If like me, you are a reader, then this post is for you! I’m sharing my top five books I’ve read within the last year; and for each one I’m going to tell you a little bit about why. As we move into the latter part of the year, a time when many of us spend more time indoors (particularly those of us experiencing colder weather), it’s always nice to have a list of books to read. So here is my list (in alphabetical order):
1. The Bhagavad Gita
This is one of the books I was required to read parts of during my yoga teacher training earlier this year, and I really enjoyed it. Easwaran’s version is very helpful, as he gives a lot of insightful and contextual information at the beginning of each chapter, which makes the Gita easier to read and understand, especially if you are are unfamiliar with it prior to reading. It also is easier to read than one might think; the wording, overall, is simple and it is not dense material, each chapter reading very quickly. This is one you could easily read and re-read to gain deeper spiritual insights.
2. The Hidden Life of Trees
I cannot say enough good things about this book! It is definitely one of my favorite books of all time. As someone who is already a nature lover and feels deeply connected to all things, this book sparked an even greater appreciation for trees than I already had. Peter Whohlleben is an amazing wealth of information when it comes to what the life of trees is really like, and he details his knowledge so beautifully. I learned so much from this one book…so much fascinating information! There is still much to learn about these amazing beings, and as human beings, there is a lot we would do well to learn and apply from “The Hidden Life of Trees”. It’s one on my list to read again!
3. Meditations from the Mat
As a relatively new yoga instructor, I have found this book to be immensely useful and insightful. It was given to me as a Christmas gift last year by a cousin (who is also a yoga instructor) – she gave it to me shortly before I began my training and I began reading it just before the New Year (as you may be able to tell from the photo above, it is looking pretty worn). This book is broken down to be read daily, with a short reading for each day over one year. It incorporates the eight limbs of yoga, and includes excerpts at the beginning of each daily reading from the Bible to the Gita (and everything in between). And as a yoga instructor, it is easy to tie a reading into a class, as they are short but insightful. Many props to Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison for this gem!
4. The Untethered Soul
This book was recommended to me by my yoga teacher during training, although not required. This is another book that reads very quickly and offers beautiful insights into our experience as human beings and how we can journey deeper into ourselves in order to become more expansive, let go of limiting beliefs and thoughts that contribute to our suffering, and be more present with each moment and experience. This is a book I plan to read again and again, and also another great book to incorporate into my work as a yoga instructor!
5. When Things Fall Apart
This is a very powerful book, and it is unlike any other I have ever read when it comes to the spiritual path and what treading it really looks like! Pema Chödrön offers insights that may be quite different than one would expect, incorporating her knowledge of Buddhist teachings and wisdom along the way. Moving toward our pain and using it as a teacher may not be what first comes to mind when thinking of the spiritual journey, but this book examines just how profound and healing doing just that can be.
So there you have it! I hope you will find these books to be as useful and insightful as I have. I love that all of them are easy to read, and that I want to not only re-read them, but also share them with others, as all of them make a great addition to anyone’s library!
“We read to know that we are not alone.” -C.S. Lewis
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