Recommendations: To Share

<-- Because you know you'd trust this guy... No one can do it alone.  We all need wisdom, knowledge and inspiration from others.  Below are websites, blogs, books and movies that have helped me progress in my practice and opened my mind, body and heart.   All are highly recommended and can either be viewed or bought by clicking the image.  The movies can also be found on Netflix and many of the texts for free online.  Learn and enjoy! [/av_textblock] [/av_one_half] [av_textblock]

“I have really good taste.” –Colin Schour

Sites and Blogs

Yoga Journal is THE place to go online for anything yoga.  Find extremely detailed information on alignment in poses, sequences, philosophy, nutrition, lifestyle, blogs, videos, etc.  The site is very user friendly and has been a proven resource for me time and time again.

Ray Long is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and the founder of Bandha Yoga. He has published multiple books and created a fantastic website outlining the musculoskeletal system in different yoga poses.  This scientific investigation into yoga is easy to understand and well worth a scroll-through.

Deepak Chopra, M.D taught at Tufts, Boston and Harvard medical schools before becoming chief of staff at New England Memorial Hospital (NEMH).  However, upon studying Ayurveda with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Deepak Chopra left allopathy to become the founding president of the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine.  He has written nearly 70 books on the ancient medicine.  

This link will take you directly to his Dosha Quiz to determine your constitution within Ayurvedic Medicine.

If you have asthma or trouble breathing, you can help yourself!  Breath is life, and better breath is better life.  Breathing.com offers a wealth of information on breathing patterns, posture, and proper mechanics which can truly impact the way you breath.  I would recommend taking their free test (Give yourself 10-15 minutes) and then perusing some articles.  A few good ones to start with are Posture and Mouth Breathing vs. Nose Breathing.  

Books

“Yoga is the resolution of the thought waves into silence.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali has become the most important text in yoga.  It consists of 196 Indian sutras (thought-threads) which guide the reader along a practice towards samadhi (enlightenment) and kevala (absoluteness) through the path of Raja yoga.  “The Sutras” (written over 2000 years ago) provide the first mention of Ashtanga Yoga’s “Eight Limbs” including asana (posture).  This text has been the primary guide in my practice of yoga and I reference it over and over again.  If I was to recommend one book, this would be it.  It has acquainted me with my self, my ultimate reality, and made me a better person.

“On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure.  Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear.”

“Reduced to our own body, our first instrument, we learn to play it, drawing from it maximum resonance and harmony.”

“The definitive guide to the philosophy and practice of Yoga–the ancient healing discipline for body and mind–by its greatest living teacher.”  Light on Yoga is the most comprehensive guide to asana (posture) practice in existence.  Each asana is accompanied by an in-depth description and at least one (often times more) photograph of BKS Iyengar demonstrating the pose.  This book is a must for anyone looking to deepen their practice.  As a beginner, this book was instrumental in helping me understand the impact of each individual pose as it applied to my overall health.

“Begin where you are.”

Son of the Sri T. Krishnamacharya (the “father of modern yoga”), T.K.V. Desikachar does an excellant job outlining the basic theory and practice of yoga in The Heart of Yoga.  This is the book to get if you are interested in learning more about yoga, and are considering developing your own personal practice.  It is beautifully written with compassion, practicality and a down-to-earth spirit that represent yoga at it’s best.

“The principle of fasting is straightforward: health restored through cleansing.”

This book may be the primary reason I began to take yoga and mindful living seriously.  Through one simple three day juice fast (bookended by two weeks of raw fruit, veggie, almond mild and nut diet) I became more in touch with the subtleties of my body than ever.  I also realized how grounded my life was in food, how much unnecessary food I was eating, and how food had been more entertainment than nutrition.  Ever since this fast, I have established a steady diet that shed unnecessary weight, cut my food costs in half, and nourishes my entire body.  I would highly recommend trying a 1-3 day juice fast using the techniques provided in this book.  If taken seriously, and entered into with the correct mindset, it has the potential to change your life.

Movies

“Feed people. And serve people.”

I watch a lot of documentaries.  Ram Dass: Fierce Grace is the most powerful, intense, moving doc I’ve seen yet.  Watch as Ram Dass, the author of bestselling book Be Here Now, copes with a disabling stoke that challenges his physicality, speech and spirituality.

“I do not treat disease.  I treat people.”

Ayurveda: The Art of Being reveals the differences between the ancient system of Ayurveda and modern allopathy (western medicine).  The movie offers extensive glimpses into the practice and theory of Ayurvedic doctors as they treat everything from diabetes to cancer.  It is an engaging documentary that encourages the viewer to consider the instant gratifying, mechanistic process of western medicine versus the common sensical, personal practice of Ayurveda.

“The reason so many people practice yoga is… because it tastes good.”

This is the best documentary on yoga that I can find.  Yoga Is features some of the most influential teachers and practitioners in contemporary yoga as it follows one woman’s journey towards self-healing.  While it isn’t mind-blowing, it does offer a good explanation of the basic framework of yoga.  Plus Russell Simmons is in it… You can watch it on Netflix.

“That day I didn’t just lose my faith, I lost myself.”

This intriguing documentary follows Tania Head, the once president of The World Trade Center Survivors’ Network.  Not only does this documentary provide an interesting study into the survivors and events of 9/11, it also powerfully demonstrates the impact that ego, insecurity and attachment can have over humans.  The mind can be a powerful ally or a terrible, terrible master.  Look for it on Netflix.

“False guru. Real truth.”

A social experiment turned intriguing documentary.  Follow Vikram Gandhi as he assumes the identity of a false guru “Sri Kumaré.”  After gaining a following of westerners based on his guru status, Kumare strives to teach them the most important lesson he has to offer: You are your own guru.  A must see for anyone.