Yoga has exploded in popularity around the country in recent years, as proven by the profusion of women you see walking down the street everyday with a rolled-up rubber mat under their arms. The fad appears poised to take the black community by storm, with even hip-hop mogul-turned-yoga practitioner Russell Simmons becoming a vocal proponent of adopting a meditative Eastern path.
Another very dedicated advocate is Daya Devi-Doolin, co-founder with her husband, Chris, of the Doolin Healing Sanctuary located in Deltona, Fla. There, she not only teaches private and group yoga classes, but offers free sessions for abused women and military veterans.
Now, this spiritual sister shares her philosophy in “Yoga, Meditation and Spiritual Growth for the African American Community,” an easy-to-read how-to tome with easy-to-follow illustrated introduction aimed at beginners and also the young at heart. The book features photographs not of skinny contortionists, but of the author and some of her students who, as you’ll see, come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
That lets you know that you don’t have to be lithe and limber like a runway model to assume such poses pictures as the Boat, the Butterfly, the Half Lotus, the Cow, the Chair, the Eagle, the Half Bridge, the Dancer, the Cobra, the Tree, the Spinal Twist, or my favorite, The Mountain (which looks the easiest). Why should the uninitiated even consider trying yoga? “For a new or a renewed body, mind and spirit,” Daya suggests.
Hatha yoga has been around for thousands of years, and is ostensibly beneficial in terms of maintaining youthfulness and flexibility. Furthermore, according to the yogini, our organs and endocrine glands as well as the skeletal, reproductive, circulatory and lymphatic systems are all “healed by the inversion asanas, stretching postures, back bend asanas and twisting asanas. “Asana,” by the way, is just a fancy Sanskrit word for position.
If Daya Devi-Doolin’s aim in penning this simple, self-help primer was to demystify yoga while making it appealing to the novice, then bulls-eye!
Excerpt – From the Introduction (page vii)
“This book is for you, the everyday person, the person who works, has a family (or not) and wants to stay stress-free, happy, fulfilled and healthy. This book will lead you, the yoga aspirant and participant, to that place.
“It has a lovable and knowledgeable approach, as if the readers were right in my yoga studio at the Doolin Healing Sanctuary… You too can do yoga regardless of where you are or how limited you are.
“The main idea is that everyone can benefit from yoga and meditation, and can start to use it wherever they are in their life.”
“Yoga, Meditation and Spiritual Growth for the African-American Community”
by Daya Devi-Doolin
116 pages, Illustrated
(To learn more about the Doolin Healing Sanctuary, visit: http://www.padaran.com/index.html.)
(To order a copy of Yoga, Meditation and Spiritual Growth for the African American Community, visit: