Enhancing your Practice: Yoga Books

I’ve been writing about various ways to bring your yoga off the mat. Today I am writing about Yoga Books, which combines two of my favorite things, yoga and reading! Here are some insights for taking yoga off your mat and onto your bookshelf! I’m an avid reader. My husband and I gave out our favorite books as wedding gifts. Not being in the middle of at least one book is a real fear for me, I can’t think of the last time I wasn’t reading at least one novel and one non-fiction book. And of course this includes books about yoga, spirituality, meditation, Ayurveda and more. Many Many books. But not all books are created equal and not everyone wants to invest half their incomes in books like me. So I’ve narrowed down my top 5 favorite yoga books to share with you. Would love to hear your thoughts. And read on to the bottom to find out about my new yoga book club!

Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times., Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, P.T. If you’ve done restorative yoga before you know the magic created from strategically placed blankets, pillows and blocks. If you haven’t I highly recommend spending some time on restoring yourself. And if you don’t have time for a class this book is a great way to learn how you can place yourself in some delicious restorative yoga poses. Complete with pictures and inspiring quotes on every page this book is essential for those times when you wish you had a magic tool to help you relax! I had the great pleasure of getting to take a training with Judith last month and I’ve regularly returned to this book to create ideal restorative yoga sequences for myself and my yoga students.

Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards, William J. Broad. This book caused quite a controversy when it was first published, accompanied by an article in the New York Times detailing some of the negative sides of yoga including physical injuries and false health claims. Since along with being a yoga teacher I am a Public Health Scientist I LOVED this book! I love data and when it doesn’t show what I want it to show that is all the more reason to encourage dialogue and continued research. The book isn’t all negative, in fact it details the very many amazing benefits of yoga and have they have been proven effective. If you are a yoga nerd (like me) you'll love this book!

Cool Yoga Tricks, Miriam Austin. I am going to right away say that I HATE the title of this book. Its content, however, is amazing! A compilation of tools and yes, tricks to modify yoga poses to better fit your body. As a private yoga teacher I use this book all the time to help my clients come into a pose in a way that best suits their bodies. And as a practitioner I am constantly consulting this book to enhance my own practice and work into more advance poses. With just a few props and perhaps a helpful friend you can enhance your hope yoga practice.

The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga, Bernie Clark. This is my favorite Yin Yoga book. And I have a great deal of Yin Books! Bernie Clark has been studying with the founders of Yin Yoga for years and has created a book that combines the philosophy, anatomy and science behind Yin Yoga. The book includes a breakdown of all the Yin poses with modifications, appropriate counter poses, and reference to the comparable Yang pose. It also includes an accessible breakdown of the meridian lines and how you can use Yin Yoga to work with the meridian lines. If you are interested in deepening your Yin practice this is the book to get

Bringing Yoga to Life , Donna Farhi. Donna Farhi’s book provides advice for how you can take your yoga practice into “real life”. She writes for each reader to become their own teacher, in order to utilize yoga to create new patterns in their mind, ultimately evolving how they live their life. A teacher read from this in class one day, after class when I asked her about it she gave me the book! A heartfelt gift is always the best and I’ve cherished this book ever since. That is why I’ve made it the first reading for my Yoga Book Club.

Yes that is right! I am starting a Yoga Book Club right here in Brussels. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about how to enhance your yoga practice but not sure where to start, or you want a group to discuss yogic texts, this is the place for you. The first club meeting will be 23 May. Join the Facebook Event to stay up to date on location and additional details. Hope to see you there!