Navigating through the different types and styles of yoga classes can be daunting for the beginner—and it can even confuse the seasoned yogi. It is often stated that “yoga is for everyone,” but not all styles of yoga are appropriate for every person’s disposition or physical abilities. Finding a style of yoga that you strongly align with will provide the support, encouragement and motivation to stick with the practice for the long haul.
Pick Your Yoga Practice is a detailed guide to all of the major types of yoga in the United States. In the beginning chapters, McCrary explains what yoga is and gives a brief history of yoga, surmising the philosophical foundations of the practice. The remainder of the book discusses the following yoga traditions/styles: Ashtanga, Iyengar, Kundalini, Integral, Kripalu, Bikram, Jivamukti, Sivananda, Ananda, Viniyoga, Svaroopa, Power, Forrest, ISHTA, Anusara, Moksha and AcroYoga. For each yoga tradition/style, McCrary details the history, philosophy, teaching methodology, elements of practice, class structure, and level of physical exertion in a well organized and easy to read manner. Even if you are not interested in learning about all of the specific styles, I recommend going through each chapter to read the nuggets of philosophy and practice techniques that are woven throughout the book.
While it is disappointing that McCrary does not give a clear and critical assessment of the myth that modern yoga is based on Patajali’s Yoga Sutras, this is a small caveat for a book that fills a much needed gap in the modern yogi’s library.