Adapted from my 2008 post at Idealog:
I've very much appreciated Donna Farhi's Bringing Yoga to Life. My Yoga teacher read a passage from the book that caught me and convinced me to purchase it.
My copy is dog-eared with all the quotes that have resonated with me. I'll share a few below. Largely, it's helped me re-integrate my personal and professional growth and spiritual ideals into my renewed Yoga practice:
"Contemplating death will bring you to an honest assessment of what gives your life meaning. This will lead you to a choice: to fritter away your hours or to take charge of yourself and your life. ... Ask yourself what truly generates joy and satisfaction for you. If you take this contemplation seriously, you may find yourself questioning a great many things that you previously took for granted. ... Take into account how you spend your time, your money and your sexual energy. Notice if you associate such a contemplation with a threat to all the things you currently enjoy and a life of vacant austerity and piousness. This association is a misinterpretation of the spiritual path as leading to an inert peacefulnes rather than a vibrant peacefuness, which is the lumimnous matrix behind all creative work and play."
"We can also make the practice of the yamas or 'outer restraints' and niyamas or 'inner restraints,' a source of deep contemplation on our thoughts, words and actions. The practices of not harming (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), not-stealing (asteya) using our energy wisely (brahmacharya) and not-grasping (aparigraha) can help us to determine right action in the world. We can take any one of the yamas as Gandhi did with his vow of nonviolence and plumb it deeply, making it the central source of our meditation or commitment in our life. When we take the practice of even one of these precepts to heart, it will lead us into an understanding of the others."
"This text exemplifies many nondualistic viewpoints. My leaning in the direction of nondualistic traditions and teaching comes from recognizing the trap that so many of us fall into on the spiritual path; exchanging our material striving for a spiritual one. Having experienced the results of such striving in the early years of my Yoga practice (characterized as it was by self-coercion and covert self-aggression), I recognize the danger in believing that our happiness lies somewhere else and that we can gain that happiness only by being someone else. Having come through to the other side, I can wholeheartedly conclude with my Vedantic colleagues that accptance is not born from nonacceptance any more than peace comes through the practice of violence."