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For modern spiritual seekers and yoga students alike, here is an irreverent yet profound guide to the most sophisticated teachings of the yoga wisdom tradition-now brought to contemporary life by a celebrated author, psychotherapist, and leading American yoga instructor.
While many Westerners still think of yoga as an invigorating series of postures and breathing exercises, these physical practices are only part of a vast and ancient spiritual science. For more than three millennia, yoga sages systematically explored the essential questions of our human existence: What are the root causes of suffering, and how can we achieve freedom and happiness? What would it be like to function at the maximum potential of our minds, bodies, and spirits? What is an optimal human life?
Nowhere have their discoveries been more brilliantly distilled than in a short-but famously difficult-treatise called the Yogasutra. This revered text lays out the entire path of inner development in remarkable detail-ranging from practices that build character and mental power to the highest reaches of spiritual realization.
Now Stephen Cope unlocks the teachings of the Yogasutra by showing them at work in the lives of a group of friends and fellow yoga students who are confronting the full modern catastrophe of careers, relationships, and dysfunctional family dynamics. Interweaving their daily dilemmas with insights from modern psychology, neuroscience, religion, and philosophy, he shows the astonishing relevance and practicality of this timeless psychology of awakening.
Leavened with wit and passion, The Wisdom of Yoga is a superb companion and guide for anyone seeking enhanced creativity, betterrelationships, and a more ethical and graceful way of living in the world.
As one of the largest and most successful yoga-based retreat and education centers in the world, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Massachusetts, attracts many of the leading teachers of yoga and Buddhist meditation to its annual retreat, East meets East: Yoga & Buddhism. In "Will Yoga & Meditation Really Change My Life?" Stephen Cope brings to the printed page the fascinating dialogue that he has fostered in these retreats.
Cope asks participating teachers to share their Tales from the Path, stories of how the long-term practice of these ancient traditions has changed their lives. The result is an inspirational volume featuring 26 distinct voices telling their stories, how they became interested in these traditions, the teachers who inspired them, and how the practice of yoga and meditation has shaped their lives and perspectives.
The contributors, many of whom are authors of well-known books on these topics, speak of their experiences as real people living in our complex world, complete with spouses, children, aging parents, financial demands, illnesses, injuries, and all of the ordinary aggravations of everyday life. Many of these teachers have studied and explored the practice of yoga or meditation over the course of 30 years and have been pivotal in creating retreat centers, styles of yoga, and teaching techniques that have contributed to the widespread popularity of these practices in mainstream culture.
The stories of these teachers ask the questions, What is possible for me, in my life, right now? How can my practice of yoga and meditation help me lead a more satisfying life? These are questions on which every spiritual seeker and practitioner of yoga and meditation inevitably must reflect.
More than 4,000 years ago, the early masters of yoga made an astonishing discovery: before we can find true happiness, we must first learn how to be open to the energy of our emotions. On Yoga for Emotional Flow, Stephen Cope, psychotherapist and Senior Scholar-in-Residence at Kripalu, the largest yoga center in America, presents a life-changing strategy for "riding the wave" in even the most challenging emotional situation. Cope details the psychology behind the difficult circumstances we create for ourselves through improper handling of our feelings, and shares the prescription for effectively relating to anger, fear, grief, joy, and others from a yogic point of view. Through breathing and visualization techniques used successfully by thousands of his students, Cope offers listeners practical tips for day-to-day emotional balance; lessons in awakening the "witness consciousness"--a nonjudgmental vantage point for welcoming emotions; steps for clearing the field at the end of each day, and more.For the yogi, there are no "bad" feelings--only unskillful responses to our ever-changing emotional states. Yoga for Emotional Flow is an essential program for working with these powerful forces, and a template for a new way of being.
(Two compact discs)
Millions of Americans know yoga as a superb form of exercise and as a potent source of calm in our stress-filled lives. Far fewer are aware of the full promise of yoga as a 4,000-year-old practical path of liberation--a path that fits the needs of modern Western seekers with startling precision. Now Stephen Cope, a Western-trained psychotherapist who has lived and taught for more than ten years at the largest yoga center in America, offers this marvelously lively and irreverent "pilgrim's progress" for today's world. He demystifies the philosophy, psychology, and practice of yoga, and shows how it applies to our most human dilemmas: from loss, disappointment, and addiction, to the eternal conflicts around sex and relationship. And he shows us that in yoga, "liberation" does not require us to leave our everyday lives for some transcendent spiritual plane--life itself is the path. Above all, Cope shows how yoga can heal the suffering of self-estrangement that pervades our society, leading us to a new sense of purpose and to a deeper, more satisfying life in the world.