In the higher civilizations of ancient, Vedic India, the great spiritual teachers known as "rishis" created the Four Ashrams (or stages of life) as a way for people to instill their lives with deeper meaning. These four stages were designed to bring people more inner peace, happiness, and greater health and longevity. In this book, a Western yogini brings the Four Ashrams to life for the modern day.
The Four Stages of Yoga highlights stories and conversations that encompass the journey yogis take from birth to the last moments of life. Though yoga philosophy has been around far longer than most realize, the deeper nuances of its effects on our own lives is revealed in this modern day expose. Here, we see how Vedic India's classic Four Ashrams of Life are experienced in the context of a yoga community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Just as Vedic myths have been carried down through eons to entertain and enlighten us, the true stories and visions encompassed herein speak to the very heart of living yoga in an everyday world. The first stage includes stories of childbirth and how yogis can draw a spiritual soul into their family, to rites of passage for children, and how yogic schools for young adults help instill and deepen compassion. During the creation of a unique yoga college come stories of visits with the Dalai Lama at his home in McLeod Ganj, as well as experiences with yogis, rishis, and mystics throughout India.
In the second stage of life we explore how householder relationships evolve; conscious work for those with monastic tendencies; how Vedic astrology can assist our lives as well as how yogis approach love, romance, and celibacy; and the mysticism that surrounds a yogic marriage ritual.
In the third stage we are introduced to how yogic couples, singles, and monastics are living their lives in creative new ways. We read stories of how yogis develop devotion, personal experiences with great souls like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and how married couples and singles can live more fulfilling lives.
The fourth stage offers reports of those embracing the Vedic sannyas vows, and how they live their lives during this remarkable and powerful stage of surrender and transcendence. Conversations with rishis, yogic psychics, and those experiencing this cycle provide a lens that offers hope and satisfaction for the last stages of life, and the final preparation for death and the afterlife.