So as I am studying everything Yoga related I enjoy finding books and articles centered around personal stories of transformation with the help of Yoga. There are not that many books out there on the market that are published with this theme. Many Yoga books are about the Asanas or Spiritual sciences related to Yoga like Ayurveda, The Gita and The Yoga Sutras. It was a breath of fresh air finding these books I am going to review today because they are about personal accounts from real people and how Yoga became part of their daily life. These books are wonderful because the average person who may want to try Yoga may be intimidated by the intense spiritual texts like the Upanishads or unable to relate to the cold diagrams of Yoga postures in many popular guide books.
The Yoga Diaries: At first when reading this I was a little bit disappointed by the shortness of each story. This book only has 157 pages so it’s a good travel book to fling in your bag to read on the train. I am now half way through this book and I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying it, the collection of life stories slowly begin to merge into one big story between numerous souls about triumph over sorrow and adversity and there is this beautiful energy of sharing personal truths and aspirations through out. I have read a few stories about ‘newbie yogis & yoga teachers’ who are on the path of self discovery and teaching their knew found knowledge to others in their community and I really relate to these people. These short stories are brilliant mood lifters when you are feeling lost and alone because it reads like you are talking to a friend who is saying “Hey, it’s OK, I’ve been there too, let me give you a hug, everything will be alright, you’ll see.” Now I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. It is filled with such inspiration, from “real” people. Each sharing their story on how Yoga transforms and guides them. One of the most beautiful aspects of this book is, Yoga is different for everyone and if you’re looking for inspiration to take the plunge into teaching yoga, read The Yoga Diaries! I look forward to their second publication. You can buy this book here.
Fierce Medicine by Ana Forrest: Ana Forrest is an amazing lady, I am really inspired by her amazing ability to overcome such harsh life obstacles and has become a pinnacle of inner strength over over adversity.
Ana Forrest describes her unique approach to yoga and her traumatic life history with ruthless honesty. While there is some good instruction on asana & pranayama practice, as well as guidance on how to utilize yoga to foster personal growth, if you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to yoga this probably isn’t for you. Her experience with Native American spirituality informs this book & her blending of these two traditions has created a powerful tool for healing emotional wounds. Overall an interesting book, with fascinating insights into one woman’s amazing journey. I am left with a feeling of respect for her courage both in facing up to her past and herself and in rejecting teachers, sacred cows and traditional wisdom when they don’t accord with her own inner truth. To buy this book click here.
Yoga & Body Image: In this incredible book, twenty-five authors, including Alanis Morrisette, Seane Corn, Bryan Kest, and Dr. Sara Gottfried, discuss how yoga and body image intersect. With these inspiring personal stories, learn how yoga not only affects your body but also how it affects the way you feel about your body. Each author offers a unique perspective on how yoga has shaped his or her life and provides tips for using yoga to find self-empowerment and a renewed body image. By bringing together a diverse collection of voices that span the spectrum of human experience, this anthology will help you learn to love your body and embrace a healthy lifestyle. I have been waiting a long time for body image to be at the forefront of discussions surrounding the “fitness world” and especially yoga. Through reading personal experiences of these professionals and practitioners of yoga, I have found my own thoughts over and over again. Speaking about the heart of the issue, patriarchal and capitalist media, and how that sometimes crosses over into the new “yoga world,” and bringing personal experiences of turmoil, frustrations, and growth experiences from that, such as these essays provide, reaches directly into the hearts and minds of the audience. Highly recommend this book for anyone struggling with “body positivity,” whether they have practiced yoga for years, have taken a few classes, or even aren’t sure what it’s all about. A great read! I was once again reminded of the importance of being true to who I am. To buy this book, click here.
21st Century Yoga:
This book is greatly needed in today’s society. It is a collection of essays from teachers and scholars around the globe beginning provocative conversations about where Yoga is in today’s modern world. I believe it is a must-read for all teachers, and practitioners of Yoga. The essays take a look at some challenging aspects of our human race such as; addiction, body-image issues, commercialism, and social & environmental activism. This is no single-sided promotion of any one viewpoint, but rather opens a platform for thought and speech, giving us tools for self-study and raises awareness of how our individual impact affects the whole world because we are not separate. The authors display courage to share their personal path through Yoga, and how this relates to the general public/our society. To buy this book click here.
Since learning more about Yoga I have come to discover it brings about a similar emotional,physical & psychological response as art or dance does. In that it encourages a sense of identity and confidence within ourselves in a world wrapped in chaos. It also stimulates the naturally occurring ‘happy hormones’ activated in the brain and sent to the rest of the body; further reducing heart rate, blood pressure and issues related to them like anxiety, stress and even insomnia. If you ask any qualified Art Therapist they will tell you that this is exactly what creativity does too! Yoga is creativity, it is another art or dance form that turns your body into a moving sculpture. It is a celebration of your body through movement and that is a beautiful thing. Creativity taps into the subconscious mind and so does Yoga and so I believe Yoga & the arts can go hand in hand.
I am really passionate about Art & Dance therapy and I know Yoga can be incorporated into these subjects. Yoga is more than just a type of fitness and more than simply being labelled as another ‘spiritual, new age, hippie fad’ I think it can evolve from these two extremes, I want to bring Yoga into the creative world working alongside art making and dance movement.