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Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga Paperback – December 3, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

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This is a wonderful book of instructive and encouraging daily meditations centered on the practice of yoga. Gates synthesizes his experiences as a yoga student and teacher, former army ranger, and recovering alcoholic, and explores the practice of yoga in a fresh, relevant manner perfect for American readers. Each day's reflection begins with a thought-provoking quote and then explores one intriguing aspect of yoga philosophy. Gates weaves stories of his own remarkable healing and growth with the yoga sutras of Patanjali, and provides illuminating and moving explanations of how yoga teachings apply to real-life situations. With the help of accomplished writer Kenison, Gates succeeds in taking readers beyond the mat, and showing them how yoga works as a tool for transformation. Candid and engaging, Gates will inspire both readers currently practicing yoga and those who are thinking about it. Jane Tuma
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“Utterly different. . . . This is a wonderful (and inexpensive) book for people who are unhappy in their lives and are looking for a healthy way to find peace and a sense of coming home, day by day.” --USA Today

“More than just cultivating more vibrant health, yoga is an evolutionary journey. This book reflects the deepening and expansive effect of a dedicated yoga practice.” --Sifhar Jonathan Foust, President, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

“Rolf Gates is an inspiring teacher who has written an inspiring book. A must for yoga teachers and students alike, Meditations from the Mat brings yoga theory into the 21st century and into our daily lives.” --Baron Baptiste, author of Journey Into Power

“In this free-spirited journey to the heart of yoga, Rolf guides us, through daily meditations, to finding the appropriate balance between standing firm and surrendering to flow -- the key to peace of mind.” --Beryl Bender Birch, author of Power Yoga and Beyond Power Yoga

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition (December 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385721544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385721547
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.9 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Gaither on December 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Mediations from the Mat is a one-a-day vitamin for the yogic soul. There are 365 essays here designed to nourish you on your journey off and on the mat.
If you practice yoga, you will appreciate this book. If you like thought-provoking quotes, you'll find them here. If you're on a path toward spiritual and emotional well being, this book is for you.
Grasping Patanjali's 8-limb path is a daunting task. Gates, along with gifted writer/editor Katrina Kenison, simplifies these lessons by presenting them through examples of his own life experiences and discoveries.
What I like best about this book is that it's simple and it's Real. Anybody can relate to these stories of suffering, joy, tragedy, and love, regardless of whether they practice yoga. So with each daily reading, we begin to realize that yoga is not some esoteric, mountain-top guru thing, but a means of meeting ourselves and learning our truth -- simply by showing up on our mats and in our lives.
Gates doesn't claim to have answers. He gives us what he has to give: the lessons he has learned through the erratic, grace-filled ride he's had so far. As the essays gradually build on one another, we begin to understand that amid our suffering, fear, and doubt, we can "experience a visceral sense of belonging in a universe held together by love."
If you take in one of these essays each day, you will nourish your soul. No doubt about it. I'm only on Day 31 and I feel the difference already!
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have a dozen yoga pose books gathering dust on my shelf. This book has been in my hands every day since I bought it. Having bought one for a yogi friend, I flipped through it, and had to get a copy for myself -- and also for my friend in recovery, a New Age friend, and several others who don't even do yoga, but who will love the tone and message of this inspiring collection. The authors bring yoga out of the yoga studio and into everyday life. In these 365 short personal essays, Rolf Gates, a young yoga teacher, talks about what it means to really live according the principles of yoga. It is really about living well, and thoughtfully, with compassion for yourself and others. Each day's reflection begins with a quote, and they are great. This must be the only book on the market that quotes from Leonard Skynard, the movie ALmost Famous, the Yoga Sutras, Henry Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. . .Gates finds his isnpiration everywhere, and that's just the point he makes: We are all living our yoga all the time. Even on days when I don't get near my yoga mat, I am reading this book. Two minutes grounds me for the day. This book is for everyone on any kind of a spiritual path, and for anyone who needs a helping hand staying on track -- which certainly must be all of us.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By The Imperfect Yogi on September 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I expected to love this book. I even flipped through it in person before making the purchase. It is a great idea - handy, bite-sized dharma talks collected together in one book. In particular, I had intended to use the ideas as part of the inspirational themes I share when teaching yoga classes.

However, once I took the book home and started reading, it didn't resonate with me. Just now I had to dig through the back of my closet, in the pile of books hidden behind the regular books, to find it.

As I was perusing the chapters again for this review I realized my main beef. There are no descriptive, impactful images/stories. The principles are basic yoga and yoga related ones. But there is not a lot that catches your heart. A few parts are nice, but mostly it feels dry.

In contrast, I thought of some of my old, favorite books that had even shorter entries, but left you inspired! As an example, even though it has been years since I read it, and I cannot think of the title or author at the moment, one of my old books gives the image of seeing a lone flower that had pushed up through a crack in the cement. The author related that vision to blossoming even in the most challenging situations. That image STILL stays with me, and I have used it repeatedly when speaking with clients, who also found it moving.

The authors of this book mention yamas, niyamas, and various important principles in yoga. But it is missing the emotional, descriptive side. I wish I could give it more stars. My exact rating is 3.5 but will bump it up to 4. I was pretty sad I bought it. Especially because I paid an inflated price to get it RIGHT THEN at the yoga studio (yoga principle of "aparigraha," AKA "don't be so grasping"), rather than hold out a few days and order it on Amazon.
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Format: Paperback
I am a fairly casual yoga practitioner; I've just begun to try to incorporate asana (posture) practice on an almost daily basis. This book goes beyond the practice of yoga postures and takes you deep into the philosophy behind yoga. It contains a series of essays and reflections, one for each day of the year; each entry begins with a quote derived from yoga texts, popular culture, or yoga students and teachers. The book is broken down into eight sections which correspond to the eight branches of yoga--the postures, or asanas, are just one of these branches, and the essays focus on incorporating yoga into your daily life both on AND off the mat. Although I found most of the essays to be interesting and enjoyed learning more about yogic traditions, I felt that the book had limited applicability to my own practice, which is more limited to asana. However, those who are interested in integrating yoga/yogic philosophy more pervasively into their lives are likely to enjoy this book.
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