How This Book Is Organized

This book is organized according to the characteristic design of all For Dummies books. It answers all the important questions you need to know for a successful practice of Yoga.

Yoga For Dummies is conveniently divided into five parts. Here is what you can expect to encounter in them:

Part I: Off to a Good Start with Yoga

This opening part sets the stage for the discussions and practices that follow and covers some of the fundamentals you need to know before beginning with the postures. In Chapter 1, we explain what Yoga is and clear up some widespread misunderstandings about it. We also introduce the five basic approaches to and twelve principal branches of Yoga and review how these relate to your health and happiness. In Chapter 2, we provide you with down-to-earth practical advice on getting started with your own Yoga practice, showing you how you can make it both safe and effective. In particular, we answer all your questions about participating in a class or practicing on your own. Chapter 3 covers everything you need to do to prepare for a Yoga session, including cultivating the right state of mind. Chapter 4 introduces the art of relaxation, which is fundamental to a successful Yoga practice. In Chapter 5, we explain the importance of correct breathing both during the execution of the Yoga postures and as a discipline in its own right.

Part II: Postures for Health Maintenance and Restoration

In the second part, we jump straight into the Yoga postures. In Chapters 6 through 13, you successively discover sitting postures, standing postures, balancing exercises, special practices for your abdominals, inversions, bends, and twists, as well as the popular dynamic movement called the Sun Salutation. In Chapter 14, we guide you through a short, time-tested routine designed for beginners.

Part III: Creative Yoga

Chapter 15 helps you spice it up and gives you the key formula to design well-rounded routines of varying lengths, as well as guidelines to ensure your practice is safe as well as enjoyable. In Chapters 16, 17, and 18, we delve into Yoga for different ages and stages — pregnancy through the senior years — and provide guidelines, suggest postures, and outline routines so that all potential yogis and yoginis can find their niches. Chapter 19 discusses the use of props and reviews simple props, such as walls, chairs, straps, and blocks, to facilitate your posture practice.

Part IV: Yoga as a Lifestyle

When you adopt Yoga as a lifestyle, your practice extends over the entire day. In this part, we explain how to make this shift and why this choice makes sense. As we show in Chapter 20, Yoga has much to say about positive mental attitudes toward work, leisure, diet, family, and other people. In Chapter 21, we introduce you to the art of meditation. If the postures are Yoga's backbone, meditation is its heart. Regular meditation puts you in touch with the joy and peace that is your mind's natural condition. Chapter 22 looks at using Yoga therapeutically to deal with common aches and pains and illustrates safe postures to relieve back pain. It also offers a five-step program to help you prevent chronic back pain so that you can continue, not curtail, your lifestyle. We also discuss how to find a good Yoga therapist.

Part V: The Part of Tens

All For Dummies books have a Part of Tens section, and this one is no different. Here we give you top-ten lists that provide you with useful and practical information. In Chapter 23, we let you in on important hints for a successful and enjoyable Yoga practice with a focus on relaxation, and Chapter 24 tells you the best places to visit in the United States and Canada if you're interested in practicing Yoga with a competent teacher and/or in a group setting. Finally, in Chapter 25, we list ten good reasons for practicing Yoga.

We encourage you to explore Yoga further, so the appendix at the end of the book gives you the necessary resources to do just that. We cover prominent organizations and list some of the best Web sites, books, DVDs, audiotapes, and videos on the various aspects of Yoga.

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