Yoga for Dummies proves that this 5,000-year-old Indian discipline can be all things to all people--the athlete striving for more-limber limbs, the stressed-out professional needing mental calm, peace, and clarity; the pregnant mom-to-be looking to keep herself toned and her emotions balanced, the spiritual seeker wanting to access the higher planes of consciousness.

Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D., and Larry Payne, Ph.D., are internationally recognized yoga experts. After explaining how to prepare your body and mind for yoga--including warnings about how to practice safely--they jump straight into the postures (asanas), instructions for which make up the meat of book (relaxation, breathing, movement, sequencing, compensation, sitting). Feuerstein and Payne carefully and in great detail lead the reader through every step, although they do advise first-timers to supplement the book with actual classes until they have the basics down. Throughout the book, clear explanations accompany black-and-white photos and drawings. (Unfortunately, following the written instructions is hard enough when your feet are in the air or your head's down by your ankles, and the book would have been improved if the pictures always appeared on the same page as their instructions.)

Readers then learn about tailoring a yoga program to their needs; using props; practicing "Yoga Throughout the Day"; incorporating yoga into sex, meditation, menopause, and pregnancy; using yoga to treat back problems and PMS; and practicing yoga with kids. The book also covers yogic ethics, philosophy, and resources. It's not all asanas and pranas, though--Yoga for Dummies is sprinkled with the humor characteristic of the For Dummies series (a section explaining that the ego is the ultimate source of stress is titled "Wherever ego, I go") and practical advice (the Forgiving Limbs maneuver allows you to bend your legs and arms a bit rather than try to fully extend them, so that you can perform postures you're not yet quite limber enough for). This is both an excellent beginner's guide and a good reference for more advanced yoginis who want a brush-up course. --Stefanie Durbin

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