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I-I'M-* TH£ YOGA SUTRAS OF PATAN JALI, by Edwin 8ryant. North Point Press; fsg bo oAs.com
The thousands of English translations of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra and their accompanying commentaries run the gamut from the widely read to the highly technical.
Usually the translator provides only a single perspective, but from Edwin Bryant, a professor of Indology at Rutgers University, come interpretations from a variety of angles, providing readers with a much broader perspective on the Yoga Sutra's teaching and transformative potential.
Bryant's book opens with a beautifully written account of the history of yoga from before Patanjali's time, followed by an overview of classical yoga. In the following 450 pages, Bryant reveals his considerable insights and includes wisdom gained from other commentaries, including Vyasa's famous r ,6 O O -year-o Id bbasbya (discussion) and the 1963 commentary by Swami H. Aranya. Bryant pulls in works from other Hindu yoga schools and traditional texts, such as the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Puranas (known as the "old stories"), to position the Yoga Sutra in the broader context of Indian spiritual literature.
The individual commentaries run from one or two paragraphs to 10 pages or more. The inclusion of different commentaries on the Yoga Sutra makes this translation quite unusual. If that's not enough, there are more nuggets of information in the 50 pages of detailed footnotes at the book's end.
This is a textbook for serious students of the sutras. But the nice thing is, it's written in away that makes it accessible toe verystudent. A llyouneedis a willingness to apply yourself and a strong desire to dive deep into Patanjali's yoga. r.r.
E3 PRESENCE: Meditation Music tor the Oneness Blessing, by One. Sounds True; soundstrue.com
Presence is a study in meditative musical minimalism. Led by composer Yantra de
Vilder, the Hindustani classical music trio from Australia weaves an immersive listening experience out of a few simple but effective sonic elements. The result is an album that is ideal for accompanying meditation or gentle asana, or creating a peaceful ambience at home.
The songs are firmly based in the mind-focusing, heart-centering power of the drone, generated here by tambour a and e le c t ron i c key boa rd s. Th e al t ernati ng an d overlapping improvisational interplay of de Vilder's piano, Armando Ornano's bansuri flute, and Asakti Evans's chanting of the Moola mantra and the Vcdic hymn "Hari Om Tat Sat" creates a sense of slow and gentle unfolding.
More structured musical motifs also emerge, one of which is reminiscent of kir-tan songstress Deva Premal's musical interpretation of the Gayatri mantra. Presence is a disc that connects deeply with the play of repetition and randomness that characterizes the mind in meditation, the cycles of life, and good ambient music. ALAN Dl PERNA
i r.M!< JESUS IN THE LOTUS: The Mystical Doorway Between Christianity and Yogic Spirituality, by Russill Paul. New World Library; newworidiibrary.com Russill Paul, a former Benedictine monk and current vogi, ambitiously sets out to delineate how contemporary Christianity can open itself up to the divine union that is the ultimate goal of yoga practice. This short book is aimed at Christians who are looking to incorporate their religion into their yoga practice.
Paul provides a philosophical and, to some extent, practical basis for doing so, along with clear explanations of basic yogic philosophic concepts such as sama-dhi (union) and the difference between the Self and the ego. He expands the definition of what it means to practice yoga, arguing that true Christianity, free of the "institutional superstructure" of the modern church that preaches estrangement from the body, has much in common with yogic spirituality. "Yoga can help Christians realize that R the body is an essential vehicle for spiritual realization," he writes, t adding that this can be done without worship- j ing the massive Hindu I pantheon. Instead, when I a person practiccs asana, Paul writes, the body opens up, as does the mind, leaving the practitioner to ponder some ofChris-tianity's grander mysteries.
The book's discussions ofyogic phi losophy are sprinkled with humorous and relevant anecdotes about Paul's personal journey from a naive, confused kid wandering around a mountain ashram to a serious, studious yogi and monk. Highlights include Paul's mystical visions in India and a funny account of the evolution of his asana practice.
Most surprising is how Paul examines Christianity's roots, which he says are based largely in the core principles
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Discover How to Practice Yoga! Now you can use a practical stepbystep guide to learn Yoga techniques. Including the Practices and Exercises of Concentration, both Objective and Subjective, and Active and Passive Mentation, an Elucidation of Maya, Guru Worship, and the Worship of the Terrible, also the Mystery of Will-Force.