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Bringing Yoga To Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living
by Donna Farhi
Publisher:
Harper 
Year:
2005 reprint edition 
ISBN:
0-06-075046-4 
Categories:
Book Reviews
Reviewed by Midevil, 1/15/2007

Bringing Yoga to Life is not a book about Yoga poses or how to achieve the perfect body. It is exactly what the title describes, a work on utilizing Yoga daily to learn who we are as individuals. Chapter by chapter, Farhi show us how we can cope with living in the word as part of the collective. It doesn’t matter how you start Yoga or why, but do it and see where it leads you on the path to self-awareness and acceptance of others.

Farhi presents the philosophy in easy-to-read language. As someone who readily puts her own closet of skeletons on display, she is inspirational and comforting. The reader’s education and status in life do not matter; the book is for anyone, from the interested beginner to the seasoned master. Each person has a path in life and through Yoga can gradually discover what that path is.

Self-awareness does not come easy, as Farhi indicates through her own examples of self-abuse and other negative habits. She makes it clear that all of us suffer from these failings. This recognition of the human condition provides support for the isolated soul that struggles along.

The practice of Yoga, like life, is a daily pursuit. In the book it is presented as an attainable goal, with frequent examples of analogies and teachings from a diverse collection of old and new sources. It is the slow, consistent practise routine that brings the student into awareness.

Meditation, poses, and breathing are offered as part of the Yoga approach to help deal with a wide assortment of life’s daily issues, both miniscule and critical. From emotions that turn into ugly spats with other people to addictions and life crises, Yoga offers a centre of calm that each of us can anchor to.

In the pursuit of the true self, we begin to realize that all people are one and the same. Yoga removes the desperate need to control what we cannot and the self-judgement that spills over into condemning others. We begin to see the similarities between ourselves and people out there in the world, which helps us to see good in ourselves. Self-denial and avoidance fall to the wayside. Eventually, the ability to be neutral in observing human vices assists us in developing sincere compassion for the self and the collective as a whole.

Daily practice of Yoga will gradually result in the dissipation of such demons as addictions and fear. Life’s difficulties won’t be miraculously erased through the practice of Yoga; we will learn to live instead of drowning ourselves in numbness and unnecessary suffering.

Bringing Yoga to Life is a keeper. Filled with insights and a multitude of perspectives that lend inspiration and guidance to anyone’s life journey, this book deserves to be kept within easy reach at all times. Inner peace is, after all, a work in progress that requires daily attention.

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