Armchair Yogi: Alan Finger

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"I grew up with swamis in my house, so there was no reason for me to read books," says Alan Finger, who began his yoga studies in South Africa under the tutelage of his father, Kavi Yogiraj Mani Finger. "My father said that everything was already there and I must learn to bring it in from the universe. Reading was something he didn't want me to do; he wanted me to learn from experience." Today Finger says he does rely upon a handful of useful reference books, and he recommends three in particular: The Anatomy Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit and Lawrence Elson, Anatomy of Movement by Blandine Germaine, and The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga by Georg Feuerstein.

Beyond that Finger continues to follow his father's advice, seeking inspiration directly through experience and practice. He admits he hasn't even read all the titles recommended in the teacher-training program at his four Yoga Zone studios. "I have a shelf full of books," he says, "but very few of them have ever been touched."