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Millions of Americans know yoga as a superb form of exercise and as a potent source of calm in the midst of our stress-filled lives. Far fewer are aware of the full promise of yoga as "the way of the fully alive human being"--a 4,000-year-old practical path of liberation that fits the needs of modern Western seekers with startling precision.
Now one of America's leading scholars of yoga psychology--who is also a Western-trained psychotherapist--offers this marvelously lively and personal account of an ancient tradition that promises "the soul awake in this lifetime." Drawing on the vivid stories of practitioners at the largest yoga center in America, where he has lived and taught for more than ten years, Stephen Cope describes the philosophy, psychology, and practice of yoga--a practical science of development that urges us not to transcend or dissolve the self, but rather to encounter it more deeply.
In this irreverent modern-day Pilgrim's Progress, Cope introduces us to an unforgettable cast of contemporary seekers--on the road to enlightenment carrying all the baggage of the human condition: confusion, loss, disappointment, addiction, and the eternal conflicts around sex and relationship. As he describes the subtle shifts of energy and consciousness that happen at each stage of the path, we discover that in yoga, "liberation" does not require us to leave life in the world for some transcendent spiritual plane. Life itself is the path.
Above all, Cope shows how yoga can heal the suffering of self-estrangement that pervades our society, leading us to a new sense of purpose and to a deeper, more satisfying life in the world.