Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yoga and the Luminous: Patanjali's Spiritual Path to Freedom by Christopher Chapple

In Yoga and the Luminous, a book that emerges from more than thirty years of practice, study, and reflection, Christopher Key Chapple addresses the need for an accessible explanation of Yoga's difficult philosophy and its applications in daily life. Yoga practice takes an individual on an inward journey, and through Yoga, one enters a rarefied state of consciousness, a transparency and luminosity described by its great philosopher PataƱjali as being "like a clear jewel." Exploring Yoga through the prism of practice, Chapple begins with a historical overview of the many Yogic traditions in Indian religions. He continues with Yoga practice and the philosophy of Samkhya and then, in step-by-step fashion, he brings the reader to an understanding of the ethics of Yoga, the role of movement and breath, and the processes of concentration and meditation. Finally, building on the root metaphor of luminosity and light, Chapple explains the applications of Yoga in daily life.

Yoga and the Luminous also includes a word-by-word translation of PataƱjali's Yoga Sutra, the foundational text of Yoga philosophy and a system of ethical practice and bodily purification. The translation is accompanied by an analysis that traces key ideas through the text, such as the reversal of mental and sensory outflows and the theme of spiritual discernment. Chapple also gives special attention to the feminine in the description of Yoga practices.

"Yoga and the Luminous is a welcome addition to the growing literature on Yoga. This excellent book will be of great value to scholars, practitioners of Yoga, and those interested in how Yoga can be applied to some of the important issues of our time." -- Gerald James Larson, Tagore Professor Emeritus, Indiana University at Bloomington, and Professor Emeritus, University of California at Santa Barbara

"This book is based not only on a deep understanding of the Yoga Sutra in its Jaina and Buddhist intellectual context but also on a lifetime of practicing the text. The result is a combination of intellectual insight and practical understanding written in clear English that communicates effectively to a wide range of readers." -- Harold Coward author of The Perfectibility of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought

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