Tracee Stanley begins the book with an invitation to join her in asking “Who Am I?” She writes, “When we lack the knowledge of our true Self, we lean into trying on the character traits of who others think we should be and what social norms say is ‘right.’ We stop dancing to the song of our own soul.” In The Luminous Self, Stanley offers teaching and practices to guide you back to your true essence, living a life of purpose and grace.
Stanley is also the author of Radiant Rest: Yoga Nidra For Deep Relaxation and Awakened Clarity, hosts the Radiant Rest podcast, and is the founder of the virtual community Empowered Life Circle. With an extensive background in yoga, Stanley provides no-nonsense meditation, breath work, yoga nidra and more throughout her books and teachings. Through it all, Stanley seeks to help others listen to their inner wisdom while living with clarity and joy. “What if we knew who we were at our core essence?” she writes. “What could we reclaim about ourselves that we thought was lost long ago? What would we remember about our place in the world and the underlying unity of all life?”
The Luminous Self is divided into two sections. Part one centers on reclaiming your power, and part two focuses on tangible practices to explore your inner self. “For our most authentic Self to be revealed,” she explains, “it is helpful to acknowledge the old stories, pain, and beliefs that the little self likes to hold on to.”
Part one dives into yogic philosophy, visualization, and community care practices to help the reader “root out the seeds of suffering.” Stanley incorporates journaling, breath practices, and guided imagery to help the reader walk through their inner world in a calming and supportive way, recommending readers reach out to those around them if difficult or unexpected heavy emotions arise.
Each chapter includes practices involving rituals, movement, meditation, rest, purification, and contemplation, with modifications and adaptations built in. Stanley ends each chapter with self-inquiry questions, guiding the reader deeper into processing what they’ve learned and experienced. Many chapters also include a community care section with suggestions for how to expand inner transformational growth to those around you.
Stanley incorporates yoga sutras into her teaching, bringing it all back to yoga. “Yoga practices,” she explains, “can clear enough space so we can touch a tiny thread of our inner knowing and being to intentionally and lovingly weave it through the whole of our life.” The Luminous Self includes several links to download guided meditation practices so you can listen to them with your eyes closed. Chapters explore how tapping into our ancestors can provide clarity and wisdom, how herbs support recalling your dreams (a long-standing Indigenous practice), and personal stories from Stanley as she candidly shares her experience with divorce and other challenges.
Full of hope, empathy, and wisdom, The Luminous Self is a breathtaking guide, full of suggestions, gentleness, and timely reminders. Stanley writes every word with thought and meaning, and her teachings apply to those who regularly practice (or teach) yoga as well as for those simply searching for more meaning in life.
As Stanley so beautiful recites at the beginning and close of the book:
“May we know the universe within our hearts
May we be nourished by a deep well of love
May we all be free.”