As the weather gets warmer, my thoughts turn to outdoor activity. Just yesterday, I took my meditation practice outside and enjoyed feeling the breeze on my skin as I sat in stillness. It won't be long before my yoga mat follows. And with this view, it's no wonder that I'm taking my yoga practice outside (which not only enables me to practice in nature but also gives me a healthy dose of Vitamin D).
I'm also taking my reading outside these days. There's nothing like sitting on a chaise lounge reading a good book (I certainly logged some chaise lounge time this holiday weekend). Here's what's captured my attention as of late:
Living Fully: Finding Joy in Every Breath
by Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche
Yes, usually I read books the traditional way -- I start on the first page and read to the end. I suppose that's why it tickles me to read a book like Living Fully, for it invites me to flip through randomly, finding the topic that inspires me in the moment.
This delightful read is filled with practical tips for finding joy in everyday life. Rinpoche, one of the world's only English-speaking Tibetan lamas says, "Our lives will not be truly satisfying if we cannot live each moment deliberately and grasp the essence of our precious human nature." If you enjoy Buddhist philosophy and tradition, or if you just want to squeeze every drop of juice from life, you'll enjoy this book. Rinpoche covers modern topics such as work, materialism, happiness, social media, beauty products and cosmetic surgery, and sex.
I'm working my way through this book in a joyfully haphazard way (see, the book is working -- I'm finding joy in reading a book the non-traditional way) -- I simply flip through the contents and pick a topic that resonates with me. It's the perfect book from which to read from daily.
Yoga Cures: Simple Routines to Conquer More Than 50 Common Ailments and Live Pain-Free
by Tara Stiles
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a Tara Stiles fan. Still, I like to stay current on what's happening in the wide world of yoga, so I explore with an open mind. I'm mixed on this book -- I tend to frown upon quick fixes and this idea of one-size-fits all prescriptive yoga and yet a book like this is often easily accessible to anyone curious about yoga. The book starts out with some yoga basics and then moves into yoga "cures" (ick -- I hate using this work in regards to yoga, but the marketing machine will do as it must), offering up short routines for the following:
- Aches and pains
- Blurred Vision
- Broken Heart
- Bulging Belly
- Chill the *&@# Out
- Cold Repair
- Droopy Shoulders
- Fear Factor
- Foot Cramps
- High Blood Pressure
- Hot Flashes
- Jiggly Thighs
- Killer Car Rides
- Lack of Self-Esteem
- Monkey Mind
- Office Body
- Office Mind
- Party Pooper
- PMS and Cramps
- Pregnancy Discomfort
- Runners' Aches
- Saggy Booty
- Saggy Pecs
- Scattered Mind
- Shin Splints
- Sugar Cravings
- Thyroid Imbalance
- Traveler's Anxiety
- Tummy Trouble
- Under-Eye Bags and Dark Circles
- ZZZZs (Getting Some)
The final part of the book covers tips and routines for deisign your own at home yoga retreats.
Overall the book is...fine. The routines are solid, even though I don't quite agree with the whole quick-fix tone of the book. I also don't care for the publicity strategy (that is, of course, quite common) that features cover quotes from "big names" like Deepak Chopra and Jane Fonda. Again, this just isn't my thing. Still, the book offers up some decent yoga and breaks it down into edible chunks. There's also a yoga post library at the end that offers instruction for each pose featured in the book, which can be quite helpful to the yoga beginner.
Yawning Yoga: A Goodnight Book for a Good Night's Sleep
by Laurie Jordan
This is a children's book, but I would recommend it for any adult. Heck, I loved this book and I'm 40 years old. The illustrations are delightful and the practice recommended is perfect for bringing the day to a close and welcoming peaceful slumber. If I had children, I would use the nightly routine to put them to bed. As I said before -- I would also recommend it to an adult who wanted to wind down for bed. I love this book!
Yoga Skills for Therapists: Effective Practices for Mood Management
by Amy Weintraub
Don't let the title fool you -- you don't have to be a Yoga Therapist to use this book. This useful book starts off with some basic information on yoga and then moves into pranayama, sound, imagery and intention, yoga nidra and self-inquiry. It offers up a well-rounded practice to keep one calm and peaceful. Personally, I find this book to be much more helpful than Stiles' book and I feel it offers tools that can be used to affect a person on a deeper level -- after all, there's more to life than fixing "jiggly thighs."
This book is clear, easy to understand and follow, and it also offers helpful pictures for the visual learners out there. No, this isn't a book of asanas -- it's much more than that. And if you're seeking freedom from anxiety and/or mood disorders, I highly recommend this book.
And here are a few more books that are front and center on my Kindle these days:
Happy reading! And may your chaise lounge time be enjoyable and relaxing with a little helpful information thrown in.