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The world of yoga is astonishingly rich in its array of schools and practices. Yet, as diverse as they seem, they share a common aim: the discovery of the essence of existence that can be found at the core of our being, and the liberation that comes from that discovery. With this worthy goal in mind, Richard Freeman presents an enlightening overview of the many teachings, The world of yoga is astonishingly rich in its array of schools and practices. Yet, as diverse as they seem, they share a common aim: the discovery of the essence of existence that can be found at the core of our being, and the liberation that comes from that discovery. With this worthy goal in mind, Richard Freeman presents an enlightening overview of the many teachings, practices, and scriptures that serve as the basis for all the schools of yoga—hatha, bhakti, jnana, karma, tantra, and others. He shows how the myriad forms are ultimately related, and can even be perceived to make up a vast, interpenetrating matrix, symbolizing the unity, profundity, and beauty of the ancient tradition. Richard's wide-ranging discussion includes the Upanisads and Samkhya philosophies, the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the eight limbs of astanga yoga, the process and purpose of hatha yoga, and much more. He also explores the role of the guru, chanting, meditation, and the yogic imperative of offering service to others. All of this is applied to the actual practice, giving the reader the tools to digest and apply the wealth of information to daily life. The Mirror of Yoga will be a welcome resource to all yogis who wish to better practice the profound philosophy underlying their practice. To learn more, visit MirrorofYoga.com.


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The world of yoga is astonishingly rich in its array of schools and practices. Yet, as diverse as they seem, they share a common aim: the discovery of the essence of existence that can be found at the core of our being, and the liberation that comes from that discovery. With this worthy goal in mind, Richard Freeman presents an enlightening overview of the many teachings, The world of yoga is astonishingly rich in its array of schools and practices. Yet, as diverse as they seem, they share a common aim: the discovery of the essence of existence that can be found at the core of our being, and the liberation that comes from that discovery. With this worthy goal in mind, Richard Freeman presents an enlightening overview of the many teachings, practices, and scriptures that serve as the basis for all the schools of yoga—hatha, bhakti, jnana, karma, tantra, and others. He shows how the myriad forms are ultimately related, and can even be perceived to make up a vast, interpenetrating matrix, symbolizing the unity, profundity, and beauty of the ancient tradition. Richard's wide-ranging discussion includes the Upanisads and Samkhya philosophies, the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the eight limbs of astanga yoga, the process and purpose of hatha yoga, and much more. He also explores the role of the guru, chanting, meditation, and the yogic imperative of offering service to others. All of this is applied to the actual practice, giving the reader the tools to digest and apply the wealth of information to daily life. The Mirror of Yoga will be a welcome resource to all yogis who wish to better practice the profound philosophy underlying their practice. To learn more, visit MirrorofYoga.com.

30 review for The Mirror of Yoga: Awakening the Intelligence of Body and Mind

  1. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    I had a tough time trying to write a proper review of this book. On the one hand, this is one of the best books on yoga that I have ever read. At a slim 233 pages, the depth of it's content can not be found anywhere else in so small a space. On the other hand, attempting to distill over forty years of practice and knowledge of yoga into such a small space seems a daunting task. So while the content of the book is excellent, the delivery of that content was not always optimal and could have used I had a tough time trying to write a proper review of this book. On the one hand, this is one of the best books on yoga that I have ever read. At a slim 233 pages, the depth of it's content can not be found anywhere else in so small a space. On the other hand, attempting to distill over forty years of practice and knowledge of yoga into such a small space seems a daunting task. So while the content of the book is excellent, the delivery of that content was not always optimal and could have used some more refinement. The general theme of the book is to try to find the root similarity or underlying pattern between all the different types and styles of yoga. On page 9 he writes, "The purpose of this book is not to make you a premature eclectic. It is not to confuse you with the great variety of yoga philosophies, traditions and practices you may encounter, nor is it to make you into an armchair enlightened being. Instead it is to allow all of us to slow down a bit so that we can delve deeply into the subject rather than skidding along the surface side to side, from one school back to another." The book then goes into a brief overview of the different methodologies and practices of; hatha, tantra, bhakti, jnana and astanga yoga. By the books concluding chapter, he largely succeeds in the stated purpose, yet the path taken to get there is not laid out well for the reader. The choice of topic and ordering of each succeeding chapter can seem almost random at times. The content of first four chapters is excellent. It is in these beginning chapters that we are treated to a synthesis of the multiple meanings and viewpoints of what yoga is as taken from many angles. The concluding chapter of the book is also excellent. The other middle chapters in the book, go on to summarize and cover topics such as; The Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, Samkhya philosophy, and the fundamentals of tantra. While Sanskrit is used throughout the book, it doesn't feel overwhelming, as each Sanskrit word is given several possible English meanings. A glossary is also provided at the back of the book. Perhaps the most difficult chapter to digest is chapter five, the chapter on buddhi, which attempts to summarize samkhya philosophy. This is a very difficult topic to cover and it is here where the book starts to grind to a halt. Many sections must be read over and over again as the number of foreign terms start to overwhelm the reader. One reoccurring theme from the book that stood out to me, and that I thought was covered well, was the topic of impermanence. Over and over again we are reminded of the constant of change and the mind's attempt to grasp at impermanent objects as if those objects were permanent. They are not, and this is one of the root causes of our suffering. It is thought that one of the many things that an asana practice is meant to teach the practitioner is a visceral feeling of this impermanence. By noticing the constant change of feelings and sensations that occur in the body while in the postures, we learn over time and by repetition the very nature of impermanence. Even the flow of moving the body from one posture to the next can be taken as a lesson for the body and mind of constant change. This topic is brought up throughout the book and was covered well. Overall, the book is deep, and it might take several readings in order to digest it all. There are times where you might feel as if the author has gone off on a tangent, and you might be scratching your head wondering how one paragraph relates to the previous one, or the next one. I feel that some more effort could have been made on laying out the basic structure of the chapters, and how one topic leads into the next. Instead, at times it can almost feel like an endless brain-dump from the author. This is a minor complaint though, considering the vastness and depth of the content. However, this is the one sticking point that is keeping me from giving the book five stars. As it is, the book must be read several times in order to finally get what he was talking about. I know that I do plan in reading it several times. And on that note, one way to judge a book, is by how eager you are to want to read it again, and in this instance, I rate the book high. On page 66 he writes, "Today we are very fortunate to be able to draw on the experience of millions of people who have inquired into their hearts and, in so doing, have developed yoga as a way of penetrating into the heart of reality." I feel that we in the west are truly fortunate to have someone such as Richard, who, in our lifetime has gone east and spent so much of his life immersed in the world of yoga. And who is then able to return to the west, and largely disseminate that knowledge so that we in the west can digest it. Consider yourself lucky if you are fortunate enough to have the time read this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I really enjoyed this book. Richard Freeman was my yoga teacher for 7 years and I am filled with respect and admiration for him. He is the real thing. His dedication to yoga and his deep of understanding of the what it is, is unparalleled in my experience. And I have practiced yoga for 25 years. Anyway, this tome is a true treat for yoga aficionados who need to dive deep in yoga philosophy. I look forward to re-reading this book in the years to come.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deb Korch

    I rarely give a book 5 stars. This one deserved every one of them. It was accurate and interesting.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Crystal S.

    I didn’t know what to expect when I picked this book up from the library although the cover does get some stares and glances in public. Many of my teachers adore Richard Freeman, I can see why. I would primarily recommend this to someone who has studied yoga significantly (read Pradipika, Yoga Sutras, the Gita, etc) or who just loves philosophy. It could be interesting to also read this as you prepare to read some of the primary texts I just shared. Freeman’s work is a lovely compliment to the tex I didn’t know what to expect when I picked this book up from the library although the cover does get some stares and glances in public. Many of my teachers adore Richard Freeman, I can see why. I would primarily recommend this to someone who has studied yoga significantly (read Pradipika, Yoga Sutras, the Gita, etc) or who just loves philosophy. It could be interesting to also read this as you prepare to read some of the primary texts I just shared. Freeman’s work is a lovely compliment to the texts many yogis study and presents a contemporary American take on it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    It’s so difficult to comments on this book, as it’s so complex and I have a mixed feeling about it. On the one hand - it’s obvious that’s it’s a lot of valuable information and experience put together to outline various aspects of yoga practice, however I got lost in the way the info was structured. Somehow could not find a flow of info given most of the time and can not say that I learned much from it, in spite of me reading and re-reading some chapters few times. Well, my take away from it - p It’s so difficult to comments on this book, as it’s so complex and I have a mixed feeling about it. On the one hand - it’s obvious that’s it’s a lot of valuable information and experience put together to outline various aspects of yoga practice, however I got lost in the way the info was structured. Somehow could not find a flow of info given most of the time and can not say that I learned much from it, in spite of me reading and re-reading some chapters few times. Well, my take away from it - practice and all is coming!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kirat Kaur

    The first two chapters really resonated with the lessons I’ve learnt since I became a more committed yoga practitioner. The next two chapters were really esoteric and difficult for me to grasp. They are written very accessibly, in plain language, about really deep philosophy that I was unfamiliar with and I would love to revisit these chapters in a year or so. I really appreciated the last chapter, which talked about how yoga is about relationships, and the discussion on yoga teacher-student rel The first two chapters really resonated with the lessons I’ve learnt since I became a more committed yoga practitioner. The next two chapters were really esoteric and difficult for me to grasp. They are written very accessibly, in plain language, about really deep philosophy that I was unfamiliar with and I would love to revisit these chapters in a year or so. I really appreciated the last chapter, which talked about how yoga is about relationships, and the discussion on yoga teacher-student relationships in particular. Overall, a fantastic introduction to yoga philosophy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mery

    This book is written for highly evolved and intelligent people. If you don't understand it yet, practise more yoga :D Today, in a fake world full of celebrity and fake yogis, only few people understand certain books and those who don't they give a low rating... This book is written for highly evolved and intelligent people. If you don't understand it yet, practise more yoga :D Today, in a fake world full of celebrity and fake yogis, only few people understand certain books and those who don't they give a low rating...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Chock full of information about yoga philosophy and understanding the Upanisads and yoga sutra. But very heady and philosophical. Perhaps one to come back to and reread at another point along my yoga journey again.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christine Watson

    One of the best, most comprehensive texts I have read on yoga. The author does not espouse any particular agenda, but goes deeply into the nuances of the practice beyond the physical asanas and offers a wealth of information on the various types of yoga practice as well. Very much worth a read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Andexler

    This book helped me to understand the true depth of yoga. How it consumes your inner soul. How it guides you. How it talks to you. How it fluid it is. How easy it is to incorporate into one's life. This book helped me to understand the true depth of yoga. How it consumes your inner soul. How it guides you. How it talks to you. How it fluid it is. How easy it is to incorporate into one's life.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    Good book. Enjoyed learning more about different types of yoga. The narrator has a lovely voice in audiobook form.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    A stunning output which seem to properly introduce the complexety of the whole field of yoga (not just asanas). A fascinating and deep read, albeit sometimes quite verbose.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Cousin

    A fantastic dive into the true meaning of yoga

  14. 4 out of 5

    Murf

    Like so many yoga books, verbose and over-complicated.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Vile

    Great way to learn about samkhya philosophy. Kinda advanced if you're not foamier with the vocal. A lot of passages I had to read twice. Great way to learn about samkhya philosophy. Kinda advanced if you're not foamier with the vocal. A lot of passages I had to read twice.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    oh richard freeman, so eloquently and beautifully you write, unraveling your way with intricate grace into the heart of yoga. dare i ask, could you make your sentences and paragraphs shorter so as not to overwhelm at first glance? that said, the mirror of yoga is beautiful as is. perhaps the fine detail and epic sentencing is necessary. i'm grateful to you as one of our western pioneers into this field. oh richard freeman, so eloquently and beautifully you write, unraveling your way with intricate grace into the heart of yoga. dare i ask, could you make your sentences and paragraphs shorter so as not to overwhelm at first glance? that said, the mirror of yoga is beautiful as is. perhaps the fine detail and epic sentencing is necessary. i'm grateful to you as one of our western pioneers into this field.

  17. 5 out of 5

    secondwomn

    i loved this and read it very slowly. freeman has a nice flow to his writing, conversational and smart. this is an excellent resource on yoga and philosophy that i will be returning to many times as a teacher and student. i found myself consistently making connections with the points he makes and my own daily experiences.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yascha

    Richard is obviously someone who has lived and breathed abstract notions for many years. As a primarily left-brained person picking this book up, I had to re-read a number of sections in order to understand what Richard was getting at. That said, the content (once I understood it) really resonated with me. I would highly recommend this for any yoga practitioner wanting to deepen their practice.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Tough going. Every time I picked it up, I had to flip around to make sure I was starting where I left off because nothing before or after my bookmark made any sense to me. I think I need another 20 years of practice to really get much out of this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kreeti Shakya

    A vey rich content comprising of an exploration of different schools of yoga. There is a lot of information in the book that can't be all digested in one read. A vey rich content comprising of an exploration of different schools of yoga. There is a lot of information in the book that can't be all digested in one read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Gibbs

    A huge amount of information. Not a book to be read just once. Might have preferred a male narrator (read this as an Audible book).

  22. 5 out of 5

    Heather Delia

    This book was tough to read because it was pretty deep but was worth the struggle. I'd give 3.5 stars. This book was tough to read because it was pretty deep but was worth the struggle. I'd give 3.5 stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Todd Mayville

    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/0... http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/0...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Coleen

    This is among my top ten yoga philosophy books. A beautiful book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marci

    The best book on yoga philosophy that exists.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    Every page a master class!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  28. 5 out of 5

    Olya Chizh

  29. 5 out of 5

    Margot

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

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