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4 yoga books recommendations

12 Oct 2022
by Aimée Kuntz

In this yoga blog you will find new yoga book recommendations. Previous tips can be found in THESE yoga blogs.

Most of the books in this blog are focused on how we can best apply the yoga values in our daily lives. Both from the yoga tradition and from the Buddhist tradition (which have many similarities).

Yet, I will finish this blog post with a book recommendation that falls into the category “yoga anatomy books”. However, this one helps to personalize your yoga asana practice in such a way that applying the ethical principles of yoga becomes a lot easier.

 

Karma, Sadghuru

Sadhhuru karma bookThere are many misconceptions about karma, often as if it's a system of reward and punishment. However, cause and effect is not meant as a judgment tool. In reality, karma is related to dharma. To your actions and your responsibility, your intentions and the way you react to the circumstances in your life. 

As you could expect from Sadghuru, he discusses the concept of karma in a pragmatic way. Both individual karma and the karma we share as a society. Because if something bad happens to someone, according to the definition of karma, it does NOT necessarily have to be a result of that person's own actions. It can also be a result of circumstances resulting from our collective actions as a society. Taking this into account also shows why victim blaming isn’t acceptable or helpful, but actually causes harm.

The book “Karma” by Sadghuru provides great insight into seeing karma as action that creates the opportunity for freedom and strength in our lives (rather than an instrument of good and evil).

 

Advise Not Given, Mark Epstein, M.D.

A guide to getting over yourself 

The author is both a psychiatrist and Buddhist. The intersection of these fields form the perspective of this book.

That also means that it is not based on the eight limbs of the yoga sutra of Patanjali, but on the eightfold path from Buddhism. Still, both lineages acknowledge that even if you have a beautiful and prosperous life, you can still suffer. Further, both traditions aim at getting to know oneself. Including all the facets it offers.

 

The chapter layout of "Advise not Given" gives a good insight into what the book has to offer:

  1. Right view
  2. Right motivation
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration



I don't perceive myself as a Buddhist, but the insights of this tradition do give me insight into concepts that are also important in the yoga tradition. Like how to apply the yama and niyama in my life.

 

For example, the first chapter discusses how right doesn't have to be the opposite of wrong, but involves a view that is balanced, attuned, and fitting.

Applying that to the practice of yoga postures is one way to choose for that alignment in a posture that for you personally supports nonviolence (ahimsa), truth (satya), non-stealing (asteya), self-control (brahmacharcha) and greedlessness (aparigraha). In other words, the yamas in action. See also my blog post  “Yoga technique: right is not the opposite of wrong”.

 

Quiet Retreat Teachings, Geshe Michael Roach

Book II: The magic of empty teachers

Michael Roach is one of my favorite authors, probably even my favorite. His in-depth knowledge of the yoga sutra (from the Tibetan yoga tradition) is incorporated clearly and insightfully in his books such as “How Yoga Works and “The Essential Yoga Sutra”.

Besides these jewels, I also find his more Buddhist backgrounded books very helpful. Like a number of thin books that have been published in the series of “Quiet Retreat Teachings”. From 2000 to 2003, Michael Roach has been in retreat in silence & meditation. Secluded from the world and its input. Except twice a year, when he taught blindfolded (to stay as much as possible in the intention of the retreat) for a few days. The books are the (barely edited) transcript of these days.

In the second part of this series he discusses characteristics of good teachers. And actually, we are all teachers.After all, how we behave in daily life influences the people around us. And also the way in which we actually share our yoga practice, consciously or unconsciously.

Expect a lot more characteristics besides “walk your talk”. Like for example the “threefold evolution”. Where, for example, a young master in ballet likes to see how many jumps or turns he can make. And a middle-aged master often focuses on making their knowledge accessible without being overwhelming. While in the latest evolution of the master, this one is going to focus on the timeless aspect. How profound concepts are made simple and accessible with just a few words. We can also see this development in good yoga teachers. But the features/tips are relevant for everyone. After all, everyone is a teacher in something; how we live our lives is what we propagate (whether it’s worthwhile or not).

In addition that "Quiet Retreat Teachings" helps to recognize good teachers, Roach also discusses how to create the seeds to attract them into your life.

 

Your Body Your Yoga, Bernie Clark

Your body your yogaThis well-known yoga book goes way beyond a regular yoga anatomy book. Expect to learn the differences between individual bodies and their effects on how yoga poses look like. And to become more aware of what is actually holding you back in a yoga posture (tension or compression). 

Where many yoga anatomy books mainly deal with the functioning of the muscles in yoga postures, this book provides a lot of information about the effect of (differences in) (myo)fascia, tendons, ligaments, the nervous system and our immune system.

By gaining more understanding of what causes the differences, there is also the possibility to adjust cues in yoga classes more effectively. Because if a certain movement is held back by compression, a different approach is probably needed. Or maybe it just is what it is and trying to change someone's shape (even though well intended) could create so much friction that it could cause an injury). Anyway, there are many insights to be found in "Your Body Your Yoga".

Looking for more yoga book recommendations?

Check these previous blog posts:

 

Outfit

In the photo I am wearing the Werkshop Rainbow Mosaic Leggings & Reversible Top

 

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