A series of guided meditations, reflections, and journaling exercises, aimed at helping yoga practitioners look deep within themselves and discover inner peace.
Yoga teacher Mosca (Cultivate Contentment, 2009) offers a short but in-depth guide to the spiritual side of yoga practice. In each short section, she introduces five restraints, or “Yamas,” and five observances, or “Niyamas.” The restraints—“Non-Harming,” “Truthfulness,” “Non-Stealing,” “Moderation,” and “Non-Attachment”—are framed as ideals for the reader to strive for, but Mosca emphasizes that yoga isn’t about self-punishment: “There is no harsh criticism of anyone for wrongdoing; there is only loving opposition to wrong deeds.” The Niyamas to strive toward, she says, are “Purity,” “Contentment,” “Discipline,” “Self-Study,” and “Surrender to God.” Each Yama and Niyama comes with a guided meditation, encouraging readers to develop a relaxed state of body and mind. There’s also a list of affirmations in each section, which may help ground readers. The book is clearly organized and simply crafted to allow readers to return to each lesson and repeat journal entries as needed. One feature of Mosca’s writing is that she explores each concept on a physical level, as well as a mental and spiritual one. For example, the concept of “Shaucha,” or purity, is connected to the cleanliness of one’s body and environment. It then goes on to discuss conscious eating, fasting, and cleansing, along with freeing one’s mind of turbulent emotions and other distractions. Another important observation deals with “Santosha,” or contentment—described as a “willingness to accept whatever fate may bring with balance, gratitude and joy.” The ideal, as the author explains, is to achieve unwavering serenity throughout life’s ups and downs, but one of the book’s most positive aspects is its emphasis on process, rather than on achieving an end goal.
A thoughtful and often delightful book about pursuing serenity through yoga and spiritual exercises.