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The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  509 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Yoga is well known for its power to create a healthy body, but few realize the emotional and spiritual benefits. In The Secret Power of Yoga, world-renowned Yoga expert Nischala Joy Devi interprets Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the principles at the basis of Yoga practice, from a heart-centered, intuitive, feminine perspective, resulting in the first translation intended for wo ...more
Paperback, 301 pages
Published March 20th 2007 by Harmony
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Apr 23, 2015 Denise rated it it was amazing
I love this interpretation to the Yoga Sutras. From what I understand this book is the only one translated from a female POV which is so interesting in itself. I especially liked how the yamas & the niyamas are interpreted in such a way that they hold you to a higher standard. I recently gave a talk on the yamas at the yoga studio where I teach... I referred to this book and found the discussion very rich & engaging. I really liked how at the end of each yama & niyama section there w ...more
Victoria Klein
Jan 31, 2012 Victoria Klein rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book, I read a "traditional" translation of the Yoga Sutras. I found Devi's book to be a nice contrast to the previous book, adding another dimension of understanding to the overall Yoga Sutras. I also highly appreciate her lack of the use of "God", making the Yoga Sutras much easier to understand from a non-Christian/Atheist perspective.

Billed as a "Woman's Guide to the ... Yoga Sutras", I feel the need to address the representation of men vs. women in this book. Others who
Jun 17, 2009 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
This book took me a few months to finish; not because it was thick and wordy -- but, because it was saturated with insights. This book does not contain the classic yoga sutras (there are other books for that, and she is quick to point that out). These are the sutras as interpreted by Nischala Joy Devi, an elder in the yoga community in the US. She filters the sutras through the heart and her experiences on the path of yoga to provide us with a map. She takes complicated Sanskrit terms and concep ...more
Sep 20, 2016 Jobie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
This book is a rethinking of the yoga sutras. She rewrites the sutras of the first two books in her own words and then interprets them and tells anecdotes describing her viewpoint. She also offers meditation exercises to help put into practice what she is trying to explain.

I enjoyed this book. I read it very slowly. It's a great way to read the sutras from a woman's point of view and experience them.
This book represents what Devi refers to as a more compassionate "heart" translation and commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, with an eye towards how the sutras can be viewed from a woman's perspective.

She offers practical explorations of the sutras and how they can enrich everyday life, which I like, and also provides experiential exercises at the end of each section of sutras.

I would emphasize, however, that while Devi says that she is exploring yoga philosophy from a "woman's perspective,"
May 23, 2011 Roxanne rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality, yoga
**Rereading this for my yoga teacher training; previous review is below.**

I've been reading this book since January and I FINALLY finished it (May 21, 2010)! The extremely long reading period isn't a reflection on Devi's work at all; it's more a reflection on (1) how busy I am right now, and (2) that yoga/meditation books aren't really suited for reading on the train.

Devi set out to write a book that explicates the yoga sutras from a heart-centered, more "feminine" perspective. She realized that
May 08, 2009 Allison rated it did not like it
That's it. I give up. It's cheesy, it's sappy, and most of all, it's boring. Maybe it was my expectations of the book. I was hoping for a book that would help me make the most out of my yoga practice; perhaps something that would help me clear my mind, focus on the breath. What I got was a bunch of hippy-dippy mumbo jumbo. Take pleasure in mundane tasks, the author says. Enjoy the satisfaction of a dish washed, a floor cleaned, etc. Obviously, she is on no time limit to get to work in the mornin ...more
May 07, 2009 Shashi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: especially women and yogis
Recommended to Shashi by: fellow yoga teachers
The intro of this book is amazing and beautiful. She talks about the human heart and how it is one of the first things to form in an embryo, how it forms before the brain, and maintains it's own rhythm til just before birth. I highly value her interpretations of the yoga sutras as she is the first woman to translate this 2500 year old text, and because she's a yogi of the last 30 years.
I went to a workshop with her May 17-18,2008 and feel extremely inspired and challenged. I am starting a readin
Apr 05, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
A fascinating study of the Yoga Sutras, highly recommended for anyone female and living in the west.
May 20, 2015 Cydney rated it it was amazing
This is now one of my favorite interpretation of the Yoga Sutras. Thank you. Namaste.
Apr 29, 2015 Kay rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on the sutras. A must read and reread.
Aug 04, 2011 Trista added it
The title of this book would normally have me running away, but it was recommended to me by Kathy Cooper, an Ashtangi I admire deeply. Except for the title, this is a fabulous book. The yoga sutras finally make sense to me. I have one chapter left and am savoring it. "Nothing can be more life-changing than an escape from your own preconceptions."
Jul 08, 2009 Irma rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most powerful and enlightening books I've ever read! I currently use it as a reference just to stay focused/balanced specially during trying times. What I've also learned from this book is to dedicate myself to anything that elevates and embraces my heart.
This practice has actually helped make my life's journey more pleasant.
Dec 26, 2014 Crystal rated it it was amazing
I had previously only read Satchidanada's version of the sutras. This one was completely different, and resonated deeply with my soul. I especially appreciate the focus on the positive when describing the Yamas. Rather discussing all the things we should not do, it described the habits of mind one should cultivate.
Sep 25, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing
It took some time and even thn, I haven't absorbed the lot of the book like a sponge. Rather, and comfortingly so, with a sense of peace it's like a beacon to bring me back in times of trouble, joy and friendship. One to have on hand for the rest of anyone's practice, be they novice or seasoned yogi.
Brigitte Crawford
Aug 27, 2014 Brigitte Crawford rated it liked it
Shelves: yoga
I'm reading this for a yoga class, and I do find it interesting. It looks at yoga from the perspective of a woman, whatever that means ;) Mainly the yamas and niyamas are reviewed from an emotional sense and how to approach life rather than how "not" to approach life. Definitely a good read.
Jul 02, 2009 Nicole rated it it was amazing
My great friend, mentor and yoga guru Irma recommended this book to me. It's a nice relaxing read, offering advice about the spiritual yoga of the mind rather than the physical postures and poses. Did I mention I read the book more than once because this year was so stressful.
Judith Harlan
Nov 14, 2011 Judith Harlan rated it really liked it
A powerful and insightful look at Patanjali's Sutras, from a woman's perspective and also from a modern Western eye. If you have struggled to decipher the Sutras, this book is a gateway to understanding. And not just for women; men can walk through this gate too.
Adrienn Mendonca-Jones
Great book for woman's perspective on the yoga sutras. NJD ties each sutra to a story or metaphor which helps understand the sutras from a female POV, which is unique. There aren't many books written on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by women.
May 31, 2011 secondwomn rated it liked it
Recommended to secondwomn by: Roxanne Ward
Shelves: spirit, yoga, ebook, 2011
there's a lot to like about devi's approach to the sutras, but the syrupy quality of her writing was a bit much for me. that said, this is a great resource and a book i will return to because her thoughtfulness and joy in life are inspiring.
Sep 23, 2013 Maria rated it really liked it
The yoga sutras show how as divine beings, we have inner energy to achieve peace and health in this life. I really enjoyed this read. Not light reading and something that should be re-read.
Feb 13, 2013 Sandra rated it really liked it
This commentary on the Yoga Sutras would be perfect for the beginner. The translations are easy to understand and are given deeper meaning with real life examples.
Dec 29, 2012 Joy rated it really liked it
I am loving this book. The yoga sutras from a feminine perspective. Very applicable to my own life. Will be a continuing reference, go-to resource.
Discussion of the yoga sutras, with exercises. Special emphasis on women's experience with the spiritual aspects.
Jun 12, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Wonderful interpretation of the sutras from the female perspective. Great exercises at the end of each chapter.
Apr 28, 2008 Catherine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people looking for a sense of peace
I wasn't really into the author's commentaries, but her translation of the yoga sutras alone makes the book worth it.
Barbara Phillips
Apr 15, 2013 Barbara Phillips rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality, yoga
The Sutras written from a woman's perspective. Understanding the Sutras is a way to embrace yoga throughout your day.
Jan 28, 2013 Siobhan rated it it was amazing
This book is a refreshing take on the Sutras from a women's perspective. A book I have to re-read and go back to.
Donalee Attardo
Sep 03, 2013 Donalee Attardo rated it it was ok
Hoping for some insights from a woman's perspective but no such luck. The writing was disappointing too.
May 24, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
Excellent commentary on the Sutras. Really enjoyed it and all the exercises/meditations throughout.
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“The yogic practices help us release memories without having to express them either outwardly or in dreams. They also help dissolve unwanted thoughts and feelings as they are forming, relieving the need to see them to fruition or preserve them for a later time. Sometimes while sitting still in meditation or holding an asana (pose), a memory will escape from the bottom of the mental-emotional lake. Like a bubble, it will float through layers of the subconscious and then pop on the surface of the conscious mind.” 1 likes
“Yoga takes us back to the beginning of our journey of becoming human; we spark the memory that we are first and always an aspect of the Divine. The physical body was created as a temple to house this Divine light.” 1 likes
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