This is for everyone of the slightest spiritual ilk.
- Yoga dabblers who make it to a class (5 minutes late) once every 4th blue moon
- For Purists, whose meditation cushion or yoga mat vibrates with years of their own shakti (translation: energy, self-creation)
- and gurus- whoever you are, we’re all a guru of sorts
Yoga = wholeness and integration, right?
It’s not about fitting into a lifestyle or a pair of yoga pants- of any size.
And when it comes to book-smarts…..
A yoga practice cannot live on yoga books alone.
Don’t get me wrong–>
- classics like “Light on Yoga” are MUST READS. (As a mentor, I have a mandatory reading list. I’m zero-tolerance for yogis who want to stand on the shoulders of the yoga tradition giants without even knowing who these giants are.)
- that new book your favorite teacher wrote? It might be a juicy page-turner, drawing you deeper and deeper into yourself as you resonate with their every word. BUT—>
I’m challenging you.
Wiggle or leap. Out of your spiritual comfort zone.
Do this not just for yourself, but the whole yoga community…..
Find the “YOGA” of a so-called “NON-YOGA” book. You’ll be amazed.
There’s lots of YOGA in yoga books, but there’s also lots of YOGA in everything else.
Check out what might be YOGA in science (and not just anatomy and physics) the arts (and not just spiritual art). There’s yoga in business, politics and all of “non-yoga” culture.
Like “Aha!” moments?
Once you take off the yoga-colored reading glasses and wander (or stumble) outa Yogatown (in this case read books on other topics.) We formally “get lost” and use our yogi compass to find our way back.
- We return to Yogatown with a renewed radiance and self-confidence.
- We’ve shed a few layers of clichéd industry-thinking.
- We’re unstuck.
- Wel keep the fires of your practice burning fresh and creative.
- We’re more likely to talk about yoga in a way that sparks “AHA!” moments for other yogis.
Seriously, reading only yoga books makes yoga zombies and robots.
Okay, I joke. But really.
Imagine the next B-movie hit: Yoga Zombies vs. Yoga Robots.
Whose side would you be on?
Here are quotes from 4 books that I challenge you to read and apply to yoga and meditation.
Each is a masterpiece.
Each author a Maestro of their industry.
Each book’s theme highlights a corner of your yoga life.
One more thing.
I’m quoting the books so they can woo you with their own words.
(Yogi analogies are offered after each quote.)
1. Love 2.0 by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D
“…The first precondition is a perception of safety. If you assess your current circumstances as threatening or dangerous in any way, love is not at that moment apossibility for you. Indeed, your brain has been shaped by the forces of natural selection to be exquisitely attuned to threats. Your innate threat detection system even operates outside your conscious awareness.You could be engrossed in conversation, or enjoying a blissful run in the woods, for instance, and still instantaneously spot that writhing snake on your path.
Although true threats are rare, not everyone can trust the world this way. People who suffer from anxiety, depression, or even loneliness or low self-esteem perceive threats far more often than circumstances warrant. Sadly, this over-alert state thwarts both positivity and positivity resonance. Feeling unsafe, then, is the first obstacle to love…”
(“Make Love not War”- not a slogan anymore. It’s a physiological process, a part of our ongoing evolution.)
2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
“…Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance…
Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.”
(Just do it. Yogis were saying this way before Nike.)
3. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharpe
“…The exercise I call Egg is a great way to start a creative session. It couldn’t be simpler: I sit on the floor, bring my knees to my chest, curl my head down to my knees, and try to make myself as small as I can. In this minimalized shrunken state, I have nowhere else to go; I cannot become smaller, I can only expand and grow. And so it becomes a ritual of discovery for me.
If I lift my head and straighten my back I become Tall Egg. If I stretch out my legs andpoint my toes, forming an L-shape, I become Jackknife Egg. I stick with it as long as it remains interesting, sometimes going through as many as a hundred positions. I’ve been doing this daily for years and I usually find something new in the process. I remember one time sitting in a ball and twisting slightly so I inched forward. Eureka! I discovered Walking Egg, which led to Walking Backwards Egg and a dozen other new positions. I live for those moments.
The discovery delights me and lifts my spirit—and keeps me coming back to Egg…I also like Egg because it forces you to think about change. Once you shrink yourself into a fetal ball, you have no choice but to do something expansive. You cannot hold the starting position forever, though you can hold it for as long as you like. Eventually, though, you’ll have to do something. Egg is an exercise that teaches you how to accomplish the most difficult task in any creative endeavor: begin.
Egg makes you move. I can’t say enough about the connection between body and mind; when you stimulate your body, your brain comes alive in ways you can’t simulate in a sedentary position. The brain is an organ, tied integrally to all the other systems in the body, and it’s affected by blood flow, neural transmission, all the processes you undergo when you put your body through its paces. You’re making it work differently, and new directions can result. I recommend you keep a pad and pencil nearby while doing Egg for fresh ideas…”
(Get out of your shell. Explore. Creatively. Then return, curl up. Wait and incubate.)
4. Tribes by Seth Godin
“…Too many organizations care about numbers, not fans. They care about hits or turnstileclicks or media mentions. What they’re missing is the depth of commitment and interconnection that true fans deliver. Instead of always being on the hunt for one more set of eyeballs, true leaders have figured out that the real win is in turning a casual fan into a true one….Fans, true fans are hard to find and are precious. Just a few can change everything. What they demand, though, is generosity and bravery.”
(Strength in numbers, maybe. But in community-building, quality trumps quantity. Visualize a town square full of millions of people, each making their way, all moving in different directions. Then visualize 2 people sitting close, talking for hours, eyes locked, passionately planning their NEXT BIG MOVE.)In the spirit and practice of finding the truth of who you are…
Plenty of people are spotlighting the YOGA in the YOGA.
Here’s to finding the YOGA in everything else.
See you somewhere outside of Yogatown!
Related posts:10 Modern Yoga Books Every Modern Yogi Should Read