All sorts of lovely books and yoga DVDs have been making their way to me lately and I'm excited to share them with you. If you need a recommendation for what to read or watch the next time you have a rainy, cold day, I got you :)
What I'm Reading
The New Chinese Medicine Handbook by Misha Ruth Cohen
Before checking out this book, I felt intimidated by Chinese medicine and all its detailed information, regimens and routines. I love that the author offers an approachable guide; as she says, the book is an invitation to a shared healing journey. "If you have picked up this book," Cohen says, "you are searching for answers to the age-old questions: How do I live life fully, how can I heal myself of sickness, and who can guide me in this complex process?"
If you're like me and dislike going to the doctor and want a more holistic approach to health,
The New Chinese Medicine Handbook
is a great resource. It gives you a sense of how to approach health with the mind, body, and spirit all integrated as a whole instead of offering quick-fix, Western-minded solutions. Chinese medicine offers a new way of thinking about how to take care of yourself, how to find balance, and how to treat both physical and emotional disharmony.
Restoring Flexibility: A Gentle Yoga-Based Practice to Increase Mobility at Any Age by Andrea Gilats, PhD, RYT
I can't tell you how many times I've heard from friends, family, and strangers, "I'm too stiff and out of shape to practice yoga!" This is the perfect book for answering that statement with a resounding, "Yoga is for everyone!" I'd recommend this book for anyone who is a beginner and wants to increase mobility. If you or someone you know is intimidated by yoga, try this book. Andrea offers simple routines that anyone can do, and she includes great photos, step-by-step instructions and daily practices to try. The sections include:
- aligning bones and centering your breath
- restoring upper body flexibility
- restoring spinal flexibility
- restoring hip flexibility - flexors, and rotators and adductors
- restoring agility - the yoga sun salutation
- restoring lower body flexibility
- reclining joint releases and muscle relaxation
Restoring Flexibility is comprehensive, detailed, and a really smart approach for beginners. Although the title hints at age, I think this book is applicable to yogis of any age, and it's a wonderful guide to starting where you are instead of taking a class that's too fast-paced or intimidating. Highly recommended.
Essential Oils for Beauty, Wellness, and the Home by Alicia Atkinson
I love this book! It's filled with helpful information about essential oils and recipes and methods for using them. Need to fight the flu? Need relief from allergies? Need to relieve stress or feel better after a bad day? This book has essential oil remedies to help.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Hangover Relief Protocol: Detoxifying Blend
1 TBsp sweet almond oil
2 drops lemon essential oil
2 drops thyme essential oil
2 drops cilantro essential oil
2 drops rosemary essential oil
In a 0.5 oz (15 mL) blue or amber glass bottle, mix 1 Tbsp almond oil with 2 drops each of lemon, thyme, rosemary and cilantro. Cap tightly and shake to mix. Use, or store for later in a cool, dry location.
sweet almond oil
8 drops ylang ylang essential oil
4 drops clary sage essential oil
2 drops bergamot essential oil
2 drops sandalwood essential oil
What I'm Watching
"Will is that which changes thought into energy." - Yogananda
This is such an interesting film! A look at the reaction of the western world as a 'superstar guru' came to Los Angeles featuring commentary by Deepak Chopra, Russel Simmons, and even If you've read Autobiography of a Yogi, that's only the beginning to Yogananda's story :)
YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine with Parvati
Wow! Parvati is such a gifted and mesmerizing teacher... one of my favorite aspects to her teachings is the way she draws in energetic movement and lines of energy. She'll help you become more aware of the subtle intricacies of the practice. Each routine is incredibly revitalizing and healing. Great DVD.
What are you guys reading and watching these days? I'd love to hear! XO
Have you ever thought about creating a sacred space at home where you can practice yoga or meditate?
I’ve always had the goal of clearing a spot where I can do my home practice.
No matter if your home is spacious or small, creating an at-home yoga space is a great thing to do. I’ve even seen beautiful little backyard areas and corners in the garage transformed into custom, calm ‘studios!’
Here are some tips from Dane O’Leary at the Modernize.net team about how to create a yoga space at home.
How to Create a Yoga Space at Home
Not only is yoga helpful in becoming physically healthy, but it's also great for your soul.
Many people invest in gym memberships and expensive classes in order to master the art of yoga under the impression that having a yoga studio at home is too expensive or requires too much space to be realistic. However, just about anyone can have a yoga studio at home. Here’s how you can create a home yoga studio where you can balance body, mind and spirit.
Less is More
When it comes to a yoga studio, you don’t need much in the way of furniture and décor. In fact, most experts and yoga instructors will tell you that less is more. In your minimalist yoga studio, the most essential thing is just to have the space to practice.
Ideally, your at-home studio space will have a door you can close, so that you separate yourself from the rest of your home (and any kids or pets that want to join you!).
However, not everyone has the space available to designate a room for just yoga. A home office or spare bedroom — rooms that aren’t frequently occupied or are only occupied by you — are great for doubling as an at-home yoga studio.
To inspire serenity and tranquility, your yoga studio should feature calm, muted cool colors and warm cream colors. The color palette shouldn’t draw attention, but rather recede into the background. Lighting is also important. Installing a dimmer so that you have full control of your studio’s light would be optimal. Lamps with a three-way switch also give you more control over the amount of light.
Accessorize your yoga studio with things that will remind you of yoga and of your intent to improve your body and mind. Candles create a calming, serene environment and come in a variety of calming fragrances such as lavender, lemon, and jasmine. It might be a good idea to invest in a sound machine or an iPod dock you can use to play calming music. Potted plants are also soothing and therapeutic, lending themselves to the mood of your sanctuary.
Flea markets and yard sales are great places to find other treasures for your yoga studio. A trunk would be useful for storing your yoga supplies and a bookshelf or wall shelves would house candles, books, and inspirational items. You might consider hanging some posters, pictures, or artwork on the walls, but make sure they embody tranquility; things like ocean and beach scenes, Impressionist and abstract art are great for an at-home yoga studio.
Finish on the Floor
Professionals say that the floor of your yoga studio is perhaps the most important feature of your at-home yoga studio. Most recommend hardwood floors since they don’t get as cold as tile and other types of floors, they give a little while you move while being firm enough for support, and they won’t hurt your knees. Carpets are too soft and are poor for stability, but would be a good second choice.
Every yoga enthusiast needs a good yoga mat, perhaps more than one if you plan to ever have companions join you in your yoga studio. Large pillows and cushions also make for great floor seating as well.
Head to Modernize.com for more home ideas and inspiration.
Thanks, Dane, for these awesome ideas!
Photos via Unsplash.
PS How to create a space for hot yoga at home.