we got all our information. We've included an Additional Reading section as well, if you want to give your reading list a jump start with a few of our top recommendations. There's also a Glossary of terms, and an Index for quick reference if you want to refer back to the Big Book of Yoga sometime in the future. You can always contact us if you have specific questions - we'll do our best to help you.

Thank you for taking the time to look through the Big Book of Yoga. We hope you've found something in its pages to inspire you. Now, enough reading - time to go out and practice!

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