Many of us associate yoga with physical movement. That’s definitely one aspect, but there’s so much more. This beautiful, ancient tradition is comprised of eight separate but interrelated limbs that address our internal and external selves. Our reading/writing groups are a way to learn more about yoga as a holistic practice and how it can become an integral part of each of our life experiences.
Consider these books for your group or for you to read on your own. We are using the descriptions shown in Amazon.com:
Bhagavad Gita – In the Bhagavad Gita, Prince Arjuna asks direct, uncompromising questions of his spiritual guide on the eve of a great battle. In this best-selling and expanded edition of the most famous –and popular — of Indian scriptures, Eknath Easwaran contextualizes the book culturally and historically and explains the key concepts of Hindu religious thought and the technical vocabulary of yoga.
Namas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele – The first two limbs of the eight-fold path of yoga sutras—the basic text for classical yoga—are examined in this spiritual guide to the practice of yoga. Foundational to all yogic thought, they are considered to be the guidelines to the yoga way of living that free individuals to take ownership of their lives, direct them toward the fulfillment they seek, and gain the skills to choose attitude, thought, and action. The first five guidelines are referred to as the yamas—a Sanskrit word that translates to “restraints”—and encompass nonviolence, truthfulness, not stealing, nonexcess, and nonpossessiveness. The last five are referred to as the niyamas, or observances—purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender.
Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron – This is an indispensable handbook for cultivating fearlessness and awakening a compassionate heart. Pema Chödrön presents down-to-earth guidance on how we can “start where we are”—embracing rather than denying the painful aspects of our lives. Pema Chödrön frames her teachings on compassion around fifty-nine traditional Tibetan Buddhist maxims, or slogans, such as: “Always apply only a joyful state of mind,” “Don’t seek others’ pain as the limbs of your own happiness,” and “Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment.”
The Upanishads – Among the oldest of India’s spiritual texts, the Upanishads are records of intensive question-and-answer sessions given by illumined sages to their students. Widely featured in philosophy courses, the Upanishads have puzzled and inspired wisdom seekers from Yeats to Schopenhauer. Eknath Easwaran makes this challenging text more accessible by selecting the passages most relevant to readers seeking timeless truths today.