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Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  474 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Everyday, millions of people roll out their yoga mats or sit on their meditation cushions in an effort to quiet the mind and heal the body. Some practice Iyengar yoga, while others practice vinyasa or restorative yoga—almost all who practice yoga have touched something deep within themselves and had their lives transformed by this ancient practice. In Yoga and the Path of ...more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Darren Main (first published February 15th 2002)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  474 ratings  ·  39 reviews


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Chris Hyde
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
When many people think of the word "yoga", they think of the exercise poses that make up the typical Western yoga practice. But that is just one part of what yoga is. The poses are known as "Hatha Yoga". Yoga itself is so much larger and is actually a whole philosophy of life and spirituality. Darren Main's book, "Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic" is a great overview of the totality of yoga. Darren Main boils down the ancient yoga principles into an understanding that the typical Western ur ...more
Rachel Burton
May 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga, 2010, 2013
As inspiring on the 10th read as it was on the first.

If you read one book on yoga in your lifetime make this the one.
Julia Coney
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is part of my yoga teacher training. I loved it.
Eric P
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audio book and I was glad I did. I am a big reader but I wanted something to listen to while driving to work and school. I found this book very interesting and stimulating through its content. I did not agree with some things but it definitely made me think which is the whole point. As a beginner yogi, this book definitely made me want to dive even deeper into my practice. His honesty and his unapologetic flawed character dynamics made me connect even more with his words. I’m d ...more
AL
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up as a bit of supplemental reading as I’m currently in the throes of yoga teacher training. While this book was not required reading for my training, I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to explore yogic philosophy and deepen their personal practice. Some knowledge of the “eight limbs” of yoga may be helpful, but not necessary. Main’s voice here is accessible, and he successfully illustrates how the principles of an ancient practice remain relevant and applicable.
Dominic Stanley
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
8 Limb Path Explained

When I came to yoga and learned about the eight limb path it all seemed a bit esoteric to me. Some of the concepts made sense (asanas,pranayama) others where just to far left. This book changed that and brought made all the concepts relevant to today’s world.
Jennifer Ingley
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like this book

The author has done the hard work of studying and processing the origins and history of yoga, and integrating the details into something that can fit into a contemporary lifestyle. His experiences are funny and friendly and moving. I’m happy to be able to thumb back through this work and revisit some of the chapters and understand more.
Maria
I read this as part of required reading for my yoga training program. It was a helpful intro to a lot of the foundational yoga concepts, and provided a jumping off point to explore deeper. Darren uses a lot of examples to make some of the philosophy more relatable and relevant to the modern day, which some may find helpful.
Matthew L.
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are plenty of yoga books out there that will teach you new stretches and positions. This book offers a spiritual backdrop to your practice and shows you more about why it's important. I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking to learn more about the spiritual side to the practice and understand the many benefits of yoga. ...more
Mackenzie
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Such a great introduction to yogic philosophy for people in the "modern" world. Absolutely loved Main's narrative, explanations, and examples. I would recommend this to anyone, regardless of their religious beliefs or spiritual beliefs. There are lessons for everyone and Main does a great job of presenting these ideas in a way that is totally non-dogmatic. ...more
Simon Senior
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Helpful in my yoga journey

I found this to be very helpful in my yoga studies - I'm in the early part of yoga teacher training. It gives a good framework of the various concepts of yoga and how they may relate to me and my life.
...more
Brittany
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Practical guide to incorporating the wisdom and practice of yoga into a busy, urban lifestyle. Rather than instructing how to do asanas, Darren focuses on the core yogic philosophies and how modern citizens can apply these lessons to their bustling everyday lives.
Lisa Whatley
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ready to read this again
Ann Wehrman
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Authentic, insightful, honest.
Ellen
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent further reading on the practice of yoga.
Gustavo J.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book

Very good book for anybody who is interested in following a yogic lifestyle without having to live in a cave
Melinda Holmes
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Super readable! Love the personal stories and connections, makes so many concepts easier to understand. Can’t wait to read a second time.
Dan
Darren Main has an accessible, disarming style of writing; and this book was easy to read. I have, many times, tried to find a suitable entry point for a sustainable yoga practice in my daily life. And I did find some useful ideas and inspiration in here for incorporating a yogic-styled approach to the the fast-paced lifestyle of the aspiring urban mystic.

However, I found Main's expectations as to the amount of time I would be able to devote to a yoga practice daunting and a little disheartening
...more
Ali L
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read (or must read!) for anyone looking for a basic explanation of yoga philosophy.
With it's casual tone, this book is for the average joe looking to learn what yoga is all about....AND it's for yoga practitioners (like me) to be reminded of the same thing! As westerners diving into yoga, I think we get caught up with the physical (asana) practice without recognizing that that is only one piece of the puzzle. Darren paints the whole yogic picture offering relatable anecdotes help to sim
...more
Amy
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
During my 12 years of playing with yoga, taking classes at a variety of studios, practicing on my own at home, and even reading library books about the subject, I had never had anyone so clearly explain the basic tenets and frameworks of yoga as in Darren Main's book. I'd heard a sprinkling of chakras and bandhas and pranayama, but never in a cohesive, organically arranged presentation. Main's strength is in the way he presents yoga for a western audience, giving a sweeping overview of a complex ...more
Andrea
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga
A very accessible, easy to read, and easy to understand overview of the major tenets of traditional yoga, including maya (illusion), lila (the cosmic dance), kundalini, karma, and the eight limbs of yoga as laid out by Patanjali a couple thousand years ago. Darren Main is a local San Francisco yoga teacher, and I recommend checking out his restorative yoga classes if you're in SF! He weaves in many of his own personal stories as well as stories about people he knows, which makes these ancient co ...more
Brandi
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga
I liked this book a lot and found it comforting at times. At other times, it annoyed the piss out of me. I think Mains is perhaps on the extreme end of things...too "new age" for my tastes (at least at this point in time). Nonetheless, his coverage of "the 8 limbs" is good and include a lot of personal experience. I read from it every day until it was finished. As a fairly new student of yoga (about 2 years in), I am really enjoying reading different perspectives and deliveries on Ashtanga/Raja ...more
Alissa
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga
Let's just go straight to the fact that I wish that some phrase other than "urban mystic" was the touchstone here. And that I wish it wasn't always italicized.

Once I can get beyond that, I thought that this was a really nice, easy to handle introduction to yoga philosophy. Having practiced hatha yoga for the past seven years or so, I'm just about to start a training program with Mr. Main as one of the instructors. Already, this has helped me to establish a foundation and framework to move forwa
...more
Kathy Tabora
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Darren Main does an exceptional job describing the struggles of the urban yogi as well as breaking down the fundamental concepts of yoga in a way anyone can both understand them and relate to them. I am currently in a 200 HR Teacher Training program after 3 years of practicing at yoga studios and Darren’s book has allowed me to understand concepts that I had never been exposed to (Maya) as well as better understand concepts I thought I understood. Darren makes the book real by incorporating his ...more
Bill
Sep 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga-etc
I am a bit torn by this book. First and most importantly I think it is a good, accessible who's who in the zoo for me as a uninformed beginner in yoga. But, when Main strays from this core message into comparing to western traditions there are several flat notes that sound out. On the whole, I do suggest this as a sane overview of terms and concepts for anyone curious about what may be going on in the yoga traditions at a thumbnail level. ...more
Susan
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Urban Mystic is the perfect book for anyone desiring to learn about yoga beyond the physical poses. Darren's writing is accessible and substantial, covering the spiritual teachings of Pantanjali’s eight limbs of yoga and how they apply to our modern world and everyday life. The material in this book will deepen my practice as a clinical social worker, health educator and yoga instructor by outlining how to stay present, focused and connected. ...more
Kristenboyle
This book was generally inspiring, but I felt like it was coming from a younger place than where I am now. That is, the author is single, no kids. I'm a mom, 2 kids. There were some places where I just felt it didn't apply to me. Darren Main, however, is an incredibly insightful and inspired yogi, and when he speaks, I will tune in. ...more
Desiree
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I had a love/hate relationship with this book. First it was required reading, so that made me not want to read it. However, throughout the book he had little nuggets of insight that I thought were so perfect. Then he would do something dochey, like use the title"uban mystic," in a sentence, and I would hate it again. I was expecting so much from this book, and I was pretty disappointed. ...more
Mary McManigle
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I read this book at the exact right time in my life. It changed the way I see myself and how I react to the people in my life. I also become fascinated with the concept of Maya. The best discourse on the Yamas/Niyamas I have read; Darren makes them very accesible.
Danielle Ragland
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
anxious to read it again, not for class [yoga instructor training], because i know that will change my approach to it. lots of esoteric thoughts... like i said, i want to read it again when i'm not trying to answer discussion questions from it. ...more
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Darren Main is a yoga and meditation instructor and author. He facilitates workshops and gives talks on yoga and modern spirituality throughout the United States and abroad and is the host of the internationally syndicated Inquire Within Podcast and the Living Yoga Series.

He teaches Yoga on the Labyrinth inside San Francisco’s iconic Grace Cathedral. He currently resides in Northern California wi
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