This is a big, dense book!

Based on more than 10 years of research, Goldberg traces yoga's evolution by examining the lives of eleven important people, including Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, Indra Devi, and B. K. S. Iyengar. These figures' achievements are discussed in the context of simultaneous Western trends such as the commodification of exercise, militant nationalism, jazz age popular entertainment, the quest for youth and beauty, and 19th-century New Age religion. This context adds a refreshing richness to the chronicle.

Divided into three parts, “Divesting Yoga of the Sacred,” “Making Yoga Dynamic,” and “Making Yoga Sacred Again,” each section explores some of the major players who shaped the development of modern yoga. The book touches on a wide range of topics from yoga for anxiety to mixing yoga and bodybuilding, from contortionism to becoming a western, female yoga teacher.

This is a wide-ranging and well-written book that is, in this reviewer's opinion, absolutely outstanding.

Highly recommended.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Elliot Goldberg
Inner Traditions, 2016
pp. 496, $39.95