4 Amazing Yoga Books

Photo by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

Are you looking for inspiration for your yoga practice?

Lately I keep coming back to these four books. 

I highly recommend checking them out, whether you're a yoga teacher looking for creative ideas for class, or you're creating your own home practice. These books offer creative ideas, new flows, ways to make yoga accessible and relevant, and beautiful quotes to read or share during meditation. 

Each of these books is extraordinary.

by Elena Brower and Erica Jago



This book is a magical exploration of yoga told through stunning images and thoughtful essays. I love the little stick figure sequencing, theme ideas, interactive journaling prompts, and thoughtful sense of awareness that comes from engaging with this book. Watch the Indiegogo video here for an inspiring look behind the scenes of what went into the project.


by Linda Sparrowe



This series of heartfelt essays and photographs shows an inside look at where people practice yoga in their homes. The book features interviews with famous teachers and practitioners such as Seane Corn, Rodney Yee, David Life and Sharon Gannon, Shiva Rea, and Elena Brower as they reflect on practical tips, sequencing ideas, and inspiration found in the teachings of yoga.

What I love most about this book is that it is very down-to-earth and accessible -- you don't have to have years of experience to feel comfortable reading it and taking some of the wisdom and applying it to your own practice.

There's something very real, tangible, and lovely about this collection; reading it feels like being in someone's actual living room with your mats rolled out side by side, just chatting and breathing and trying out the poses.


by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison


This book is a go-to on days when I'm feeling stuck, uninspired, worried, or overwhelmed. Each passage offers something immediate. I love that the book moves through explorations of all eight limbs of yoga, and it offers thoughts and ideas that make the practice a human experience.

There are pages in this book that I read over and over again, because they reveal the heart of this practice. I love the way Rolf Gates says it, "The real payoff of a yoga practice, I came to see, is not a perfect handstand or a deeper forward bend—it is the newly born self that each day steps off the yoga mat and back into life."

by Maya Fiennes


When I first started yoga, I practiced with Maya Fiennes, watching her DVD from my living room. I was such a mess. This incredible woman inspired me to start tuning in to my inner wisdom, and to begin understanding my own strength. Years later, I discovered this book, and now love her, and her approach for yoga, even more.

This book offers insight on the different chakras, guiding you through a Kundalini asana practice focused on each energy center, as well as meditation, food, daily practices, and spiritual rituals to balance the energy. It gives a comprehensive view of how we can apply yoga to mind, body and spirit. I like to think of this book as a guide book to creating happiness and peace. Maya's voice offers that-- a sense of grounding and peace. It's a great read for any yoga practitioner, or even someone who's never tried yoga before.



Photo by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

What are your favorite yoga books? Which ones do you keep coming back to?

PS A book for yogis who are new to the practice, and a book for yogis who love poetry.

Rejuvenate and Release (Yogi Surprise April)


As you move through life, you’ll come into contact with various negative energies, frustrations, stressors, and people who annoy you.

What do we do about this? How do we make peace with what’s around us? How do we release our attachments to these influences?

I’ve found that certain rejuvenation practices make a big difference in my life. When I’m mindful, and make time for yoga, meditation, and bodywork, I feel much better.


What I love most about my Yogi Surprise box subscription is that it is a reminder to honor myself. It’s always filled with wonderful resources and tools for keeping my energy elevated. The box is a reminder to renew – to enjoy a little luxury, and to let go of the pace of everyday life.

And the box is filled with creative, inexpensive items—in short, it is a great deal. If you can afford to treat yourself to massages, and yoga studio classes, that’s wonderful to do. But many of us limit our wellness practices, whether because of money or (more often) because of time! Limiting yourself and distancing yourself from wellness and happiness is a choice.

Choose wellness and happiness! Maybe check out Yogi Surprise, or take inspiration from the items they share ;)

Here are a few of my favorite items from the April Yogi Surprise box:

Delicious superfood snacks. I’ve been enjoying these mid-morning for an energetic boost.


Frisky Fish Roll On ‘Exhale’ Essential Oil Perfume
Aromatherapy is such a wonderful way to bring healing and higher vibration to your experience of life. Happy smells bring happy energy to your body! I love this essential oil blend with eucalyptus and lavender. Smells sooooo good! I’ve been using it on my wrists in the morning, and on my ankles in the evening.

Grey Sage Smudge Stick Bundle
Have you ever used sage to smudge a room? You can burn it to clear negative energy and any spirits that aren’t welcome. You can also use it to clear your own aura. I’ve used it around the whole house and for myself, and immediately sense relief, lightness, and calm. Highly recommended!

There are so many simple, effective ways to improve your wellbeing and to invite healing. My invitation to you this spring is to prioritize your wellness routine. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you!


As always, a big thanks to the team at Yogi Surprise for their wonderful work and the goodness that they’re spreading into the world. Namaste.


PS Check out reviews of the January box, February box, and March box. 

Left Nostril Breathing (Ida)

Photos via Pinterest. 

The left side nostril contains Ida energy – reflective, calming, cool, and associated with the moon and female qualities. This is in contrast to the right side, Pingala, which is fiery, bright, energetic, and male.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or having trouble sleeping, breathing through the left side nostril can help.



Try this: sit in a comfortable seated position. Close your right nostril with your right thumb, allowing your other five fingers to stretch straight up. Place your left hand in Gyan Mudra on your left knee. Close down your eyes and take your concentration inward; gaze through the third eye. Breathe slowly and deeply through the left side nostril for three to five minutes. Feel your whole body relax.

Wishing you much peace and happiness. Namaste.

Ajna Chakra

Photos via Pinterest and Mystic Mamma.

“Close down your eyes. Gaze in at the third eye.”


During every class I teach, I cue my students to go inward. To draw in. To let the mind settle, the body be still.

To see what wisdom is waiting.



The pose offers us a door, and in meditation, we walk through it.


May you see with great wisdom. May you trust your inner guide. May you be, truly, at peace.

May I Be Happy (A Yoga Book Review)


Recently I had the pleasure of checking out yoga teacher Cyndi Lee's memoir, May I Be Happy. In it, she chronicles her interesting experiences of youth, battling the mirror, finding ways to be at peace, and learning yoga along the way.

I love that the book is an exploration of what it really means to be beautiful, and the yogic practice of letting go.


Here's one passage on advanced yoga practitioners I really enjoyed:

The advanced students have already learned about the meaning of practice. They've embodied the knowledge that if they stay steady, stick with the process, and keep moving along, even if they are unsure of both the path and the destination, eventually the way will become clear.

They learn to be comfortable with problem solving and, in fact, understand that that is what a lot of yoga or meditation or any kind of mindfulness practice is really about. Taking a look at any given situation and working with things as they are...

The yoga word for friction is tapas, which really means that where there is heat, there is the potential for transformation. For the super advanced students, this is where the practice begins.

 

Have you read any good yoga books lately? I encourage you to check out May I Be Happy by Cyndi Lee for some new inspiration on your practice!

PS Another yoga book review I did.

Blogger Blogged About (Boston Yoga Photos!)

Photos by the graceful and talented Cara Brostrom.

I'm honored to be featured on Cara's blog today.


My photo session in Boston with her was incredibly inspiring...I felt like a rock star running through my asana practice in public spaces around a new city. Meditating in alleyways. Watching tourists and focusing on my own breath.


Making them full breaths, feet to crown, lungs happy with early morning light and air.




I'm so grateful Cara gave me the chance to reflect on my practice, enjoy the moment, and learn the value of slowing down. Of holding the pose a little longer, even when I wasn't sure I could.


Breathe, she would say, the sound of the shutter capturing the moment. Catching it. Breathe. Stay there.




Breathe more, her small gentle voice, reminding me what I already know. Reminding me how it's not about the camera lens but the soft body. The inner softening.


The light coming through.

Yoga Inspiration: Getting Un-Stuck

Photos via Amy Ippoliti on Facebook, Pinterest, and PrAna.

Occasionally we get stuck in a rut in yoga. Or in life, depending on how you look at it.


To get un-stuck, make a change. Even if it's minuscule. Choose to look at your mat a little differently.



Set up in a new spot in the room. Scoot a little closer to your neighbor. See how the energy shifts. See what's possible.

Choose to be a part of a new conversation.



You may find yourself doing something you've never done before. You may find that you're finally free.



Getting un-stuck starts by simply being open. Mind, body, spirit. 

Namaste.

Deepak Chopra and a Video Game for Yogis


It's rare to think of yogis playing video games... but there's one that's just been released by Deepak Chopra that may change that. 


Have you guys heard of Leela? It's a ground-breaking game featuring relaxation and meditation techniques which spotlight the chakras. Kinect technology also allows you to use the game to track and monitor your breathing during meditation and gentle, restful body gestures. Now I'm not usually a video game person, but that's one I'd love to try!


To celebrate the release of the game, Leela is launching a Mandala Creativity Contest through their Mandala Facebook app. If you enter a customized mandala drawing into the contest, you could win the Leela videogame or the Leela CD soundtrack.


Photo via SC Eyelines.

A “mandala” is artwork that expresses an individual’s unique essence and intentions. With the Leela Mandala app, you can create, customize and share your own personal mandalas with friends. Then, from November 15th 2011 to December 9th, 2011 you can submit your mandala to the Leela Mandala Creativity Contest for a chance to win prizes. Winners will be chosen each week by a committee which includes Deepak Chopra himself.


Photo via Leela by Deepak Chopra.