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Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism Paperback – May 4, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“This is an amazing book that will accelerate your journey to God-consciousness.”
—Deepak Chopra, author of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription and Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul

Heart Yoga is a timely book. It can help us stay centered in joyful peace as we are increasingly called to act and serve in the world… the authors have given us a contemporary lens through which to view and experience what yoga has always been: a transformational practice… Heart Yoga guides us to be illumined yet rooted.”
Yoga Journal

“Longtime yoga teacher Karuna Erickson and scholar Andrew Harvey offer a heart-centered approach that melds hatha yoga with visualizations, poetry, and other practices from the world’s mystical traditions... Those looking to infuse their practice with a deeper sense of devotion will find Heart Yoga filled with inspiration and beauty.”
Yoga+Joyful Living Magazine

“What I appreciated most about the directions for the poses and breathing was the imaginative correlation to connecting with our inner spirit and the energies of the earth, sky, and vast world around us. Each pose is explained, the intent, the goal clarified, the purpose personified. This book reads as much like prose and poem as it does invitation and instruction. It’s most definitely a book one must experience to best appreciate it.”
—Laura Friedkin, San Francisco Book Review

Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism exquisitely merges the poetry of the Divine with the power of Yoga with inspired precision. Authors Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson have accomplished the rigorous blending of heaven and earth, guaranteed to inspire new and well-seasoned students of yoga. This book is a magnificent accomplishment.”
—Caroline Myss, author of Entering the Castle and Anatomy of the Spirit

"This profound, beautiful and pioneering book will ground the yoga community in a deeper mystical understanding, taking the worldwide yoga movement to a new level of inner empowerment and outer effectiveness. Whether you're a beginning student or a lifelong practitioner, Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson will deepen your practice with this exalted and extremely practical book."
—Marianne Williamson, author of The Age of Miracles and The Healing of America

“Yes! Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson have written an inspirational and passionate guide recognizing modern-day yogis as mystics on the mat. They invite us to experience our mats as temples, our movements as embodied prayer, the world a divine altar, and our actions as the tools for change. Heart Yoga addresses how the awakening of the cosmic soul within the physical form inspires us to align our individual hearts with the universal call for action and service; the natural progression of yoga beyond the body. This is a magnificent and timely book affirming that the sacred practice of yoga is a journey of personal illumination, universal recognition, mystical unification and the inevitable understanding that it is love and action that can transform this planet from one of fear and separation into one united by love, truth and God.”
—Seane Corn, yoga teacher, Global Yoga Ambassador for Youth AIDS, and co-visionary for the “Off the Mat, Into the World” initiative

Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism is a potent offering with the depth of living wisdom, kindled knowledge and mystical insight that will ignite the inherent fire of yoga lovers everywhere. The pages are infused with the direct passionate experience and wisdom from two longtime love pilgrims and scholars who are calling for and igniting the inner fire of the heart of yoga with piercing insight and a living joy. I have made Andrew Harvey's books a must-read in all our teacher trainings and this is another sacred classic.”
—Shiva Rea, yogini, founder and leading teacher of Prana Flow Yoga and Yoga Trance Dance™

“Karuna Erickson is delighting us with her authentic and intense inquiry into spirit. Her yoga is inspiring.”
—Rodney Yee, yoga teacher and author of Moving Toward Balance: 8 Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee

“Reading Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism was a delicious revelation. Harvey and Erickson have blended the powerful practicality of yoga poses with the transcendent power of heart-opening spirituality in ways that are both inspiring and practicable for everyday life. I recommend it heartily to all students of yoga and self-transformation, as well as to those who simply want to live more deeply, more richly and more happily.”
—Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT, yoga teacher since 1971 and author of A Year of Living Your Yoga

“As a longtime student and practitioner of yoga, I am filled with respect for Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism. I particularly love this crystal-clear primer for practicing yoga as a means of connecting the body, mind and spirit to all living beings. The frequent references to beautiful writings from all cultures and times make this book a rich and rewarding experience. I am inspired to take my own practice deeper, and to realize through it my own Spiritual Activism, of which Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson have written so eloquently.”
—Ali McGraw, actor and yoga practitioner

“This book is a quiet but passionate revelation. It takes the yoga community to a new level of process and empowerment. It invites all spiritual seekers to an adventure of embodiment. While being extremely ambitious and elevated, the book is also very lyrical, clear and accessible. I believe that yoga is ready for the next wave and this book is it.”
—Debbie Ford, author of The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse: A Breakthrough Program for Connecting with Your Soul's Deepest Purpose, Why Good People Do Bad Things: How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy

“Here is a wonderful gift to the world of today, a helpful Yoga container to develop fire in the heart, and beautiful meditations to inspire the heart's passion for the Great Work, both inner and the outer.”
—Paul H. Ray, coauthor of The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World

"In Heart Yoga, Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson deliver an eloquent 'guidebook' to understanding and navigating the current evolution of yoga. This book strikes a fine balance between the transcendent powers of yoga, while providing understandable, practical, and effective techniques. Andrew and Karuna draw from vast experience, insight, and knowledge to provide a renewed sense of reverence to practitioners wishing to make their practice more sacred and inspired. Heart Yoga is perfectly timed to provide a tool to take one's practice and mystical inquiry to a new level of compassion, truth, and action in the world."
—Ally Bogard, director of yoga teacher training at Gaiatri Yoga international yoga network www.gaiatri.com

“In Heart Yoga, Andrew and Karuna use practical teachings and richly layered poems to remind us that through yoga it is possible for anyone to become ‘embodied channels of illumined love, grace, peace… and instruments of divine creativity and service in the world.’”
Spiritual Media Blog

“In combining [the authors’] wisdom and experience – they have made magic!… This is a beautifully written and photographed workbook for placing the practice of Heart Yoga into the life of the reader. It also acts as a great reference book for yoga in general. Any individual, from any background, with or without experience practicing yoga would be able to work with the material presented here in a safe, knowledgeable manner.”
Bonnie Cehovet

Heart Yoga marries, at the most passionate depth, the ancient traditions of yoga with the wisdom of the mystical traditions concerning the sacred heart and the divine light. [The authors’] intention is to inspire the yoga community to become the crucible for the divinization of the body and the birth of the divine human… With detailed descriptions and photographs of fifty yoga poses and their alchemical effects on the body and consciousness, Heart Yoga presents yoga as a simple meditative practice that enables the practitioner to dwell in the heart and experience the bliss of union with the sacred power underlying all of life.”
—Branches of Light

“This book is a tender and compassionate invitation to yoga practitioners to take their practice to the next level of direct divine self-empowerment.”
—AZ Net News

“Thoughtful and enticing reading that can be applied easily in one’s life, Heart Yoga is a must.”
Midwest Book Review

“[Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson] have created a devotional masterwork that brings together yoga practice and mystical meditation. … Heart Yoga opens us to divine energy and sends us into the world with an awakened love for all beings.”
Spirituality & Practice

“[Heart Yoga] offers a unique transformative fusion of sacred poetry and teachings from the world’s saints and mystics, meditations from mystical traditions, and yoga postures and sequences suitable for all levels to enable the reader to awaken and experience the ‘Five Great Joys.’”
YOGA Chicago

About the Author

Andrew Harvey has studied with masters such as Thuksey Rinpoche and Father Bede Griffiths for more than thirty years. The author or editor of more than two dozen books, he lives in Chicago. Karuna Erickson directs the Heart Yoga Center. She lives in Nelson, British Columbia.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556438974
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556438974
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I do not practice yoga ... yet, anyway! I did find this book to be a treasure trove of information, written on a level that a non-practitioner could understand and weave into their life. Andrew Harvey is an internationally acclaimed poet, novelist, translator and spiritual teacher. Karuna Erickson has, since 1970, been a devoted yoga practitioner/teacher and psychotherapist. In bringing their knowledge together, they have made magic!

The practice of Heart Yoga blends spirituality with the practice of yoga. It is the marriage of the yoga of the illumined body with the mysticism of the awakened heart. The path is shown through working with the Five Joys: The Joy of Transcendence, The Joy Of Creation, The Joy For All Things, The Joy Of Tantra, and the Joy Of Service. Each section includes a series of yoga poses, with accompanying photographs.

At the end of the book both Harvey and Erickson share their path through life - how they got to this point in thier work, what moves them, what they are passionate about, and where their work is headed.

The emphasis in this book is on working gently with your body to open it up - physically and spiritually. Any individual, regardless of their background in yoga (or lack of, as in my case!)will be able to work with this material. An added bonus - inclusion of spiritual writing from Rumi, Lalan, Francis of Assisi, Buddha, Hafiz and more!
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[5/9/2010] I have just started to read and practice this approach to Yoga and have found it very inspiring. I will update this review as I continue my practice of Heart Yoga.

[5/16/2010] Continuation of preliminary review: ... the more I read and practice the material in this work, the more impressed I become regarding this significant work by Harvey & Erickson.

In short, the top ten reasons why you should read this book:

10. The authors are careful to provide suggestions for the proper preparation for practice.
9. The purpose and theory of the sequence of poses is given before practice begins.
8. The authors are careful to provide suggestions for the proper ending of practice with transition back to "everyday life" (as informed or changed by the practice).
7. The sequences of the postures used provides several ways to achieve a relaxed, open, connected, receptive internal state.
6. The text and practices offer an appropriate level of challenge for the reader/practitioner. I felt neither talked down to, preached to, or that my time was being wasted by fluff. The authors treat the reader as a fellow explorer in practice.
5. The authors clearly indicate a description of the feelings associated with each posture in the sequence.
4. The authors offer several descriptions, both in metaphor and by sensations acquired, for the internal states entered into each posture.
3. The book approaches activism for social justice issues as a natural evolution of one's practice. No obligation, no guilt, no panic, no depression, no self at all, just nature and tenderness.
2. Practicing Heart Yoga offers a path to understanding the connection to, and the conduit between Heaven and Earth.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This book has helped me delve deeper into my yoga practice. It interweaves beautiful mystical poetry with asana sequences to inspire readers to expand their yoga practice to embody joy and compassion. The main body of the book provides different asana series that are a meditation on five different aspects of joy: transcendence, creation, love for all beings, tantra, and service.

As a novice yoga teacher, Heart Yoga has inspired me to incorporate these sequences into both my practice and into my teaching. I especially enjoy seeing how individuals respond to and open up through the partner yoga series detailed in the chapter on the Joy of Tantra. The photos of asanas incorporated throughout the book also provide an essential guide to the reader.

This book will encourage any yoga practitioner, from novice to sage, to delve deeper into their practice and to further open their heart with joy and compassion.
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I like this book, but it mostly yoga routines, and most of the routines have a lot of the same asanas (postures) so you are just getting a lot of repetition in the book. But the idea and concept of the book is beautiful and I truly appreciate how it is getting back to the true roots of yoga. If you are a yoga teacher who teaches yoga that is ONLY for fitness, then you should buy this book, read it, and begin implementing it into your classes. As yoga teachers we need to be teaching yoga as it is intended, and not dumbing it down like we have been doing in the west. Enjoy the love! Namaste.
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Karunas and Andrews knowledge and lifes studies have blended into a transformational and deeper approach to the practise and essence of yoga teachings.Ancient traditional yoga postures with mystical imagery and visualizations that work directly with the transcendental light.
Ive been using the book for the last two weeks and its bringing my yoga practise to a much deeper level of mystical understanding and connection to my spirit. All the tools and techniques you need are in the book and easy to follow .
The book has inspired me and made me realize its essential in this time on the planet to seriously practise,awaken the body and embody this divine love energy.
Excellent Book!
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