“I am discovering your book “The Yamas & Niyamas” right now. I’m a Zen priest, martial arts instructor, and Yoga practitioner. Your insights are bringing streams of joy into my heart, flowing in through old dry riverbeds that I thought would never flow again.
I am a “recovering” fundamentalist Christian Pastor who now practices primarily in eastern traditions. Although this has been a good transition, it still feels like I’ve been through a divorce. Your words are healing in very subtle ways.
A deep bow to you, my friend!” – Paul
“I received your book “The Yamas and Niyamas” as a gift soon after I became certified to teach Kripalu Yoga last year. I was initially excited to learn more about the topic of the Yamas and Niyamas after my brief introduction to them at Kripalu. I quickly became totally engrossed in your book. There are SO many lessons that I can apply to my personal life. I look to your book for inspiration, comfort, and guidance. I also use your book in every yoga class I teach! I pick one Yama or Niyama and focus on it for the whole week. Thank you for creating such an enlightening guide! The depth of your mental, physical, and spiritual lessons have brought tears to many eyes in my yoga room.” -Crystal Galleher
“I have just finished reading the Yamas and Niyamas for what may be the fifth time. I read your book daily and have found much inspiration and direction in your book. It is so useful and inspirational. I have given it to several of my friends hoping they too will find the gifts inside your words. I really appreciate your book and wish to thank you for your lovely message which is so important. I cannot say enough good about your work and say thank you.” – Jill Hansen
“Your clear, personal, and wonderfully poetic offerings will inspire me personally and in terms of what I offer in my classes for years to come. I cannot thank you enough for the energy you put into this offering.”
-Joe Kara, Yoga Instructor, Los Angeles CA
“Your talk this weekend was inspiring. Your understanding of the ancient texts has already lent new depth to my practice and life. I’m a reader and so have read my fair share of the ancient texts, but now I want to reread them all in light of the insight you’ve provided.”
-Bryan Shelly, Ambassador for Project Yoga Richmond
“Our staff and community are quite the fans of your book … in fact we use it as the basis of our staff culture and to nominate our Yogi of the Month.”
–Pattie Wagner, Release Yoga, Akron OH
Finally, a (great) book on the yamas and niyamas
For me most of the classical commentaries on the yamas and niyamas read like a shot of vodka. They’re pure and quick, and when I’m done I’m not sure what hit me.
Then there’s the Shirley Temple experience of reading about the yamas and niyamas in the popular media. (Wow, is that ever sweet! But um…wasn’t there supposed to be something in it???)
By contrast, I’ve just finished reading a new commentary that went down like a glass of really good wine. It has substance, overtones, complexity, and it bears the flavor of something lovingly aged and bottled with care.
Like the taste of a fine wine, the wisdom of Deborah Adele’s The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice lingers nicely after the sip.
It illustrates the shades of meanings of each ethical principal with copious examples – brief vignettes from the life of the author, folk stories from myriad traditions, moving quotations from luminaries of all stripes. One of my many favorites is from her discussion of the niyama of self-study:
There is a Cherokee story in which the grandfather is explaining to his grandson that two animals live inside his heart, a wolf and a lamb. When the grandson asks what he is to do, the grandfather replies, ‘Feed the lamb.'”
Think about that little grain of wisdom for a minute. If it doesn’t start a pearl growing in you, there are countless others in the book that may.
But what really distinguishes her commentary from the others I’ve read is its consistent emphasis on the relationships between ethical principles. Focusing on one in each chapter, she demonstrates how deeply the ten yamas and niyamas interdepend. And she illustrates over and over again how they relate to the value systems we apply – whether consciously or unconsciously – in every moment of our daily lives.
This is a humble book. Its cover art may not grab your eyeballs on Amazon, and if you crack it open you won’t find soulful photos or glossies of gods and chakras. You’ll probably finish reading it in a few hours. But even a small investment in this luminous paperback may leave you permanently richer.
~ Review by Mid Walsh from Elephant Journal
Really great book
In my opinion, this is the best and most important book on yoga to be released in a long time. Why? Because the ten yamas and niyamas -as specified by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras- are at the core of yoga and (I believe) essential for real personal growth. And yet they are given cursory treatment by many if not most yoga teachers in the west, who seem unaware of the subtle facets and profound qualities of these “jewels.” And they are ignored by many of today’s mental health professionals, who seem unaware that modern psychotherapeutic approaches are embedded in yoga’s prescriptions for “ethical” practice of restraints and observances. Somebody really needed to write a book on this! And I must say, Deborah Adele really delivers the goods.
Take for instance, Adele’s chapter on Satya (truthfulness, honesty). It is a work of art in its own right, offering the wisdom and clarity one needs to liberate powerful forces within oneself. In this chapter, Adele includes the sensible yet unusual insights of Carl Jung, Yogiraj Achala, and Mahatma Gandhi, among others, along with her own hands-on understanding. In the process, Adele addresses, for all of us, the fear (dangerousness) involved with being completely truthful, the differences between “Nice” and “Real,” the epic partnership between truth (satya) and nonviolence (ahimsa), and the value of conducting our own Gandhi-esque “experiments” in truth.
There is so much more to this chapter than the glimpse I’ve given here, but I hope I’ve communicated the fact that this chapter (and the book as a whole) has great depth and breadth. It is evident that Adele has immersed herself in the yamas and niyamas, emerging with lessons, teachings, and insights that could be of value to anyone. Highly recommended. I learned plenty.
The author’s website provides lots of useful supplementary material, including some excellent video overviews, radio interviews and discussions. I liked the fact that Adele SOUNDED like a gentle, wise, effective person.
I confess that I have a bias here. I believe that my own life has been influenced, and even transformed, whenever I’ve aligned with the yamas and niyamas over the last 15+ years. And as a result, I was in the process of writing my own (first) book on this long-neglected topic, emphasizing how it relates to progress in psychotherapy. Well, I still think there’s a future in that book! Suffice it to say that I share the author’s enthusiasm for her topic.
~ David H. Peterzell, Ph.D., Ph.D. (Comment taken from Amazon)