Yoga means many things to many people. Some understand yoga as an ancient spiritual discipline. Others practice asanas for exercise and health benefits. In Carried by a Promise, yoga is a path of liberation. Follow one woman’s journey from a life of dissatisfaction to a life of joy and meaning – a life transformed through yoga.
Carried by a Promise is the new memoir by Swami Radhananda, the spiritual director of Yasodhara Ashram. We meet her as Mary-Ann in 1977, the mother of two young children, an innovative educator and wife of an intellectual whose potential is imploding. With her marriage in trouble, she struggles with depression and questions the purpose in her life.
A friend takes her to Yasodhara Ashram, where she attends a ‘Women in Spiritual Life’ conference. There she meets her teacher, Swami Radha, who challenges the women in the group to climb the mountain of spiritual aspiration. Her words strike a chord for Mary-Ann who sees in Swami Radha a role model of a woman who knows what her life is about. Yoga provides a lifeline out of her depression and Mary-Ann starts to find her own path of Light.
Her efforts to embody her values within her family, her work and her yoga practice, create an honest picture of what it means to live a spiritual life. Her deepening commitment to self-knowledge leads her first to furthering her education, then to a professional career and finally to becoming a resident of the Yasodhara Ashram in a close relationship to Swami Radha, who she acknowledges as her spiritual mother.
Her challenges within the community, her steadfast commitment to her guru, her loving connection to Divine Mother, all weave a tapestry of integrity, determination and devotion. Mary-Ann transforms into Swami Radhananda. She begins a new phase of life, extending beyond personal limitations to a place of keen leadership that continually challenges and enriches her life.
Swami Radhananda is an inspiration to all those willing to climb the steep path to self-mastery. Her story is a very human example of how a heart-felt promise to the Divine can carry us on the spiritual path.