Stephen Cope has lived and taught at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Massachusetts, for ten years. He is presently Scholar-in-Residence there. In his first book, Cope presents a vigorous and thought-provoking overview of the psychology, philosophy, and practice of yoga. According to the latest estimates, more than 11 million Americans practice this 4,000-year-old path of liberation.

What are the benefits of yoga? Cope sums them up as "more consciousness, more energy, more awareness, more equanimity, more life in the body, more connection with the mysteries of the soul." The author, a psychotherapist, began doing body and inner work at Kripalu in order to overcome his feelings of self-estrangement. As he notes in the book, "the genius of yoga practice is that it cultivates the capacity to experience a close-range, moment-by-moment inspection of reality."

Cope does a fine job explaining how yogis view the world from inside out. They practice equanimity and the art of seeing and being seen. Best of all is "witness consciousness" where individuals learn to soften the voice of judgment. Whether writing about the guru-disciple relationship, meditation, or the spontaneous wisdom of the body, Cope proves to be a helpful guide to the quest for the true self. This synthesis of yogic and Western psychological wisdom is a work of true enlightenment.

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