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The Story of Yoga

The Story of Yoga

"The Story of Yoga offers an absorbing chronicle of the rise of yoga, tracing its evolution through history to its rapid global proliferation today, with insights into the challenges on the way ahead. Exceedingly accessible and engaging, this is the definitive account of the remarkable growth of one of the world's most popular and beneficial human activities".

Shashi Tharoor best -selling author and cultural commentator, former Under Secretary- General of the United Nations and Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India.

This is the fascinating story of how a venerable Indian spiritual discipline turned into a £20 billion-a-year mainstay of the global wellness industry. Tracing the steps along yoga's winding path from the caves and forests of the sages to the gyms, hospitals and village halls of the Modern West, it sets yoga in its wider cultural context for the first time, and shows how the practice relates to important contemporary social currents. These include female empowerments, celebrity culture, the stress pandemic and the quest for an authentic identity in a time of cultural crisis and widespread confusion. An engaging tale of scholars and scandal, science and spirit, wisdom and waywardness- this is yoga, warts and all.

ALISTAIR SHEARER is a cultural historian specialising in the art and architecture of the Indian subcontinent, a former lecturer at SOAS University of London, and a teacher of meditation and the psychology of yoga. His books have been translated into all the major European languages, as well as Japanese and Hebrew, and his translation of the Yoga Sutras has remained in print for almost forty years. Alistair is the co-creator of an award-winning retreat hotel in Kerala (

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'This is a tale of what happens when East and West meet, and about a shift from the sacred to the secular. [Yoga's] journey west gives Shearer a compelling cast of characters.' -- The Sunday Times

'Erudite, scholarly and engrossing.' -- The Daily Telegraph

"The history of East meeting West through Yoga is as complex and enigmatic as it is important. Alistair Shearer unfolds the narrative with just the right combination of scholarly rigour and compelling prose." Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda and The Life of Yogananda

"Frequently amusing, but always scholarly and engaging, Shearer's study deftly works it way through the history of yoga, from the purity of Patanjali's Sutras to the mix'n'match brands endorsed by modern celebrities." John Zubrzycki, author of Empire of Enchantment: The Story of Indian Magic

” Amid a sea of guidebooks, historian Alistair Shearer has produced a worthwhile counterpoint…(offering ) advice as important as any guru’s techniques” Financial Times

by Alistair Shearer

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"On the unexplored northern part of the Malabar coast and flanked by a freshwater lagoon is this near-perfect heaven of peace and pampering. The cottages are designed and built along the traditional fisherman's thatched huts but each on with enough comforts to keep a five-star groupie enthralled."
Country & Town House Magazine (UK)