The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras Nischala Joy Devi (2007) ISBN978-0307339690
“I looked in Temples, Churches, and Mosques. I found the Divine in my heart.” -Rumi
Chapter One of The Secret Power of Yoga opens with the simplest sentence I have ever read that embodies the practice of Yoga. “With humility we embrace the sacred study of Yoga.” Yoga is sacred because we are divine beings and none more sacred in my eyes than the feminine aspect (Yin) of nature. The Secret Power of Yoga begins by pointing to the three Gunas (aspects of nature) that everything contains; including people. Drawn from the Chandogya Upanishad, there is always one characteristic dominant. Rajas is represented by activity or over activity, Tamas is inactivity; or being withdrawn, and Sattwa – a sense of balance.
At night, we become more indrawn and quiet, while during the day we tend to be active. At the two moments when night and day are blended together; there is balance. This quality is the reason behind most eastern traditions regarding the auspicious nature of dusk and dawn. Our true nature lies in Sattwa, yet we spend most of our lives in an uneven push/pull of activity and no activity. As far as the male and female aspects of our world are concerned, balance begins and ends in the heart. Devi points to the heart as also the source of our consciousness as opposed to our minds – an important distinction.
Devi brings a poetic tone to the Sutras of Patanjali, combining heart centered interpretations with a more nurturing viewpoint to bring compassion to the terse adages within the Yoga Sutra. In an age where the majority of the translations are done so literally and by men, The The Secret Power of Yoga finds balance in the intuitive, feminine perspective. The first two sutras are covered in great detail, while the third is only lightly touched upon. Devi’s reasons for this are obvious as the third Sutra deals with Divine manifestation of power as opposed union with the Divine Self and the cultivation of spiritual practice.
Interspersed throughout The Secret Power of Yoga are practical and enlightening suggestions and practices to help bring the Yoga Sutra alive within us. The first of which – Experiencing the Divine in Everything, points us towards transforming everything we do into a spiritual activity. By taking stock of repetitive tasks we feel are unrewarding, we find opportunities to focus on these as practice towards our goals instead. Devi points out one of the greatest truths; returning to a place of presence and joy is an inward transformation. In this way all aspects of our lives can be transformed independent of circumstances through recognizing the Divine within everything we do.
The Secret Power of Yoga offers all readers an opportunity to connect with the Sutras of Patanjali in a very heart-felt and caring way. Devi is not translating the original Sanskrit, but rather interpreting the common accepted English translation into something more alive and easily identified with. Nischala Joy Devi has been teaching for more than thirty years internationally and is also the author of The Healing Path of Yoga, regarded as the definitive book on healing and stress management. Devi’s certification program Yoga of the Heart® adapts Yoga to the special needs of those with cancer, heart disease and other life-challenging illnesses. The Secret Power of Yoga may be found lacking in pure translation, but the interpretation into words that easily speak to the heart and the atmosphere of reverence Devi creates far outweigh the purist argument. The Secret Power of Yoga receives .