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International Day of Yoga: Favorite Yoga Books

In 2015, the United Nations designated June 21 as International Day of Yoga (IDOY). I’ve supported IDOY every year. But, June 21, 2023, was special. I was in Washington, D.C. at the International Association of Yoga Therapists' convention to launchFrom the Boxing Ring to the Ashram.”

Before “Boxing Ring” (for which I won three publishing awards) I was a collaborating author on two marketing communications university textbooks. But those meant nothing to me compared to my “yoga-therapy-in-disguise” manual in which I feature life lessons from my 12 gurus on four continents.

This year in honor of International Day of Yoga, I decided to compile a list of my favorite yoga books. That wasn't easy.

For those who don’t know, I hosted a yoga book club when I lived in San Antonio. That's why I launched a virtual book club on FBLive and IGTV when COVID-19 hit. Given my love for books in all genres, I still feature a different book every week, more than four years later.

Replays are in the FB and IG archives. Since I’m an avid reader, follow me on social media, Goodreads, or BookBub to see my comments on hundreds of titles and authors I enjoy. Note that I read in English, Spanish, and Italian, and I tend to keep the titles and reviews in the language in which I read the books.

Ten Favorite Yoga Books

Hermann Hesse's Francesco D'AssisiOver the year, I’ve mentioned or profiled a few of my faves on prior blogs. Read on, and click on the links, to learn more about these favorite yoga books of mine.

American Veda by Philip Goldberg

“Como Andar” by Thich Naht Hahn

“Empowered Aging” by Ellen Saltonstall

“Enlighten Up!” by Elizabeth Gibbs

Francesco d’Assisi” by Hermann Hesse

From the Boxing Ring to the Ashram” by Deborah Charnes

"The Goddess Pose” by Michelle Goldberg

“The Journey Home” by Radhanath Swami

“Lanka’s Princess” by Kavita Kané

Sita’s Fire Trilogy” by Vrinda Sheth

illustration from Sita's Fire trilogy by Vrinda Sheth

illustration from "Sita's Fire"

Spotlight on “Empowered Aging”

This is the only one of my top “yoga books” that’s about the physical aspect. However, the author notes, “The study of asana is not about mastering posture. It’s about using posture to understand and transform yourself.”

In my Dem Bones therapeutic workshops, I say it’s never too early to focus on bone health. That’s why Ellen Saltonstall’s new book is a must-read. Regardless of your age or yoga experience, she guides and inspires you to take control of your health. 

Drawing from the wisdom of yoga, this book provides professional guidance, gentle adaptations, and compassionate support to improve your bone health, strength, and balance while enhancing your overall well-being so you can enjoy the fullness of life at any age.

A fellow yoga therapist, Ellen is an experienced yoga instructor with 45 years of study, practice, and teaching. She’s worked closely and collaborated with one of the gurus in my book. And, it’s available in paperback or e-version for a discount this month.

Spotlight on “Enlighten Up!”

yoga book promotionThis is the first book to present a contemporary view of self-awareness based on a 3,000-year-old model from the Upanishads, an East Indian Wisdom tradition. 

I must confess. With all my yogic studies, I find the concept of the koshas a bit “out there.” Beth Gibbs, who earned a master's in yoga therapy, is a great storyteller. She shares so many light-hearted and often humorous personal anecdotes and tidbits from her private life, but all in the realm of the koshas. In other words, she makes the somewhat nebulous concept practical and down-to-earth using everyday experiences we can all relate to. She converts the layers of self-awareness (koshas) into accessible tips and techniques, to help readers find clarity, contentment, and resilience in a complicated world.

Purchase “Empowered Aging,” “Enlighten Up!” And “From the Boxing Ring to the Ashram” at a great discount this month only.

Spotlight on “The Goddess Pose”

Best yoga books: The Goddess PoseThis was one of the first of the books we read in my San Antonio book club, and it still is one of my favorites. The subtitle tells it all: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West.  Her story was fascinating. The yoga teacher to Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, and even a colonel who tried to overthrow Panama’s leader, Manuel Noriega. She was not Indian, but Latvian, and she died in 2002 in Argentina at the age of 103. She crossed so many cultural and generational barriers. Hence, her story is a must for people to read.

A New York Times columnist, Goldberg, is an outstanding researcher and writer. She obviously can sniff out a good story.

Spotlight on “The Journey Home"

The Journey Home by Radhanath Swami, a favorite yoga bookThe New York Journal of Books praised this selection. “Every spiritual seeker who has found his or her personal path has a story. But there are not many stories as powerful and moving as Radhanath Swami’s “The Journey Home.”

I always say this book is like an Indiana Jones quest for spirituality. The book proves that truth is stranger than fiction. This page-turner is the memoir of one of my gurus featured in my book. I’ve attended workshops and classes with the eminent spiritual leader in India, Italy, Illinois, Wisconsin, and California. He is an incredible change-maker, encouraging people around the world to make the best of their lives in so many different ways. But "The Journey Home" focuses on his unexpected life changes.

Back in 2018, I was honored to have a small group meeting with the spiritual master in his private library. The walls were filled, side-to-side and top-to-bottom with “The Journey Home” in so many languages. Of interest to people of any faith, anywhere in the world, it has been translated into Hebrew, Chinese, Slovenian, Russian, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, and many others.

If you've read any of the above, please share your comments with me.

Somehow, in the I me mine world that we live, emotional and physical well being has escaped the vast majority. The Namaste Counsel encourages simple proven practices to live a healthier and happier life. Any time. Any where. By anyone.
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