Books on yoga and natural healing:
self-empowering, therapeutic, spiritually fulfilling
Debasri RakshitIn books written by experts on yoga and natural healing, readers find authenticity and reliability, says Debasri Rakshit, commissioning editor, HarperCollins Publishers India. The question is often asked: Do books in the self-help genre work? The answer is a resounding yes. As the information age takes over and people are bombarded with news, views and opinions day in and day out, along with a tremendous pressure to become the best versions of themselves – whether in beauty, brains or child care – they turn to books as a way to cope with the information overload. In books written by experts they find what they have been missing on the internet: the ability to trust the words of a trained professional who bring with them an authenticity and reliability that warring voices on social media are unable to provide.
Books on yoga and natural healing serve this purpose of a useful self-help tool, but they are much more.
Yoga in Sanskrit literally means ‘to unite’; this discipline that includes breath control, the adoption of certain postures for healing and relaxation, meditation and other practices had its genesis in the idea of the union of the human with the divine. This spiritual core at the centre of yoga has far-reaching implications today in a fast-urbanising, globalised world where more and more people educated in modern disciplines are moving away from organised religion to more personalised forms of faith.
For many, yoga is about achieving flat abs and toned thighs. But it is also about ensuring better health and immunity, reduced stress levels, elevated moods, lowered blood sugar and other benefits. One may ask if a book on yoga can substitute for training from a skilled teacher. No, it can’t. No book can replace the vitality and energy of practical learning. But books by accomplished masters in the field do serve as an additional resource for education and selfempowerment, explaining the philosophy behind the practice. More importantly, they serve as gateways to reach the sacred spiritual core at the centre of human existence which offers solace to the mind torn apart by the simultaneous pulls of desire and anxiety inflicted on it by the pressures of everyday life.
Books on natural healing serve a similar purpose. As people realise the limitations of main stream medicine and as the focus shifts to better lifestyle management to combat ailments like diabetes, heart disease or even cancer, they seek help in books on age-old, timetested therapeutic practices like Ayurveda.
Several writers have successfully published books in the genre: from the classic Core of the Yoga Sutras by BKS Iyengar to the contemporary The Wellness Sense: A Practical Guide to Your Physical and Emotional Health Based on Ayurvedic and Yogic Wisdom by Om Swami or The One Plan: A Week-by-Week Guide to Restoring Your Natural Health and Happiness by Yogi Cameron. A common thread in all these books is the ability of the thinker-writer to combine ancient practice with modern science to make the subject relevant for a contemporary audience.
As publishers we have seen a surge of interest in books on yoga and Ayurveda in recent years. And my personal intuition is that this genre will remain strong and increase its footprint in the market in coming decade.