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Yantra Yoga

Yantra Yoga: The Tibetan Yoga of Movement, by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu; 
translated by Adriano Clemente. Snow Lion Publications; snowlionpub.com

By Frank Jude Boccio

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Most of what modern yogis know about hatha yoga comes from several ancient 15th-century texts. This book, however, presents an even earlier form of hatha, one based on an 8th-century Buddhist Tantric text called The Union of the Sun and Moon Yantra.

Yantra Yoga is a style of asana that leads practitioners through movements of the body that give rise to various postures. These are accompanied by coordinated pPranayama techniques and visualization of the nadis (energy channels) and chakras (energy centers). To clear up any confusion, there are pictoral symbols called yantras in the Tantra tradition, but in this book, "Yantra Yoga" refers to a Buddhist practice more akin to hatha yoga.

The practice comprises 108 exercises, including preliminary purification movements and pranayama, followed by 75 main asanas that present many familiar postures. Because of its emphasis on the movements into and out of the various postures and on breath regulation, the practice is meditative, designed to help you discover your authentic nature.

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, the founder of the International Dzogchen Community, was the first to bring Yantra Yoga to the West in 1971. His detailed commentary clearly elucidates the terse and obscure text, and the many drawings are a great help in deciphering the instructions that even translator Adriano Clemente admits are best passed down by a live teacher.

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