Since there was such a good response to the previous post I shared with 11 recommended reads for yogis I thought I would share a few more books I’ve enjoyed recently if anyone is looking for something inspiring to dip into!
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
This book comes from the same author as Eat, Pray Love and Committed (both of which I really loved). Big Magic is about choosing to live a creative life, being brave and finding inspiration. I really loved this read for the easy story-telling type narrative. Elizabeth shares her own journey of living a creative life – both her successes and her stumbling blocks and how important she believes it is to continue to keep creating. I found it really inspiring to read about all the other hundreds (and thousands) of things she created and write and submitted and submitted and submitted, before her big explosion of Eat Pray Love.
- Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: Revised and Expanded Edition: The breakthrough programme for conquering anxiety, depression, anger and obsessiveness
This book is written by a leading neuropsychiatrist about the chemical make up of the brain and how it is affected by stress, exercise, food, drugs and all sorts of other things! It is a very interesting read as it digs quite deep into the science of the psyche. However, since it is written by a neuropsychiatrist, quite a number of the “solutions” that he expresses for the various brain changes are to go straight to medication, whereas from a yoga perspective I think that a large number of these things (stress, anxiety etc) can be aided through the practice of meditation and yoga. The concept of neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to change itself) is something that is mentioned in Ruby Wax’s book Sane New World (also a great read) and supports the idea of more alternative therapies before heading straight to the Zoloft.
- Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism (Shambhala Classics)
A super interesting read – although it does get rather deep and “out there” half way through, where you have to read the same sentence several times to make sure you’ve actually got it correctly. It is crammed with very insightful and powerful thoughts and ideas on spirituality. (I read the first paragraph and then had to stop for half an hour to make a thousand notes). The premise of this book is that there is a tendency (particularly in this modern age) to attach ourselves to spirituality – or to the idea of ourselves as spiritual beings which in actuality defies the entire purpose of spirituality. As we move down the spiritual path we may find ourselves identifying with this new version of ourselves or our lives – which is in essence the ego in action, which negates the spiritual path. This book takes a look at cutting through this spiritual materialism in a kind of meta way. Have I lost you yet? Look out for the bit on the monkeys in the room with five windows. #deep
- The Happiness Project
A lawyer turned author decided for one year to commit to making a new change to her life every month, focusing on a different area of her life, to see if she could make herself “happier”. It chronicles each month and the changes she implemented and the results she saw in her own life. It talks a lot about creating good habits and she shares a lot of “yoga-type” concepts like mindfulness, meditation and gratitude, but from a non-yoga perspective.
- Yoga Girl: Finding Happiness, Cultivating Balance and Living with Your Heart Wide Open
Before I begin, I would just like to tell you that I have a signed copy of this book, thank you very much. (I was away in South Africa when Rachel (we’re clearly on first name basis) visited London, so my friend Holly got her to sign a copy for me! With my name and all!). ‘Yoga Girl’ the book is very simply written and you will literally finish it in a weekend (or a night). Rachel shares a bit about her life and her journey to yoga. Part of me wishes she had shared a little more and gone a little deeper with everything (this may have been a strategic move pending book number 2!) but it’s also filled with some beginner yoga sequences and yummy veggie recipes. So apart from the fact that many photos are repeated from instagram and the writing is beautiful (although simple), I am literally Rachel’s NUMBER ONE FAN GIRL, so obviously I can’t fault this book at all. I’d lend you my copy, but since Rachel has actually personally touched it, I don’t let it out my sight at all. Sorry.
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
I was recommended to read this book by three different people and I’m really glad I did! Brené’s TED talk I think was the thing that has put her on the map. She is a sociologist who studies human connection, interaction and our need for belonging. She looks at the concept of vulnerability being a defining factor in us being able to live lives that are whole hearted and fulfilled. A really interesting read with loads of scientific case studies and interviews. I found loads of correlation with this book and A New Earth: Create a Better Life, although Brené comes from a much more research-based approach.
- The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice
This is a great read for anyone wanting to read a little more about the philosophy and practice of yoga. I love how the tone of this book is simultaneously modern and ancient. Ancient in that the concepts are not dumbed down or reduced for a modern audience, but they are presented in a very friendly and engaging manner – so that it feels like it fits right into the modern yoga studio.
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika
This book looks at the physical (or Hatha) practice of yoga. It’s a whopper of a book so not an easy one to slip into your handbag! They look at various asanas from a philosophical point of view as well as dig a little deeper into the practice of kriyas (cleansing practices), the breath and the physical aspects of all things yoga.
- Mudras: Yoga In Your Hands
Mudras or hand gestures are part of the more subtle yoga practice. It has been said that the flexibility of the fingers is a direct indication of the flexibility of the body and this book is an exploration of those various finger and hand gestures which aim to aid certain issues from a holistic healing approach. There are so many different ways to look at or explain mudras that sometimes it can feel a bit frustrating that there is never a “this is why this mudra works” answers – but I think it’s partly one of those things where some degree of belief is required in the mind in order for it to be effective. The book has plenty of diagrams with different mudras that you can practice to aid various different ‘conditions’ both physical and mental.
Note: If I’ve done this correctly (which is dubious) then this page contains affiliate links – which means if you purchase any books through the links on the page, you pay the regular price you would, you get the book, and I get some commission. Win, win, win. (Granted, it took me several hours to figure out how to install it all – so we’ll see.)