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Yoga and the Quest for the True Self Paperback – Sep 5 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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  • Yoga and the Quest for the True Self
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (Sept. 5 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055337835X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553378351
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Despite skeptical jibes from his well-meaning friends, Stephen Cope set off for a four-month yoga retreat in rural Massachusetts. Ten years later, he is still there. A psychotherapist left in the lurch after a long-term relationship, Cope was experiencing the same deep questioning of life that he had witnessed so often in his practice. His self-prescribed antidote was to pursue a life of contemplation and inner discovery that he had felt drawn to for some time. Yoga and the Quest for the True Self is Cope's chronicle of self-discovery. Cope is at turns frank in describing his own obstacles and epiphanies, brotherly in relating anecdotes of friends and patients on similar quests, and clinical in his trenchant psychological summations of why we find ourselves estranged and how yoga and meditation bring us back to clear awareness. Like Mark Epstein's Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self is a milestone in the melding of Eastern and Western methods of personal transformation. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Yoga, according to first-time author and longtime yoga teacher Cope, can cure the sense of separation that dogs many people in our culture: "a separation from the life of the body; a separation from the hidden depths of life, its mystery and interiority." Here, Cope, a psychotherapist who left a practice in Boston to live, study and ultimately teach at the Kripalu Yoga ashram in Lenox, Mass., navigates yoga for Western seekers. Drawing on his own experiences and the stories of many friends and yoga students, Cope holds up ancient yogic concepts of the self against evolving theories of modern psychotherapy. Rather than attempting a reductive comparison, Cope suggests that various ideas experienced during yoga practice can enhance the goals of Western psychotherapy. Readers familiar with Jack Korn- field's A Path with Heart or Mark Epstein's Thoughts Without a Thinker may find Cope's approach noncommittal. He tells stories of liberation and release without ever quite conceding that yoga and psychotherapy are two profoundly different worldviews. Although ineluctably drawn to yoga practice and the ashram, Cope's point of view is resolutely Western and psychotherapeutic. Still, Cope's psychotherapeutic orientation and genial win-win approach lights up a notoriously arcane subject for Western readers. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book just after a stay at Kripalu and knew it would be entertaining to read about the physical and spiritual history of the place. Stephen Cope is both very open and informative, and also healthily restrained about this aspect. The book enabled me to understand and accept some sides of the Kripalu teachings that had annoyed me at the time : namely the emphasis put on the body, and the psychological acceptance of oneself. After reading it, I was totally able to understand why and relate to that teaching.
Even if you have read 100 books on yoga, I promise that you will find something new and interesting in this account. it is beautifully written (I cannot believe this is a first book ! what an achievement !) and the psychological anecdotes on people that I usually found boring are actually quite interesting in S. Cope`s book. I warmly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a thoroughly engaging and refreshingly accessible treatment of yoga philosophy and practice. Perhaps most touching is Stephen Cope's willingness to be so honest with his readers, providing an unflinching self-portrait of a modern seeker. Delving into the deepest teachings of the ancient scriptures on which yoga is based, including Vedanta, the Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali, Tantrism, and even Buddhist thought, Cope's book is at the same time completely free of pretense or idealism. He intersperses yogic and Western psychology with real life stories from his own, his students and his psychotherapy clients' life experience. Despite his profound learning and accomplishment, Cope never allows us to place him on a pedestal, but rather shares his disillusionment, grief, and exhaustion as well as his clarity, wisdom, and enthusiasm, providing a story which is all the more empowering and inspiring. As a yoga student and teacher of several years, I found that Cope explored many troublesome and important questions I had been asking myself. For example, how do we reconcile seemingly contradictory philosophies within the yogic tradition? Perhaps even more importantly, what are we to make of the apparent contradiction between Western psychotherapy, which tells us to honor our feelings and move into them, and yogic teachings, which tell us to recognize the fleetingness of those feelings and access the Self which is beyond these fluctuations? Cope's vision is exciting also because he finds meaning in the divine feminine-feelings and emotions, heart, devotion, and the beautiful imperfection of our embodiment-as well as the divine masculine-clear seeing and thinking, mind, wisdom, and the ecstasy of transcendence-a balance so often lacking in spiritual circles. I have been long looking for a synthesis such as Cope provides. I was profoundly moved by this book and know it will continue to influence my understanding of the spiritual path for many years.
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Format: Hardcover
As a former member of Kripalu, I am deeply indebted to Stephen Cope for bringing forth Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. I have lived through much of what he describes, and recognize in his work not only an accurate, but also extremely faithful portrait of the inner workings of ashram life and the pursuit of spiritual sadhana. As a first-time author, Steve takes his life in his hands through his willingness to insert himself into his work, and it is that very weaving of personal anecdote with the rigors of yoga that makes this a masterpiece. It is through this work that I was finally able to grasp distinctions such as clear seeing and calm abiding, and the ability to "bear" reality or witness in depth. For one who practices yoga, there is a wealth of information and clarity about sadhana; for one who treads the western paths of psychology, there are many illuminations and pathways opened between the two systems. As Stephen guides us through his complex cast of characters and multiple accesses to yoga and psychology, perhaps the greatest perk of all is how skillfully he integrates his information, providing a marvelously enjoyable read, when all is said and done.
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