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The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras Paperback – March 20, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This sweetly voiced explication of the Yoga Sutras is disarming in its simplicity . . . I read it smiling.” —Sylvia Boorstein, author of Pay Attention, for Goodness’ Sake: The Buddhist Path of Kindness

“A dynamic new interpretation . . . that will make this wonderful ancient teaching accessible to modern readers and useful in their daily life.”
—David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri), author of Yoga and Ayurveda

“Truly life changing. A book to be read again and again.”
—Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., P.T., author of A Year of Living Your Yoga

About the Author

Nischala Joy Dev is a renowned Yoga expert who has been teaching internationally for more than thirty years. She is the author of The Healing Path of Yoga, which is regarded as the definitive guide to the subtle use of body and mind in healing and stress management. Visit her website at www.abundantwellbeing.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307339696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307339690
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Although most of us view yoga as simply a physical discipline, there is a far more spiritual dimension to it. The entire philosophy of yoga has been contained in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Sutra is Sanskrit for "thread" - the sutras are a collection of terse aphorisms threaded together, laying out the whole of yoga.

Translations of these sutras have been done by males over the years and although there are some wonderful books on the subject (Iyengar's "Light On the Yoga Sutras" for one), I have found these books to be rather dry. Well known yoga instructor, Nischala Joy Devi has written an entirely new and feminine perspective on these ancient proverbs. Devi writes in an almost poetic manner and substitutes words that are 'negative' with a more heart centered counterpart. For example, for Aparigraha which is often translated as non-greed, Devi uses "awareness of abundance". This is a very nurturing viewpoint that makes the sutras "friendlier" and more easier to relate to. Meditations and practices are sprinkled throughout to help intergrate the vibe of the sutras into your heart.

She covers books one and two of the sutras and did a brief scan of book three. I am somewhat hopeful that she is intending on covering books three and four (she didn't mention book four at all) in a further volume, but until then, this is enough food for thought for now.
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This set of CD's lives in my car and accompanies me down the road -- both the physical road and the road of my life. As an avid student of Yoga, I am enamored not only with asana (poses) practice, but with the metaphysics and philosophical underpinning of this ancient and sometimes complex system of whole health. Nischala Devi guides me from a woman's perspective, simply and clearly through the maze of the Yoga Sutras with her own unique flavor and world view. And while this is not an accurate "translation" of these ancient texts, her interpretation and commentary is for today, for women, and uncomplicates and simplifies the teachings so I can cease struggling and just rest in the depth of how to live my life in the 21st century where I am and as I am.
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This book is truly a gem. It discusses the Sutras from a heartfelt perspective lacking in most other translations. It will compliment any other reading of the Sutras you have done, and will add a whole other dimension. A must-have for any complete yoga library.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best interpretation of Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras I've ever read. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it. I just finished it and will be reading it many, many more times. Instead of making a list of do's and don'ts that sound unattainable this book rephrases the sutras so that they're truly livable. It doesn't matter that it isn't a word for word translation and it doesn't matter that not all of the sutras are included. The author states her reasons for not including all of them and explains that she's not translating as a scholar. This is the first time I've read the Yoga Sutras and have been warmed by them.
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Format: Paperback
Having been involved in yoga for 20 years I understand the sometimes frustration that all perspectives of the traditional writings are from a male perspective. Devi holds the sacredness of the text while bringing even more heart and compassion to the readings. Thanks! Shannon
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Format: Paperback
Nischala has written the book that was on my mind to write. It is always good to have at least 6 versions of the Sutra's when studying them as the commentaries can differ substantially. Nischala reminds us that we need to see the Divine in all things, including ourselves. In the busy life of the modern working mother especially, we can forget this as life becomes more complicated. I especially liked her interpretation and clarification of sutra 2:1 that describes Kriya Yoga. She links self-discipline,self-study and attunement to indwelling reality with the sacred Gayatri mantra helping us to attune to kriya practices.Meditation, study and reflection on that alone can deepen one's personal practice. Camella Nair - author of "Aqua Kriya Yoga"and "AumHatha Sadhana" and "Gayatri" CD's
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Format: Paperback
I applaud insights into the Yoga Sutras, but what I don't appreciate are "translations" that really are not. Devi even declares in the book that she can't read Sanskrit(!). So why is this a translation? It's an interpretation, not a translation. To that effect, this is a translation that does not adhere to the language at all.

Devi also omits roughly half the sutras. So basically we have here an inaccurate, incomplete version of the yoga sutras. That's not a translation.

Her justification for the book is the claim that her female students didn't connect with the sutras as they have been translated by others (we'll just assume most of those translations have been made my men, since most published translations are). So she "translated" the Sutras to make it a "feel-good" book for women. Does this strike anyone as insulting? It's a sad irony that a feminine perspective of the sutras sacrifices exactness for good feeling, taking away the power from the reader.

It's not that the book is bad - the core of the sutras are present. What's not present is Patanjali's words as he wrote it.
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