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Book Reviews

"Living Your Yoga, Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life"
Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.

I have often been asked by curious students what they can read that will provide them an easy to understand introduction to yoga philosophy. The traditional yoga texts are often difficult to read and understand for many western yoga students, so in search of a book that is simple, basic and easy for western minds to absorb, I have come upon "Living Your Yoga, Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life", by Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.. Lasater does a remarkable job in doing just that. In this book, she uses the Yoga Sutras as the basis of her reflections. Also referred to and woven in to her interpretations is the Bhagavad Gita. I found this book to be quite helpful and simplistic in terms of how to bring these ancient teachings into a space of relevance in our western lives. I think that many students will find this to be the case as well. It is the type of text that you can read in segments, that you can re-read (I’ve been through it twice already!) and that you can selectively peruse based on what is relevant at any particular time in your life. At the end of every chapter, she includes a section with practice suggestions, and ‘mantras for daily living’. These sections are particularly helpful for expanding yoga beyond the mat and in to our everyday lives. The overall aim of this book seems to be how to bring yoga’s universal wisdom in to our everyday lives. Lasater makes the point that yoga practice reaches way beyond mat practice, which I see as a wonderful gift to western yoga students in the midst of the popularizing of yoga as exercise, and the tendency for the media to skip over the other limbs of yoga practice. She gives beautiful examples of how she has integrated the ancient wisdoms of yoga in to her own life that made me think, that made me laugh, that enabled me to relate completely to the lesson. It is an easy to read and entertaining book because of her personal anecdotes. Perhaps it is worth sharing a favorite passage of mine, one that I have read and re-read and passed along to others in my life. In this particular chapter, Lasater reflects on a passage from the Gita on the concept of love: “Content with what is chance-obtained, transcending the opposites, without envy, the same in success and failure, though performing actions-he is not bound.” And here is her interpretation: “Love in its purest sense is not based upon what you get from the relationship, but on what the relationship allows you to give. The depth of your love is not reflected in what the other make you feel, but in your willingness to give of yourself. Love’s job is to lead you in to intimacy with what is enduring in yourself and in others. Whether this connection lasts for seconds or lifetimes, love is not wasted. Through it, you have been transformed.”

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