As I tend to talk a lot about the various ideas and concepts I come across while teaching, students will often ask me what I am reading. Below you will find an assortment of books that I have read, and would recommend to others, because the act of reading the book in some way shifted my world view.
Author: Yumi Sakugawa
Why its included here: We all need a little pick me up and emotional boost every now and then.
Author: Thich Nhat Hahn
Why its included: Because it changed my perspective in life. Period.
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Why its included: Because we all need the occasional reinforcement to follow our craziest dreams as creative living beings!
Author: Pema Chodron
Why its included: Because we all need some help in making friends with our minds.
Author: Don Miguel Ruiz
Why its included: The four principals/agreements to personal happiness and freedom laid out by Ruiz are simple and easy to understand.
Title: Man’s Search for Meaning
Author: Victor E. Frankl
Why its included: Sometimes we need a reminder that we do really have a sense of choice, and power, over how we experience life – especially in the face of what may seem to be a completely powerless situation.
Author: Joseph Campbell
Why its included: For anyone interested in yoga, this is a must read! Campbell does such a great job of discussing many aspects of the mythology I had never learned.
The Language of Yoga
Author: Nicholai Bachman
Why It’s Included: I am very much an advocate of being as respectful towards a practice that has offered me so much. In that vein, I find it helpful to use the Sanskrit language – at least to the best of my abilities – each time I teach. This practice was emphasized to me by Lindsey Gonzales when I did my first YTT.
Learning To See
Author: Anne Lamott
Why its included: Everything she discusses with regards to the writer’s life can be applied to almost any other career. Plus, she’s really funny throughout most of it.
Author: Jack Canfield with Janet Switzer
Why its included: The book is an accumulation of multiple sources of wisdom on how to attain one’s goals in various aspects of life.
Seeing The Two Games Of Life
Author: Larry & Hersch Wilson
Why its included: In reading this book, I came to realize – perhaps for the first time – how important it is that I grow up emotionally. To this point, no other book has made that thought as clear to me.
Learning To Live Better
Authors: The Dali Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams
Why its included: “The book of Joy” presents a perspective shift that I found profound for how I was looking at life and how I might instead choose to look at life.
Book: The Tao of Pooh
Author: Benjamin Hoff
Why its included: Hoff explains Taoism in a very easy to understand and yet profound manner – all through characters familiar to most Westerners.
The Bhagavad Gita
Author: Swami Kriyananda
Why its included: This is one of two versions I have read that I found to be particularly informative, and easy to digest, in terms of this sacred text.
Title: The Bhagavad Gita – A Walk-Thru For Westerners
Author: Jack Hawley
Why it’s included: Hawley is able to discuss his relationship with The Gita (The Song of the Lord) in a manner that is a lot easier to read, understand, and digest than a lot of other copies I have come across. This is the second of the two copies I have enjoyed a lot. For many individuals, I would encourage that they start with this version before moving to the one listed below.
Author: Neale Donald Walsch
Why it is included: The book provides some interesting perspectives that both challenge as well as comfort those who are hoping to learn more about why we are here and what we are here to do.
Author: Alan W. Watts
Why its included: Watts presents a series of arguments that help provide both tools as well as insight into our lives.
Author: Caroline Myss
Why its included: Myss presents a few nuggets that are worth considering any time life presents you with some set backs. One of them being that perhaps illness is presented in one’s life not because they have done something “bad” to deserve it, but instead because it serves as an opportunity for one to fully grow into the person they have the capacity to become and perhaps were always destiny to become – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
The Quest To Be You
Author: Brene Brown
Why it’s included: Brown clearly describes what I feel is perhaps the hardest struggle of my life – “to belong everywhere and no where.” Through narratives she discusses this uniquely human quest, that until I read her book I thought I was alone in pursuing.
Everything Is Beautiful
Author: Sarah Wilson
Why its included: Wilson weaves science, philosophy, and real life examples to discuss the topic of anxiety. For one who has a propensity for anxiety, and didn’t really know it, I found that that this book was was both insightful as well as funny.
Good Grief: A Guide
Author: Antonio Sausys
Why its included: Loss is a part of life. Whether we want to admit it or not, each of us will at some point or another, in some way or another, face loss. That loss could be in the form of a relationship, a profession, or a way of being. In such instances, it helps to know you’re not alone and that there are some things you can do to help yourself through the process.
Taking Another Perspective
Author: Jessamyn Stanley
Why its included: Having come to Asana practice through the medium of dance, I feel unable to understand some of the pain that some individuals may face every time they step onto their mats. In reading this book, I found many of Stanley’s personal stories and sharings to be very insightful as well as relatable. She also did a great job in terms of addressing the questions and concerns that many new students pose as well as laying out some of the philosophical underpinnings of the practice.
The Spiritual TripBook: Be Here Now
Book: Be Here Now
Author: Ram Dass
Why its included: Through both illustrations as well as a prescriptive text section at the end, Dass discusses some of the more subtle aspects of a deeper spiritual practice as well as the means to get there sans drugs.
Healing The Trauma Within
Author: Resmaa Menakem
Why it’s included: This book was recommended to me by a fellow participant after having a really hard time at the last training I took with my Senior Teacher. I am currently still reading through the book, however so far it has provided many insights as to: why Race continues to be an issue in the U.S.; why I as an individual am so anxious all the time; as well as means to settle my body so that I can begin to heal the trauma that is represented by my ever present anxiety. What I am enjoying about the book is that Menakem has practices for White American, African American, as well as Blue American Bodies (i.e. Members of our Police Forces).
Things Aren’t As They Appear
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Why It’s Included: Because sometimes we all need a little reminder that it isn’t our “strengths” that make us wonderful, but instead what are often perceived to be our “weaknesses”
The Most Important Gift
Author: Kristen DeLeo
Why It’s Included: To really be able to die well, requires that one first have lived well. To do that, requires that we courageously embrace all aspects of life, which inherently include death. DeLeo’s book provides insight into how we can better show up for one another so that as we or our loved ones near the end of life we’ve been mastering the skills to be able to handle that natural transition with as much love, compassion, and presence as we are capable.