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London-based teacher Tara Fraser, who writes for the British periodical Yoga and Health, is
well-grounded in the many dimensions of the practice (physical, psychological, philosophical, and
spiritual) and here offers a clear, inviting, and substantive guide to incorporating yoga into one’s
life. Her book is illustrated with more than 200 color photographs in which Fraser and two other
models capably demonstrate some three dozen asanas. It’s not an exhaustive program, but it’s a
well-rounded one. Fraser organizes her text into eight chapters.
The first three discuss “The Art
of Union,” “The Yoga Diet” (a look at vegetarianism, fasting, and the <a href=”/health/ayurveda“>Ayurvedic approach to food),
and “Understanding Posture” (including intelligent observations on different schools of yoga,
finding a yoga class, and “overcoming problems”). The fourth and longest chapter presents the
asanas, and the fifth offers a half-dozen sequences and a couple of variations.
Fraser then devotes
her last three chapters to “The Vital Breath,” including Pranayama exercises, meditation, and
“Yoga with a Partner”—something you might not expect to find in an introductory text, but which is
pulled off nicely here. Her bibliography is concise but high caliber, and she even adds a helpful
list of yoga-related addresses from the U.K., U.S., Australia, and India. In short, it’s a
soup-to-nuts starter guide, but what really impresses is not the completeness or
authoritativeness of the book but Fraser’s common-sense approach. “Remember that yoga should be
enjoyable and life-enhancing,” she writes. Exactly so, and Total Yoga is an excellent tool for
having just that kind of experience.