Summer Reading List/Yoga Book Club?

I moved!  Yes, this is still Yogini and the City – only now I’ve switched boroughs.  Word up, Brooklyn.

Just to break the move down in numbers:

  • Eight hours
  • Two girls
  • One UHaul van
  • Ten Boxes
  • One giant dresser
  • An angel named Roy with a refrigerator hand truck
  • Two hours on FDR Drive, in which we got hungry and ate the contents of my fridge from the last apartment
  • Four flights of stairs (upgrade!  the last place had five)

I am still in the midst of unpacking (twice now, I have lost the screwdrivers which are imperative to completing the GD Ikea bookshelf-thing), and occasionally it is mighty frustrating to still not know where everything is.

But the part of me that is really attracted to saucha (remember that?) is having a great time organizing my new space.  I’m especially enjoying going through my books, which have been packed up for the last two months.

Unpacking, stacking, organizing my books, I started to get nostalgic.  Did anyone else ever get excited by the summer reading list?  I was obsessed.

My students often ask me how to deepen their practice, once they’ve become comfortable in many of the asanas.  I always suggest reading, and reading a wide variety of things at that.

Here are the books that changed my yogic life:

Inside the Yoga Sutras, by Rev. Jaganeth Carrera.  This was the first translation I read of the Sutras, and still my favorite.  I return to it so often that my copy is literally falling apart.  I like this translation because it feels simultaneously timeless and contemporary – I’ve always felt like it was easy to connect to.

Poser, by Claire Dederer.  A wonderful memoir about how one woman’s life was changed by yoga.  It’s funny, unpretentious, and so truthful.  Much of it also takes place in Seattle, and Ms. Dederer has a way of describing the Northwest that gives me the warm fuzzies.

The Anatomy Coloring Book.  I was introduced to this during my sophomore year of college, but it became an invaluable tool during my yoga teacher training.  I come back to it all the time – to recall specific muscle attachments or fiber directions.  Also, there is really nothing more satisfying than coloring in a coloring book.

Anything by Donna Farhi.  She’s written a lot of wonderful yoga books over the years, and I can’t choose one over another, although the intro in Yoga: Mind, Body, and Spirit gets me every time.  Her prose is just beautiful, and the way she talks about yogic philosophy never seems heavy-handed.  Simple and lovely.

Small Wonders, by Barbara Kingsolver.  Okay, it’s not really a “yoga” book, but Ms. Kingsolver’s essays touch on some important yogic ideas.

The Heart of Yoga, by TKV Desikachar.  I like this because it’s a great overview of the many, many different ways yoga can serve us.  It’s not preachy, and it includes some rad pictures of Krishnamacharya (Desikachar’s father, and the “father of modern yoga”).  I remember being particularly moved by the chapter “The World Exists to Be Seen and Discovered” when I was in teacher training.

Metamorphosis, by Emanuele Scanziana.  My lovely student Tracey gave me this book when I left Seattle last year, so every time I see it I am reminded of my favorite students in the Northwest.  I’ve brought it to Kid’s Class before, and while they really enjoy it, I think I like it best – it’s fun to imagine all the possibilities of our postures!

Kids Yoga Books -

Zen Shortsby John J. Muth.  Amazing pictures, great lessons, and sly jokes.

The Lorax, by Dr. Suess.  It’s kind of an obvious choice, but what better way to teach ahimsa to my little guys?

My Daddy is a Pretzel, by Baron Baptiste.  I usually read this book in one of the first weeks of a new session, because it’s a good way to introduce a lot of new shapes at once.  Also, it gives me an opportunity to ask each of the children what their mommies or daddies do for work, and the answers are SO GOOD (ex: “My mom made the drapes, and my dad makes waffles.  But waffles are over now.”)

The Empty Pot, by Demi.  A sweet story about a little boy named Ping and the courage it takes to tell the truth.  My favorite book for satya.

The Other Way to Listen, by Byrd Baylor (for my 8 years old and up kids class).  I came across this book at HousingWorks a few months back.  Originally, it grabbed me because of the illustrations (I’m a sucker for anything set in the southwest, having grown up there), but the prose is so beautiful I want to read it every week.  This book is a great way to talk about OM, and has led to some of the most heartbreakingly amazing conversations I’ve had with a group of nine year olds.

What’s on your summer reading list?  Care to share?

Happy reading, and happy summer!

yogini and the city

PS If you choose to purchase any of these books, remember to support your local independent booksellers!  Elliot Bay in Seattle, BookCourt in Brooklyn, Powell’s in Portland…

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2 thoughts on “Summer Reading List/Yoga Book Club?

  1. I love Byrd Baylor. She used to teach at the U of A a while back. I also really enjoy your blog. Happy unpacking!

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