Sunday, July 12, 2009

How We Live Our Yoga

While perusing the stacks not so aimlessly in my store the other day, I came across a book I had never seen before, How We Live Our Yoga: teachers and practitioners on how yoga enriches, surprises, and heals us. I began reading it and could not put it down, I flipped through the final pages after just a few shifts at work. It's an incredible collection of unique essays and personal stories shedding important light on the yoga tradition. Unlike most yoga books on the shelves, this book is not filled with asana descriptions and mechanics, it's not another how-to-do-yoga book - but more of a how-to-live-yoga book. The authors provide candid insight on many pressing dilemmas facing modern yoga teachers and practitioners. Pulling from very real life experiences, their stories explore the paradoxes encountered when practicing the ancient art and science of yoga in contemporary America.

In the essay Coming Apart in Pune, Elizabeth Kadetsky shares her Self-destructive and enlightening experience studying yoga in Pune, India with the great master B.K.S. Iyengar. One of the most difficult and controversial dilemmas facing American yogis... sex. In The Meaning of Brahmacharya, Adrian M.S. Piper dives deep into this very personal account, questioning whether it is appropriate and/or necessary for a modern yogi to practice celibacy. And in one of my favorite essays, The Guru Question, Jeff Martens, provides thought provoking insight into the age old question, does one need a personal guru to progress on the spiritual path?

Each of the essays are unique, filled with personality and depth. They are humorous, sad, intriguing, brilliant, and ultimately, very inspiring. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in experiencing yoga beyond the asanas. Through their own courageous explorations, the authors helped me to examine my own personal yoga practice, and to come to know my self a little better. Blessings and happy reading!

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