My Top 3 Yoga Philosophy Book Recommendations on the Meaning of Life

3 Great Yoga-Based Books On The Philosophy of Life

In my prior blog post, 3 Reasons To Consider Augmenting Your Surf Practice With Yoga, I discussed why I shifted my perspective as a physical therapist on yoga practice. In that post, I talked about the mental and spiritual benefits of practicing yoga and living in the moment and practicing Samadhi. You can think of Samadhi as a place of awakening, blissful living, luminous life or enlightenment. 

Today, I would like to share with you a little bit about why I feel yoga, surfing, and midlife are so well aligned.

For those who see surfing is a life long sport (and for those of you who've been 'at it' for some time), you'll know there are seasons in your life where maybe you're in the water more times than others. That said, for die-hard or recreational surfers alike, catching a wave and experiencing 'the glide' is, in my mind, the physical embodiment of Samadhi.

I personally feel that when you connect to surfing and connect to the ocean, there's a lot of BS that you end up putting to the side. More superficial and materialistic things generally become less of a priority, and, in place, spending time in the ocean, connecting with nature, getting exercise, stress relief, and community all in one place - become a priority. 

And, for those of you approaching midlife, I think you can understand and appreciate the yoga concept Samvega, the idea of prioritizing what's important to you.

To best illustrate how yoga philosophy ties into this, I'll share a passage from Stephen Cope's book, The Wisdom of Yoga A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living about Samvega: 

Samvega is a developmental state not mentioned in Western psychological texts. It brings with it a realization that objects of grasping (money, fine things, titles, fame, even people- when seen as objects) cannot supply any true satisfaction. It involves a radical realization that all objects are intrinsically empty of the capacity to feed us in the way we really want- or need- to be fed. …….

Even though this developmental stage in is as common in human life as adolescence, one will search Western psychology books in vain for a clear description of its causes and trajectory. We attempt to fit the complexities of samvega into our old, usually pathological categories.. trivializing it as a ‘midlife-crisis’.

In yogic texts the samvega is often translated as vehemence because it brings with it an unshakeable resolve to develop into a fully alive human being.. Patanjali introduces the term Samvega in the first chapter of the yoga sutra using the word to indicate ‘wholehearted’ determination to find a way out of suffering… 

So there you have it. Cheers to our awesome mainstream culture in the USA that focuses on materialistic and tangible things, living in the past or the future, and creating pathology/fear/ and scarcity around a time in our lives when we are actually seeing clarity and brilliance. It's no wonder that we seek out surfing, yoga, and ways to find our path. 

If you are interested in reading more from Cope's book or other books about yoga philosophy, please check out 3 of my favorite books (including this one I just quoted) below:

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