10 Dec Don’t miss these ultimate summer yoga books
With Australian summer and the festive season fast approaching, it’s time to get your chill mode on finally. Here come the days of lazy beach and poolside reading with an ice-cold drink by your side. Nowhere to be – nothing you must do. The only thing that might interrupt your day is a quick dip in the sea.
Oh, the bliss of endless summer days. Still, need some reading inspiration for summer? Fortunately for yoga lovers, some great new yoga books have come out in time for summer reading, offering insights on asanas, mindfulness, and taking your practice off the mat. Perfect for sinking your teeth into while you have a few days to read and chill. So, whilst you’re taking a load off, here are five yoga books you should add to your reading pile.
The five books worth packing on vacation or slipping into your beach bag to read are:
1. One Simple Thing by Eddie Stern
If you practice yoga, you know, it often makes us feel more productive, more caring, happier, and healthier. Longtime yogi Eddie Stern asks the question: How, exactly, does yoga do that? The first half of the book is a brief summation of the various limbs of yoga. It’s in the second half that things get interesting: Stern looks to neuroscience and other research to explain yoga’s myriad effects. For example, he describes how certain breathing practices, such as Ujjayi, arouses the body’s relaxing parasympathetic responses via the vagus nerve, and how chanting has been shown to stimulate both the left and right sides of the brain. The end of One Simple Thing includes a few suggested practices, such as resonant breathwork, a body scan, and loving-kindness meditation, which Stern reveals has been scientifically proven to boost positive emotions and social connections. And you just thought it felt good.
2. The Art of Mindful Reading: Embracing the Wisdom of Words by Ella Berthoud
Reading is an area especially ripe for mindfulness. So here’s to mindfully reading a book about mindful reading. This charming little book (it’s just over a hundred pages) declares that keeping your focus on a great book not only makes you happy, but it also trains your mind to avoid distraction. Audiobooks count too, Ella Berthoud asserts, because listening to a book also requires focus. If you’ve never tried reading while in a yoga pose, seven are suggested, from the obvious Sphinx Pose to the more challenging Downward Dog. Mindfulness exercises are scattered throughout.
3, The Complete Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book by Katie Lynch
This yoga anatomy colouring book is excellent for improving your understanding of how yoga poses happen in the joints, muscles, and bones. Colouring helps you see what goes on inside as you stretch or twist, making it an effective way to learn yoga anatomy. It’s especially useful for yoga teachers. “As you colour, bringing your mind to your own body can help bring awareness and reinforce concepts. Try to feel and internalise the muscle or structure in your own body,” Lynch suggests. Plus, breaking out the crayons is just plain fun. Drawing and learning at the same time – how fun (and sneaky)!
4, Life in the Flow by Kate Kendall
This Australian yoga teacher‘s new book is part-memoir, part-advice for taking your yoga out into all parts of your life. Kendall is all about slowing down and savouring experiences, something that helped her when she first discovered yoga while suffering from depression. For each of the book’s four sections — Grounding, Joy Riding, Connection, and Devotion — Kendall offers tips for your own life. In Connection, for example, she riffs on lessening our over-reliance on our mobile phones, which not only helps us boost our real-time relationships with others, it’s better for our posture and nervous system too. She also offers several yoga sequences in each section.
5, The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchel
This one is one classic yoga text that you can read over and over again. The Gita is the sixth book of the Indian epic Mahabharata. The Gita is a manual to living with the challenge of making choices, even when there are no great options. Stephen Mitchell‘s contemporary translation is a lyrical, enlivening read. There’s no Sanskrit here, but rather a soulful rendering of the poem into modern English. Mitchell has created a poetry that speaks directly to the heart. Tremblay calls the book a “gateway Gita,” because it introduces the story in a beautiful way that inspires students to move on to other translations to study the text more deeply. It’s not the most literal translation, but it’s so poetic and inspiring that people get turned on to the story. It inspires people to be more ethical and fundamentally nicer, and that is the key. It’s one of those epic stories about the struggle between good and evil. You can relate to it, even nowadays.
There are never too many book recommendations for summer reading. Doesn’t mean you, as a devoted yogi, only need to dive into yoga books. You can spice it up with some summer light reading in-between. These books are books you will always come back to. These are only a small list, there are so many more yoga books out there, that take you to the next level.
Breaking down the Gita (video-style)
If you haven’t heard of The Gita ever before, not to worry. Have a listen to Duncan Parviainen, one of Power Living’s teachers from Melbourne, as he is Breaking down the Gita in his latest inspirational talk over at Power Living‘s online yoga studio, Yogaholics. He cuts down the 700 philosophical verses on life, spirituality and all things yoga into 5 minutes. Learn all about wisdom, the path of devotion, and the doctrine of selfless action as Duncan takes you on a bite-sized philosophy moment. Even if you have read The Gita a hundred times, you can never get enough of it. Who doesn’t love a good battle tale filled with characters that tell you life lessons?
What yoga book is on your summer reading list, yogis?
Book recommendations are taken from Yoga Journal