Photos: Daniel Castellano (https://danicastellano.com/)Summer is a great time to catch up on reading. You're on the beach and the sun seems to relax every part of you. Maybe you're traveling and need something to fill the waiting periods. You can use all that time off the mat to deepen your practice.
Whether you're a beginner or have been practicing for years, these books are good ones to bring us back to the roots of our practice. They are reminders that yoga is more than just asana, more than the positions we can get into and the photos we take. Summer might just be the optimal time for reminding yourself of what it means to truly practice.
Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life
By Judith Hanson Lasater
It's all well and good to know the theory, anatomy, and asana of the yoga practice, but it doesn't do anyone much good, least of all yourself, if you can't bring your yoga off the mat.
In Living Your Yoga, Judith Hanson Lasater reminds us that yoga is a practice that helps find peace in our relationships, within society, and within ourselves. With foundations in the ancient yogic texts The Yoga Suta and the Bhagavad Vita, Lasater uses her personal journey as an example to guide us through practical acts we can employ in the everyday.
The Chakras Handbook By Shalila Sharamon and Bodo J. Baginsky
If you're new to learning about chakras, or energy centers within our bodies, The Chakras Handbook is a good place to start. Each chapter gives an overview of one of the seven chakras, symptoms of when a chakra is blocked or malfunctioning, and symptoms of when a chakra is harmoniously
functioning. Also provided are the various asana, meditations, color and aromatherapy you can use to balance your chakras.
The Chakras Handbook is an instruction manual to integrating the energetic bodies to your physical practice, opening yourself up emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Meditations from the Mat By Rolf Gates
Meant to be a read as a daily devotional for an entire year, Rolf Gates gives 365 snippets of wisdom for our everyday. Starting with The Eight Limbs of Yoga to considering minimalism, or the elimination of excess, as a yogic style of life, Meditations from the Mat adds a layer of depth to the everyday practice. You can take a concept and read it before or after your practice, then meditate on it as you practice or throughout the day. This allows each reflection to truly absorb, one day at a time.
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga Deepok Chopra and David Simon
In this book, Deepak Chopra and David Simon take the principles of his previous book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and applies them to a seven-day yoga practice program. Like Meditations from the Mat, Chopra and Simon talk about The Eight Limbs of Yoga, but much more in depth with each one. A “law” or a principle to consider and meditate on every morning and evening, along with a mantra, is presented for each day of the week. This is so that the “energy of the law resonates within you” throughout the day. Maybe you find that summer isn't a time for going too deeply into studies. If so, just 10 minutes a day with these reads will give your yoga practice, your summer, and your day, an added layer of perspective.