Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

Cover of "Yoga and the Quest for the True Self"

When I get interested in a subject, I often hastily go out and spend hundreds of dollars on books I later find out that I don’t want, or need, on my bookshelf. And in fact, I really need to check out the library in order to save myself a few pennies! But I digress. One book that won’t be leaving my bookshelf is Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, by Stephen Cope. I say this, but I’m kind of lying…I’ve already lent this book out to several friends, all who return it and find the same infatuation with it that I feel.

I’ve been wondering lately if yoga is revered as a religion (more on that in my next post) or if it is simply a path to get to know myself better, to understand my body more clearly, and to have a better vision of what I am capable of. In answer to that question, Cope suggests that yoga is a method to find your true self, in all meanings of the term. Cope himself went to a yoga retreat, with the intent to only stay for a few months, and has ended up staying there indefinitely. This is how he came to write his book.

What I like about the book is the way in which the path to “one’s true self” is described using both humour and a realistic approach, especially when discussing how Cope came to end up at the retreat in Massachusetts (he got dumped by his girlfriend!).  In his book, we explore yoga through the perspective of yogis, students, teachers, friends and the average Joe, instead of being pumped full of a bunch of ideology and Cope’s subjective voice. But what we do end up getting, as readers, is a real account of one man’s journey to find himself, and in the end, a little advice about how we can find ourselves.

It’s a great book with great reviews from quite a few sites, so if you’re interested, I recommend picking up a copy.

I have to admit, Cope has me really itching to go to a yoga retreat so that I too can get to know myself a bit better. Sometimes, I worry that I forget somewhere along the way.


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