YOGA AND THE PATH OF THE URBAN MYSTIC by Darren Main

YOGA AND THE PATH OF THE URBAN MYSTIC

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Main’s accessible volume is an exemplary introduction to the thought, theory and texture of modern-day yoga.

As his title indicates, Main describes today’s yoga practitioner as an “urban mystic,” a seeker continually forced to balance spiritual pursuits with the exigencies of real life–job, relationships, money, sex. This approach is both novel and practical: The author does not expect us to eschew modern life and install ourselves under a bodhi tree. He instead defines yoga as a “middle path,” a way of living that restores peace and unity to a life lived in the contemporary world. This is not a guidebook or encyclopedia of poses and stretches but a comprehensive exploration of the tenets behind them. And as such, it is very good. The first section features clear definitions of the basic principles of yoga. His understanding of the practice–or “science,” as the ancients characterized it–is relatively simple: Each individual body houses an atman, a true, divine self. However, most have forgotten about its transcendent beauty. This atman is a diamond covered in mud, and the practice of yoga is the process of cleaning away years of grime to reveal a perfect gem. The second section is a comprehensive close reading of one of the foundational texts of yogic practice: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. In this section, Main takes us through the most important principles of the ancient guru’s system. The author bases his exploration of yoga on years of experience as both a practitioner and a teacher, and he supplements his own personal experience with a wide-ranging knowledge of ancient texts whose complexities he unravels by pointing out similarities to more familiar (for Westerners) sources of wisdom: Jesus, Einstein, Saint Paul, Isaac Newton.

Erudite, lucid and enlightening.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-58348-876-8
Page count: 251pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:




BOOKS ON YOGA:

NonfictionTHE SCIENCE OF YOGA by William J. Broad
by William J. Broad
NonfictionTHE SUBTLE BODY by Stefanie Syman
by Stefanie Syman
NonfictionYOGA BITCH by Suzanne Morrison
by Suzanne Morrison
NonfictionSTRETCH by Neal Pollack
by Neal Pollack

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieTALKING TO SELF by Dillip Kumar Dash
by Dillip Kumar Dash
IndieDivine Eyes and the Body of Light by Keith V. Watkins
by Keith V. Watkins
FictionOM LOVE by George Minot
by George Minot