Taking care of your body is so important. You don't have to be a regular at the yoga studio to know this. Whether we're on or off the mat, we must constantly work to remain in balance, releasing stress so we can think clearly and moving mindfully so that we avoid injury.
Today I want to share two incredible books that help me stay stress-free and pain-free. They're full of incredible information about anatomy and the body, so they're a great resource for me to use as a yoga teacher when I'm planning classes or helping a student who needs a modification.
But I'd honestly recommend these books to anyone, regardless of your age, activity level, or body type... they contain a wealth of knowledge about releasing stress and muscular tension, and the poses and exercises are shared in a way that's easy to read.
It doesn't matter if you've done yoga... if your body hurts or you feel stressed, go read these books! :)
The Roll Model by Jill Miller
This book is a guide to using various roller balls and props for releasing muscular tension. I am so grateful for my yoga tune-up therapy balls that came with the book. I use them several times a week, especially if I'm sore after a class. They're compact and easy to carry in a purse or backpack, and you can use them in so many different spots throughout the body!
A while back, I was suffering from intense pain in my low back and glutes, with sensation that felt like sciatica. Often the best relief throughout my day would be from using the therapy balls and the hip exercises from The Roll Model. Combined with exercises such as mula bandha to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles, this book seriously changed my outlook and helped me release so much pain and stress. I highly recommend it as a resource to anyone who is suffering from pain anywhere in the body, and especially to all yoga teachers, coaches, trainers, and massage therapists.
Photos via Yapana Yoga.
The Yapana Way to Self-Care and Well-Being by Leeann Carey
The author of this book, Leann Carey, has designed an incredible system of yoga for unique needs. By using props and careful alignment, she makes any pose accessible to any body. I love the way the book is organized and the comprehensive illustrations with specific sequences. She even has sections for enhancing the immune system, recovery for athletes, and relief from PMS.
In an interview about the book, Leann said that if she could recommend only 3 poses a day to a yoga student, they would be fish pose, legs up the wall pose, and revolved knee squeeze pose (pictured below). These three poses incorporate back bending, supported twisting, and relief to the lower back and feet. Each of them are incredibly powerful postures to incorporate into your daily practice!
Jill and Leeann each have over 20 years of experience studying and teaching yoga, and it's easy to tell when you read their books. I am so grateful to have these amazing titles on my shelf of yoga books, and I can't wait to share copies with my friends and fellow teachers this year at Christmas ;)