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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about Yoga and Daily life
I just finished reading this book and I enjoyed every minute of it. I have carried it with me and read it over the past two or three months in little bits and pieces and I have found the information to be laser like in hitting it's mark. If I were only allowed one word in describing this book I would say "profound". If allowed more than one :) -- truly...
Published on July 18 2002 by Timothy John Stevens

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A misdirection
The practice of yoga IS the quest for the true self. It is a way of finding out who we are. It is a profound and private journey away from the distractions of our social, political and economic world toward a union with Brahman. It is a Spartan path that countenances no humbug and admits of no compromise. It is eons removed from the psychoanalytical claptrap of modern...
Published on Sept. 12 2002 by Jay Alan Akin


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about Yoga and Daily life, July 18 2002
By 
Timothy John Stevens (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
I just finished reading this book and I enjoyed every minute of it. I have carried it with me and read it over the past two or three months in little bits and pieces and I have found the information to be laser like in hitting it's mark. If I were only allowed one word in describing this book I would say "profound". If allowed more than one :) -- truly profound, insightful, compassionate, relevant, complete, comprehensive and useful to me - the budding yogi. I have been doing yoga for a few years and little by little more questions than less have been piling up in my "to investigate" list. This book has pretty much cleared that list --- for now. If you choose to read this book, when you are done, you will want to thank the Author for having sent it into the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mind-bending memoir., July 28 2001
By 
G. Merritt - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
"We are not who we think we are," Stephen Cope writes in the introductory pages of his book, "our true self remains deeply hidden, incognito, submerged beneath a web of mistaken identities" (p. xix). I have never tried yoga, but read as an insider's memoir of spiritual growth in a yoga community, I nonetheless found Cope's book fascinating. While many of us define "the real world" through college degrees, marriage, children, careers, and our homes, Cope's sabbatical in a yoga ashram taught him that "we have become exclusively identified with our physical bodies, with our possessions, with our thoughts, with our personalities. We think we're our ideas, our careers, our families, our countries. We live our lives in utter ignorance of the vastness of our real nature, estranged from our true selves. This is the source of our suffering" (p. 63). Cope's writing is honest, and his unique book will appeal to readers interested in living life from the heart, whether they have spent time on a yoga mat or not. It may also be approached as a trusted resource for those who are serious about the practice of yoga, or for anyone considering a yoga retreat. And at times, Cope's book even inspired me to give yoga a try.
G. Merritt
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, Deep and Practical. A Life Changing Book !, Dec 6 2003
This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
Yoga and the Quest for the True Self is definitely one of the best (if not the best) and most useful books I've ever read. It truly speaks to developing a mature, real life approach to spirituality.
Stephen Cope writes from a perspective that I feel really speaks to the Western spiritual seeker. He combines his experience and knowledge as a psychotherapist with his knowledge of Yoga and other spiritual paths.
While Yoga is a path of union, it appears only too clear that without removing the layers of psychological baggage, union with the divine cannot truly mainfest in ones life. All of the spiritual insights and epiphanies will never be more than a transparent veil placed thinly over the unresolved baggage. Insights without fertile ground to take root will soon fade or be used as another vehicle for ego building.
The author makes clear that the mature path of Yoga is not one of renunciation, or a solitary journey, but explains that "as spiritual practice matured in India there arose a radical new understanding of the paradox of action and inaction. This was the doctrine of inaction in action, and goes further to explain that Krishna teaches in the "Gita" to "Act in the world in alignment with your true vocation, your true self etc....." Clearly not a path of renunciation or a solitary path but one that involves action IN the world.
I found this book really spoke to me as a person on the spiritual path in a way that is truly transformative and not just a bunch of religious dogma. Using his own personal experiences and the experiences of other seekers throughout the book, he has woven a beautifully written guide that is really eye opening and practical. It clearly put into perspective many things that I have either personally struggled with or wondered about.
Stephen Cope makes no claims to be an enlightened master with "wisdom from on high"nor is he trying to "convert" anyone to a particular spiritual path. He explains how the various tools of yoga can help us become more in touch with our true selves. How the process and practice of Hatha Yoga for example, isn't just physical exercise but a spiritual and yet practical process that can help people grow by becoming grounded in their own bodies. At the same time one can work at developing their witness consciousness thru the process of Hatha Yoga.
Of the many things I took away from the book, one particularly valuable was the "mantra" Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch, Allow" which can be used in Hatha Yoga practice, meditation, or even in one's ordinary life when they are scattered and want to become grounded, focused and internally centered.
Some have mistakenly concluded that the author's final assessment is that all of his spiritual practice was for nothing. While there is a "moment" in the book where Cope leaves in the middle of a retreat, a retreat that he had preconceived notions of it's outcome , that is not by any means the conclusion of the book. Actually the crux of what Stephen Cope comes to realize after refelecting on his10 years or so of practice is that "In the entire path of yoga, there is really only one lesson...... Whenever we relinquish our craving, clinging and grasping, whenever we stop the war with reality and are totally present and undivided, we are immediately in union with our true nature".
The book also talks about the Kripalu Center and it's own growth, through the early years with founder Amrit Desai, to his (Desai's) fall from grace, and how this community matured rather than fell apart in the midst of this controversy.
It also explains much about the "false" Guru phenomena. In particular what happens when disciples own needs for an "all knowing father" can in their own way create a monster of their own making.
If you are a Yoga practitioner who wants to go "beyond the postures" as strictly physical exercise, or a spiritual seeker of any faith who wants to read a book that speaks with honesty and depth, intelligence and insight (and to "real people") then I highly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's true! Every word of it!!, Feb. 1 2002
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This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
Stephen Cope has written an exquisite, moving, and totally accurate ethnography of the way it was at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.
Both a memoir and an intelligent, compelling discourse about the transformation of self to Self via yoga. Answers the question: Why would any lively, sentient being hie off to an ashram, monastery, or convent. Cope explores the complex psychodynamics of the spiritual journey without talking over or down to readers. His writing is positively lyrical in places.
Superb Appendix provides a detailed, well-written guide to yogic practices and disciplines.
You don't have to be smitten w/the Eastern-based spiritual traditions to appreciate this book. It's an essential read for anyone interested in why, when, and how people choose "a path."
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Kripalu, you'll love this book!, Aug. 8 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
If you've ever had the chance to be blissed out doing yoga you'll love this book. Steven Cope illustrates the basics of yogic philosophy with intriguing personal stories that definitely keep you interested. It isn't so much about the postures themselves but how the meditative and self-reflective aspects of yoga illuminate our true nature. I've been going to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health for years and have always looked for a book to remind me of what I learned there. This is the best by far. Breathe, Feel, Relax, Watch and Allow...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cope delivers, June 19 2014
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This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
Once again I was not dissapointed with this Stephen Cope book .
I had already read two of his earlier works The Wisdom of Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita like them Yoga The Quest for True Self kept me engaged and inspired .
Cope always re interests me in my Yoga practice and in improvement of self in such a subtle way !
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5.0 out of 5 stars A highly recommended book!, Oct. 20 2013
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This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
Stephen Cope has (once again) successfully translated the often-confusing and overwhelming ancient wisdom of Yoga and brought it into applications of the 21st century. This book can be heavy, deep, and cause for much work on the self so be prepared! That being said, this is definitely a journey worth taking. :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, informative, intelligent, Feb. 1 2014
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This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
This book was so much more than I hoped - and I had very high expectations. Being a yoga therapist, some processes that clients experienced where a mystery to me, this book explains so many of those mysteries. So wonderful and highly readable and entertaining while remaining educational.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting!, July 1 2001
By 
cryogini (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
This is a great book for those on the yoga path. It covers history, metaphysics, and psychology and tells an interesting personal account as well. It answers a lot of questions, is intelligently written, and entertaining. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Cope is an INSPIRATION..., May 6 2001
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This review is from: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self (Paperback)
This is a highly readable memoir by a warm, learned human being. Mr. Cope is not afraid to tell the truth: about life, about yoga, about ashram living, about himself.
It makes one take pause and step into another's shoes for a while...
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Yoga and the Quest for the True Self
Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope (Paperback - Sept. 5 2000)
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