Daily Archives: June 10, 2010

Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope

After several years of regular yoga classes I thought it was about time to find out a little more about the philosophy behind yoga, and sadly I picked Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, which I found to be boring and surprisingly un-informative. Written by a psychotherapist who went to a short yoga retreat and stayed for ten years, the book talks about the history of the Kripalu center (complete with the sex scandals that seem to be de-rigueur in spiritual organizations with tight hierarchies); his personal vicissitudes (he sobs a lot, as do many others around him); extreme yogis who forget to eat and wander around naked (what an appealing goal); and miraculously simplistic yoga cures (such as the woman abandoned as a child who now likes child pose — please!)

To be fair, there are a few myths about the yoga tradition, unfortunately pretty basic and reminiscent of the more entertaining Greek myths but without all the fun Greek details, but it’s not until  the appendix that we discover  metaphysical information about the yoga tradition, but so compressed and dry as to discourage the most avid reader.

To dispel any ambiguity:  I did not like this book very much. At all.

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Filed under Non fiction