Saturday, October 26, 2013

...The Quest...

My office wife loaned me this book. I think she wants me to keep doing this yoga thing since she's definitely benefited as I will benefit once she picks up her practice again.

Stephen Cope is a psychotherapist who took a sabbatical but ended up staying at Kripalu where he remains as director for the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living.

I'm kind of impressed that I, pretty much, finished this book in 20 minute stints before I left the house for work.

My eyes did glaze over and times but, overall, I enjoyed reading Yoga and the Quest...

I like Cope's angle/take as a psychotherapist. He talks about one of his students, Garth, who was raised primarily by nannies, felt like a hated child and sat in a corner in the very back of the room during yoga class:
The child who enters this kind of environment takes in a very difficult message with his mother's milk: I have no right to exist. I should not be taking up space in the world. He lives with a profound, but often unconscious, sense that he does not belong in the world. (200)
There were many pages that I wanted to bend back but since it's not my book, I didn't. Here are some passages that caught my attention:
Yogic lore is full of cautionary tales about true gurus and false gurus, and the gem of wisdom in most of these tales is just this: The true guru is not the one sitting on the golden throne. (165)
Check out the documentary Kumare to witness the golden throne syndrome in action.

Here's something that I want to remember:
There are certain ways of practicing on the mat that ensure that this will be so. Interestingly, Patanjali nailed the most important of these almost two thousand years ago: "The posture is steady and comfortable." When the body moves beyond the point of comfortable tolerance of sensation, we lose our equanimity -- we lose the balance of the mind. When this happens, deeper levels of awareness are no longer possible. The mind becomes restless and dissociated. We move away from experience rather than toward it. (231)
And more than anything in the book, this passage spoke to me:

...And, finally, in order to grow up we need the adversary. We need the worthy opponent. We need to feel the effects of our own power in the world, and to experience our own mastery. To acknowledge, experience, and bear reality -- and, finally, to bring it into perspective. (288)

I have two more books about yoga. Debating about whether to read one of them or save them for a special occasion -- like vacation.

Anyone want to loan me a book?


  1. Oooo love Stephen Cope. Read his The Great Work of Your Life. Changed my life.

  2. Angela,

    Requested "The Great Work..." from the library. In light of what you said, looking forward to reading it...

  3. Off. That first excerpt about Garth. I can so identify with that. Much of my life has been a quest to be less visible, to not be noticed.

    Sorry, I don't have any yoga books to loan you.

  4. "...To not be noticed" -- I've had a share of that too and I'm pretty sure that's why Garth's story moved me.

    It was good to read that after two years of being involved with yoga and the Kripalu community that Garth felt safer and felt a sense of belonging...