This is a book whose time has truly come.
Yogani, the author, ends every lesson and every communication with the following motto, which I think best sums up the approach of this book and the Yahoo! Group from which it is derived:
The guru is in you.
The truth about any practice of personal development, whether it comes from a spiritual tradition or some other source of inspiration, is that no one can teach another person how to be happy. Those who believe they have useful information can only share what has worked for them or pass along what they've heard has worked for others. This Yogani does with a degree of honesty and compassion that is astonishing, refreshing, and consistent.
In this case, the information Yogani passes along comes from the original Yoga Sutras-- an ancient manual for cultivating the magnificence of the human spirit. The lessons focus on what works, how it works, and how to recognize when it is working for you. The practices themselves, though preserved through the Hindu tradition, were developed through experiment and observation over many centuries without regard to any particular religious belief. They can be applied to deepen the experience of any faith, or simply build joy and character regardless of one's opinion about the nature of the divine.
Time after time, both in the lessons and when answering questions, the usefulness of this no-nonsense approach shines through. Yogani has a way of clarifying the intent of each practice, which is to make steady and noticeable progress toward a deeper and more reliable experience of happiness that is independent of external circumstances.
Although much of the material contained in the book is available in the AdvancedYogaPractices group on Yahoo!, it is extremely useful and convenient to have ready access to the entire collection of lessons and the additional material that is only available in the book.
If the 12-Step and other self-help movements were at the forefront of cultural development at the close of the 20th Century, the advanced understanding of Yoga practices as set forth in this book will no doubt form the foundation of personal development in the 21st.
When Yogani says things like this:
The essence of divine experience is unending devastating
bliss and an unshakable silent peace.
He is describing an experience that he and other practitioners have noticed. His claim that this experience can be attained through the practices is easy to verify. When done properly-without undue strain or haste-the practices are harmless. As long as you remember that the guru is in you and follow your own inner guidance as you practice, your progress will be smooth, steady, and noticeable. May you be truly happy!