Author of Be Your Spirit: A Guide to Health and Happiness Based on the Yoga Sutras, Dr Randy Niederman emailed to ask if I would be interested to review his book last year. Being a spiritual seeker, I was intrigued in Yoga Sutras – what’s that? It has taken me a while to get organized and read the book, and I must say I love this book!
Formally educated with a Master’s degree in social work, Niederman uses his experiences in the Western world, combined with Eastern philosophies and teachings, to create this self-help guide. Though Niederman says this book is “designed to help those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and addiction”, it is a mind, body, spirit program which will support all of us in improving our health and happiness. It draws upon teachings from Hinduism, in particular the Yoga Sutras written in approximately 200 BCE by Pantanjali.
The seven-step program that consists of the following: Understanding the relationship between Mind and Spirit; Increasing awareness of your Spirit; Increasing self-awareness through self-examination; Developing mental and emotional serenity; Learning how to live in harmony with others; Harnessing and cultivating your life force energy; Developing a meditative practice.
Be Your Spirit opens with Niederman sharing his personal spiritual journey, and the simplicity in his voice moved me. He asks, and answers the point behind seeking self-realisation in his Preface. Although the book has six chapters, but it is not a book you want to read quickly, or in one seating. There is lots to unpack, and reflect on when it comes to what spirituality is, its connection with your self-realisation, as well as the role your false self is playing. Niederman addresses listening to your spirit through your intuition, including through the symbols which appears in our lives. He introduces spiritual ecstasy, and the dream awareness exercise, the trance dance exercise, as well as concept of spirit time. By the way, all that was just in chapter one (see what I mean about reading slowly?)!
As a sexologist, I am most intrigued with the ways happiness is linked to pleasure in chapter two. Having learned Tantra and meditation, I found some of the practices taught familiar like the Micro-Cosmic Orbit. With clear understanding, in-depth analysis, vivid explanations, Niederman makes Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutra come alive. His explanation is clear and concise and easy to understand. I highly recommend this book all seeking to understand more about spirituality, and begin practicing mediation.
About the Author
Randy Niederman, Ph.D., M.S.W., has taught social work at the University of Georgia, Western New Mexico University, and Barry University (FL). His Ph.D. dissertation was a research study entitled, “The Conceptualization of a Model of Spirituality.” His Ph.D. is from the University of Georgia, and his Masters in Social Work is from Florida International University. Dr. Niederman has worked in the capacity of a psychiatric social worker at a psychiatric crisis unit and hospital emergency rooms.
He has practiced Eastern disciplines for most of his life. His mother was a Yoga teacher and he has been practicing Yoga since childhood. He has a second degree black belt in Aikido and has been a long-time practitioner of Tai Chi, Filipino martial arts, and Kendo. He has also been affiliated with Zen groups in South Florida and New Mexico.
About the Reviewer
Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and relationship coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is the author of the books Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and Orgasmic Yoga. She is also the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit www.ErosCoaching.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.