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The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker's Guide to Extraordinary Living Paperback – May 29, 2007


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The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker's Guide to Extraordinary Living + The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling + Yoga and the Quest for the True Self
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (May 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553380540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553380545
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Psychotherapist and longtime resident teacher at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Mass., Cope applies the compassionate insights made in his book, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, to this guide to the Yogasutra. Attributed to Patanjali, a second-century sage, the Yogasutra barely mentions the physical postures now identified as yoga. But the 196 trenchant entries, scholars say, contain the body of wisdom gleaned by those who sought, through direct experience, the inner workings of body, mind and spirit. This wisdom tradition (raja yoga), Cope says, is as effective today in diagnosing and healing "ordinary unhappiness" as it was centuries ago. Drawing parallels between ancient yogis and Buddhists and Western theologians, philosophers and poets, Cope argues that the yogis uncovered the roots of fear, illusion and self-deception. He focuses on the eight limbs of yoga (ethical behaviors, disciplines, postures, breathing practices, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and enlightenment) to demonstrate their effects in the lives of modern practitioners. Readers will readily identify with at least one of the challenges discussed —be they failed relationships, dysfunctional families, unrealized ambitions and compulsive behaviors. Beginners will find it helpful to read the Yogasutra, provided in an appendix, before diving into the personal stories and Cope's sympathetic commentaries. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Stephen Cope is a psychotherapist, senior Kripalu yoga teacher, and author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. He is currently Senior Scholar in Residence at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Massachusetts.


From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Stephen Cope is a psychotherapist, senior Kripalu yoga teacher, and author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. He is currently Senior Scholar in Residence at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

This book would be suitable for experienced and new new yogis.
J. Bredin
This book is Stephen Cope's commentary and explanation of Patanjali's yoga sutras.
Dr. V
The book is easy to read and understand and is very informative and insightful.
A Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Erik C. Pihl on January 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his book, "The Wisdom of Yoga," Stephen Cope has created a small masterpiece. He has not tried to answer questions about man's place in the universe or or the existence of an external world. He has, however, by means of telling vignettes from the lives of people he knows well and insightful comments about what must be one of the most gnomic series of insights into the practice of Yoga, given the average reader a sence of what it is to become involved in the practice of Yoga and some of its life-changing potential. In addition to this, he has included illustrations from other belief systems, specifically Buddhist thought and Christianity that provide a wider context for his practice. The Yoga practioner, as well as the average person who would like to learn a little about Yoga, could both benefit from the wonderful book.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Louden on July 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of this book. In novel like prose, Stephen beautifully illustrates how the yoga sutras apply to our very modern, complicated lives. If you want to go deeper into the yoga wisdom tradition but have been put off by more esoteric texts, this is the book for you.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jo Ann Levitt on July 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The absolute best in its field, Wisdom of Yoga is no 'Idiot's Guide to Yoga'; you actually need gray matter in order to read it. However it's well worth it. I don't know of a more enriching, comprehensive (and above all) enjoyable read that will take you to the heart of the YogaSutras and the real purpose for taking up yoga.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hartman on August 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Cope has laid a map of the internal journey of yoga for beginners and experienced yogis all in the same brushstroke. He has brought together ancient texts, modern stories, and wise direction with practicle, simple, humorous dialogue. You will keep turning the pages as you effortlessly learn about the depth of yoga through his real charachters of today. Loved It! Great for anyone who wants to know more about meditation, it's benefits, and how to do it easily!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. Hohnbaum on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is about the transformations that can occur thru the practice of yoga. It is an easy read, but has true depth and soul that true practitioners can relate to. I enjoyed this book even more than Stephen Cope's previous book which is also a good read. I recommend this book to anyone who is dedicated and wishes to achieve a deeper understanding of how to use their body and mind to evolve spiritually.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David W. Griffiths on July 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am a clinical psychologist, and, although I have little indepth understanding of yoga philosophy, I found in this book a compelling (and, I believe, accurate) description of the possibilities of juman maturation and development. Stephen Cope's description of the origins and fate of the ego ideal and ideal ego are especially helpful. In this new book, Mr. Cope makes many interesting connections between the psychoogy of th4e contemplative traditions (both yoga and Buddhism) and Western psychological thinking. He makes a good case for the application of these insights to daily life. In addition to the fascinating content, the book is well written; it is a rare delight to find well-crafted prose in a book such as this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Barcewicz on October 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a unique and oustanding book which, for starters, points out that what most Americans think of as "Yoga", i.e. asana or postures, is the tip of an iceberg which began hundreds of years before, but which has had little clear explanation for Western readers. Stephen Cope is obviously a learned scholar, and able to explain rather impenetrable Eastern philosophy in clear, concise, understandable writing, and to place it in the contexts of both centuries of philosophical thought (both Eastern and Western) and of modern psychology, fields in which Mr. Cope is clearly a master. By juxtaposing his crystal clear discussions of yogic philosophy with easy-reading examples of 5 contemporary "seekers", he has made the book extremely accessable to beginner and veteran yogis alike. With his unique background as a psychotherapist and "scholar in residence" at Kripalu, I suspect there are few if any others who could do this.

If you have practiced yoga postures and found something special, you have only dipped your toe into an ocean. This book will open the door to a new world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Welker on July 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. Cope's characters face the kinds of life challenges we all face and it's easy to see ourselves in their stories -- coming into relationship with our parents, considering what our life dreams really are, discovering the real demands of love, or facing the demons of addiction.

Cope has interwoven these stories with Patanjali's yoga sutras and penetrating analysis of the sutras' meaning in relation to real life. He bring us into direct relationship with Yoga, not tell us about his yoga, which so many of today's yoga books do.

As a psychotherapist and yogi, Stephen Cope brings a unique and valuable perspective to the yoga conversation here in the West.
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