10 Non-Yoga Books That Are Indeed Yoga Books

It occurred to me that during years of having my full attention into the yoga techniques and practices I have come across books that, even though not specifically about yoga -for example they do not mention it nor do they refer to its practices- are indeed very much about it, and can help along the path by pointing in the right direction towards the ultimate goal.

The ultimate goal of yoga, of course, is to identify ourselves with the observer, the silent being that is behind the screen in which all the things that we think 'happen to us' are projected.  Identifying with this quiet, silent observer that simply watches the waves of life come and go in bliss and acting from the eternal now with full discrimination and intelligence. That is the final goal.

This post is designed from top chakra, or from the goal itself, back down to the earthy components of being in the world, just not "of it".

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Of course it is not so simply to just get there, to the goal of yoga.  Patanjali proposes the eight limbs as a way to reach that state but in this age we are living we are so far away from  even finding enough peace and quiet so as to dedicate an hour of our day to be unplugged, that a book like Stillness Speaks comes handy.  The book is not really a book but rather a compilation of sentences that point towards a state.  

It is not to be read all at once, rather to use the words be suspended within us.  It is a pre-step to more giant tasks like pondering "Who Am I?" all the time.


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Tolle had his awakening at the age of 29 after being close to suicide when he was thinking he could no longer 'live with himself'.  That brought him to his Aha! moment. If he could not live with himself any longer then, he asked: "Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the "I" and the "self" that "I cannot live with".  

His awakening resulted in the book "The Power of Now" published in 1999, and which subsequently became a best seller when picked up by Oprah as one of her favorites:



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Eckart Tolle's teachings are profoundly inspired by Ramanah Majarshi, an enlightened master who experienced such rapture as the one Tolle had at the age of 16, and then left everything behind and went to live in a mountain for years, until people started noticing him, and how peaceful he was.  

Tolle was the first person recognized in the area where Maharshi lived as someone who "could speak to others", as someone who, you may say "gets it".  Tolle went on to write "A New Earth" -2005- and in it he makes an analogy to the bible in explaining why the book is called that: 

"and I saw a new heaven and a new earth writes the biblical prophet. The foundation for a new earth is a new heaven -the awakened consciousness, The earth -external reality- is only the outer reflection The realization is the awakening. Awakening as a future event has no meaning because awakening is the realization of Presence... A new heaven and a new earth are arising within you at this moment"



Oprah invited Tolle to a whole ten chapter video production in which they both go over the book and have people from all over the world calling in and asking questions.  I watched all the podcasts for the first time in 2005 and find that I always want to revise them, especially a chapter like the one on the "pain body" or that angry energy that sometimes seems to take over us and it is difficult to shake... He goes over ways in which we can starve this pain body.  All 10 podcasts can be listened to or watched for free here.

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The first book I ever read that put me in contact with a different reality, that showed me the way -you could say- was one of the early Deepak Chopra Books called The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success.   It seemed so simple and like something I already knew, but I had to hear it in his words it seems, so it would sink in.  I have re-read this book many times now, both in English and Spanish. Si.

The laws are simple and yet in the explanation of each one this book showed the first signs along the path on how to come closer to the silence, how to intent then detach and learn to use energy more efficiently by observing the law of least effort.



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But as human beings that we are we will always, until reaching the higher states, be wanting things. It is human, the desires change, and even the desire for liberation is in the end a desire.  No point in leaving everything behind and running away to a mountain, change can only be progressive and that is why I liked The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, also by Chopra.  I used to hear it on tape on the way to and back from work when I lived in New Jersey a few years ago and had long commutes.  

I particularly learned about how to pay attention to coincidences, to see them as messages from the universe, see the three major coincidences I have had that I recall as "wow moments".




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Along the path of being a human there is also the issue of relationships.  Weather we are alone or in a relationship the issue of our own sexual energy is critical as it is the most powerful energy we will experience while incarnated in bodies.  When misdirected sexual energy can lead a person to abuse, addiction, obsession, gambling, alcohol etc.  It can indeed bring about the darkest areas.  

When properly used, sexual energy can lead us to finding a fulfilling relationship in which both parties are committed to the growth of the other within the boundaries of trust and commitment.  This is where Marianne Williamson comes along with two of her works, one is Romantic Relationships,  a CD, as no book was ever released that helps navigate the difficult waters of relationships with emotional intelligence.

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And also from Marianne Williamson, "A Woman's Worth".  Yes it is one of those books that makes you feel all fuzzy and empowered about being a woman, one of those talks that you, or should I say, I, as a woman need once in a while, to remember that my own self esteem, development and reaching for peace in me and those around me counts.


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Meeting my husband three years ago, James Altucher, was for me one of the biggest eye-openers in a practical sense, very practical.  He is a free thinker that has ideas I had never heard of, for example, the one where he tells and justifies completely while College is really a scam.  I was shocked at first as I am sure you would be if it was the first time you read this, but the truth is I went to college for five years while working full time, and when I went back to my job and told them I now had a degree and expected a raise they laughed at me.

My 13-year-old step-daughter is already feeling the peer pressure of her friends on conversations of what college she should be going to.  What nobody mentions is that a college, say, like Harvard or any other of the big ones, costs north of 75,000 a year to go to, and that is after taxes and for one year.  It is a machine at this point with propaganda to get our youngest to get in debt for life.   I still don't advocate completely not to do it, people will do what they may want to do, but I think it is important to question these things before running a debt of 100,000 (for cheaper collges) to 500,000 after four years for an education in English Literature...  Myths like this get broken down and explored in I Was Blind But Now I See.  I feel books like these are necessary in our times so that we can see things clearly and for what they are:



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Injuries happen, even when we are very careful and have the best teachers, maintaining a daily routine of asana is bound to show us that sometimes we get hurt, sometimes something hurts.  I was very sick last year and in that process discovered the wonders of Chinese Medicine.  These practices were developed over centuries and through battle fields, where the goal was to heal the whole organism and quickly.  The Chinese do not separate the body into parts, they think of it as a unit that needs to recover balance.

In the specific area of working with martial arts injuries, which can be similar to yoga injuries I found the book "A Tooth From The Tiger's Mouth" very enlightening.  The book is called that because the knowledge is as difficult to obtain as it would be difficult to get a tooth out of a live tiger, even if asleep.   We are lucky to live in these times.  See my review of the book here.



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The business of yoga is a taugh one.  The competition is great and there is a lot of studios out there.  It is hard enough as a student to distinguish the good from the not so good, this is why I feel that a good teacher who has the call to really do it, to get on with it, and perhaps open a studio or a private practice needs to do it right so that the message can propagate and the yogi/teacher can stay in business.  

Living in this world is something we need to pay attention to, enough so that we have the right time and space for our own practice indeed, but not forgetting that we still need to eat, feed our loved ones, etc.  So the book "Building Your Ideal Private Practice" comes very handy and even though it applies mostly to psychologists or dentists there are many ideas in it that can be translated to yoga.



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And there you have it, these books address issues that go from the very first chackra, building a business, seeing reality in the real world as it is (owning a home? going to college?), and other important issues like how to use our sexual energy effectively, how to treat our injuries and care for our body in a balanced way, how to fulfill our desires until, hopefully we won't have any, how to live by spiritual laws (based on vedanta) and finally how to make our way into a new earth and into the stillness within. 

How to become the impartial observer that never dies.

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6 comments:

  1. Nice choices book.. and very interesting..
    http://www.theserenitypath.net/

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  2. I'm intrigued by "A tooth from the Tiger's mouth" book, I'll have to see if my library has it.

    Here's one of my favorite books that could definitely be applied to yoga but is not specifically about yoga: "My Stroke of Insight," by Jill Bolte Taylor. The author was a neuroscientist (a.k.a "brain scientist") with Harvard and suffered a stroke in the left side of her brain. She was able to recover and write about what happened during the stroke and her recovery. The similarities between what she experienced and yoga are striking because, since the stroke shut down the left, analytical side of her brain, she experienced everything through the right side of her brain--which is what she calls the "divine mind." She makes the anatomy and biology concepts easy to understand and what she experienced is amazing. I think you'd really like it ;-)

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  3. hehehe--you are such a little self help book queen. As a beginner yogini i have been emersing myself in all these yoga blogs--yours I LOVE! The book that really brings it all to me is the 4 agreements--now all you true yogis out there would probably laugh at that--but for a beginner like me it has really been the gateway that set my perpective on the path of rightful living. I believe yoga to be just that: a path to the art and science of "rightful living". Living with INTENSION. Th ebook is simple i know, but stripping down our existance to the layers of "truth" is a great start

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  4. nice bunch of books! Have you read 'After the Ecstasy, the Laundry?' Another good one...

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  5. Hi you guys, read all the messages and now pretty curious about the new suggestions, have not read The Four Agreements (@the &...) or After the Ecstasy the Laundry (@Rhino) ...

    I did see something about the woman who had the stroke, but for some reason it did not resonate with me at the time...

    Tara I hope your library carries the Tooth from a Tigers Mouth, it is a very useful book, I've been using his techniques for a while now, with success.

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  6. I hope you will read the 4 agreements and tell me what you think? It can be read in a day or two, very short and simple! cheers!

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