Carried by a Promise: A Life Transformed by Yoga

Review Date - 2011-07-07

Carried by a Promise: A Life Transformed by Yoga by Swami Radhananda, Timeless Books 2011

What led an ordinary mother and teacher from a small western Canadian town to become Swami Radhananda? She's now the spiritual director of Yasodhara Ashram in Kootenay Bay, BC and lineage holder of Radha Yoga, the legacy teachings of Swami Sivananda Radha (1911-1995). One could call it commitment or surrender, as both are necessary. But after reading her memoir, Carried by a Promise: A Life Transformed Through Yoga, I know the answer is love. The book, compiled from her daily journal reflections, is a testament to the bond between teacher and student in yoga, one that expresses the trust and love of a spiritual marriage. She describes it as, ''a love for her, for all she has carried, for what she has created and for how she has changed my life''.

Reading this book as a yoga student and teacher, I find questions on every page that apply to my journey. What am I learning? Is there only one way to teach? What are we giving to people and what are we protecting? Can I be aware of where my energy is going or what I am taking from others? How to keep perspective without being drawn in? What are the possibilities? The questions speak to the power of daily reflection in guiding positive change.

The book reflects Swami Radhananda's experience as a woman living first as a householder in the world and then as a sanyasi at Swami Radha's western ashram. We meet her as Mary-Ann in 1977, the mother of two young children, an innovative educator and wife of an intellectual whose potential is imploding. With her marriage in trouble, she struggles with depression and questions the purpose of her life. Swami Radha and yoga provide a lifeline out of the mire and Mary-Ann starts to find her own path of Light.

Her efforts to embody yogic ideals within her family, her work and her yoga practice create an honest picture of what it means to live a spiritual life. Her continuing challenges when living in the ashram community, her steadfast commitment to her guru, her loving connection to Divine Mother, all weave a tapestry of integrity, determination and devotion. Swami Radhananda emerges as an intelligent, practical woman, who uses her mind constructively in academic studies, a career, family and spiritual community.

Swami Radhananda is an inspiration to all those willing to climb the steep path to self-mastery. Ultimately this is a story of dedicated love and surrender to the Divine Light through devotion to a guru. No matter what lineage you follow or what branch of yoga you practice, this book will be a wonderful resource.


Arlene Trustham 

Carried by a Promise: A Life Transformed by Yoga, is published by Timeless Books. Order at: