Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yoga Books: Light on Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar

Title: Light on Yoga
Published: Schoken, 1995 (First published 1966)


Summary: 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 provides complete descriptions and illustrations of all the positions and breathing exercises.  (Taken from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: This is basically the must-read book on Yoga. On all of the sites I visited Light on Yoga is mentioned as a book that everyone should read to get a good solid knowledge of Yoga. And this is true. It really is a great resource.

The first part of the book explains a lot of the history and foundations of Yoga. It explains what it's about and all about Yoga philosophy. It's a lot to get your head around but if you take it in small doses it's really informative.

Then the majority of the book is a detailed description of the asanas or poses. Each one has accompanying pictures and it's really impressive just some of the poses that are out there and how B. K. S. Iyengar can manage to do them all so well. I also really like how some of the mythology of certain poses and how they got their names is featured in the book too. I'm always fascinated by information like that.

Towards the end of the book there's a section on how to create a routine and regular practice with a program that starts off for a beginner and then it moves on to intermediate and advanced stages after a certain number of weeks.

At the end of the book there is also a section with different ailments and a selection of Yoga poses to try for each one. I haven't tried any yet but it is certainly a handy resource.

In most Yoga circles this book is considered to be one of the must-read books and I completely agree. There is so much information in this book that I will definitely be going back to it on a regular basis. I will say that there is a lot of information in this book so it's a good idea to take your time with this one and just let the information soak in.

Where to purchase the book:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Yoga Books: Yoga All-In-One For Dummies

Title: Yoga All-In-One for Dummies
Authors: Doug Swenson, Georg Feuerstein, LaReine Chabut, Larry Payne, Sherri Baptiste, Stephan Bodian, and Therese Iknoian
Published: For Dummies, 2015


Summary: Everything you need to make yoga an integral part of your health and well-beingIf you want to incorporate yoga into your daily routine or ramp up what you're already doing, "Yoga All-In-One For Dummies" is the perfect resource! This complete compendium of six separate titles features everything you need to improve your health and peace of mind with yoga, and includes additional information on, stretching, meditation, adding weights to your yoga workouts, and power yoga moves.

Yoga has been shown to have numerous health benefits, ranging from better flexibility and athletic performance to lowered blood pressure and weight loss. For those who want to take control of their health and overall fitness, yoga is the perfect practice. With "Yoga All-In-One For Dummies," you'll have everything you need to get started and become a master of even the toughest yoga poses and techniques. Find out how to incorporate yoga to foster health, happiness, and peace of mind. Get a complete resource, featuring information from six titles that are packed with tips. Use companion workout videos to help you master various yoga poses and techniques that are covered in the book. Utilize tips in the book to increase balance, range of motion, flexibility, strength, and overall fitness.  (Taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts: I usually enjoy reading the For Dummies books as they offer really good basic information about a topic. So, when I found this Yoga resource for dummies, I just had to read it as part of my quest to read as much about Yoga as possible. This book has six different Yoga books inside, there's a basic Yoga, Power Yoga, Yoga with Weights, Meditation, Stretching and Mind-Body Fitness. So there's a lot of information contained within this handy compendium.

Now, I know that the For Dummies books often have very basic information but I was disappointed with just how basic the information was. By the point of my reading this book I had been practicing Yoga for a couple of months and had already read two other books. I felt like the information in this book was a little too basic. Especially when it came to the poses. So, it would give the names of traditional poses but then it would give an even more modified version than teachers tended to give beginners. I didn't really understand why but I am no expert. I just thought that was a little odd.

I guess I just didn't particularly enjoy this book because I found it far too simplified. That being said, the meditation section was actually pretty good.  There are also some very handy pictures of people in the poses and if you're learning a pose through reading, good pictures are always helpful.

I think this book is probably best for those who know absolutely nothing whatsoever about Yoga as it really is only the very basic stuff.

Other information: Most Dummies guides come with a cheat sheet and some online resources to check out alongside the book. This cheat sheet is a good summation of the main points of the book.

Where to purchase the book:

Friday, June 24, 2016

White Sand Volume 1

Title: White Sand Volume 1

Author: Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin

Illustrator: Julius M Gopez

Published: Dynamic Forces, 21 June 2016

Series: Book 1, White Sand

Pages: 160

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Summary: On the planet of Taldain, the legendary Sand Masters harness arcane powers to manipulate sand in spectacular ways. But when they are slaughtered in a sinister conspiracy, the weakest of their number, Kenton, believes himself to be the only survivor. With enemies closing in on all sides, Kenton forges an unlikely partnership with Khriss -- a mysterious Darksider who hides secrets of her own. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I love Brandon Sanderson's books so I jumped at the chance to read this one early as I try to get my hands on everything Sanderson has written. I was a little nervous as I'm not the biggest graphic novel fan but it's Brandon Sanderson so it has to be good.

The art style is quite interesting. It's quite unique compared to other graphic novels I've tried out. I'm not a visually minded person so I did find it hard to tell some characters apart from others. I felt their names were a bit confusing too. That being said this is the first book in the series so it was setting everything up and I definitely think I'll be reading it again soon.

The story itself is mostly setting things up and I'm really hoping that the rest of the books will things well because I honestly feel a little confused. I almost feel like I need to wait until all the books are out so I can see the whole picture.

Overall, I enjoyed the story but I wasn't completely blown away by it. I think I'll definitely be needing to read this one again soon to try and wrap my head around it some more. I would definitely recommend it to fans of Sanderson and fans of graphic novels. I think that because I'm not a regular reader of graphic novels it's hard for me to say if this is good as a graphic novel or not. That being said, I am definitely excited for the next book in the series.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Yoga Books: Forty Days of Yoga by Kara-Leah Grant

Title: Forty Days of Yoga
Sub Title: Breaking Down the Barriers of a Home Yoga Practice
Published: Aarohati Publishing, 2013
Summary: Forty Days of Yoga is a powerful resource for anyone interested in committing to a home yoga practice. 

Drawing on her years of home practice experience, yoga teacher and writer Kara-Leah Grant examines many of the obstacles - both internal and external - that one can face when undertaking a self-directed practice, especially while living an ordinary life in the busy, modern world.   (Taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts: This was the second book about Yoga I found and read. It's about how to create a home practice and it talks about what a home practice is and it also gets you to think about how you can create a home practice.  I think it's definitely a good resource to provide a person with the tools to start and maintain a home Yoga practice.

One thing I really like about this book is that it isn't just a book you read, there are also activities to fill out and it really gets you thinking. I love her idea of starting out slowly and just practicing Yoga for 40 consecutive days. I actually followed this plan and have been practicing Yoga every day since.

The back of the book has a lot of resources to books and videos and all sorts of Yoga related things and I found that to be really helpful as in the beginning it was pretty hard for me to find more Yoga related resources.

Now, I am just starting out on my Yoga journey and am nowhere near the point of starting a home practice even though I do see that happening somewhere down the track. I do think this book is a really good resource and I'll be keeping a hold of this so that I can go back to it in the future.

I've also recently discovered that she has a new book out which is a guide to Yoga to give you confidence to get out there and get to Yoga classes which is something that I really need so I will definitely be checking that one out soon.

Where to Purchase the book:

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Title: The Miracle Morning

Author: Hal Elrod

Published: John Murray Learning, January 2016

Pages: 224

Purchase Links:
Book Depository
The Nile

Summary: What if you could wake up tomorrow and any - or EVERY - area of your life was beginning to transform? What would you change? The Miracle Morning is already transforming the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world by showing them how to wake up each day with more ENERGY, MOTIVATION, and FOCUS to take your life to the next level. It's been right here in front of us all along, but this book has finally brought it to life.
Are you ready? The next chapter of YOUR life-the most extraordinary life you've ever imagined-is about to begin. It's time to WAKE UP to your full potential...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts after reading the book: I'm not usually one to read self-help books but for whatever reason, this one stuck out as being one that I should read. Now, I am going to be honest in my thoughts and say that I was originally open minded but also skeptical of this book. I know that some self-help books can be extremely repetitive and also really cheesy. I wasn't sure how much this book was going to help me, but I was willing to be open-minded about it as a whole. 

The beginning of the book has a few pages of peoples praise for the book and I always ignore those because I have noticed from past experience that people tend to give excess praise and it just annoys me and makes me appreciate the book less. So, I read the first page or two and then decided that I would read this book in its entirety that day so I could get started on my Miracle Mornings the next day.

There is a lot of helpful information in this book about how to get started and what to expect. There are lots of little strategies and Hal Elrod explains the whole plan really clearly and in great detail. It was enough to get me really intrigued and willing to give this a go because really, I have been looking for a way to get up early and work on practicing Yoga in the mornings before work.

I do have a couple of things that bothered me a little. One of those is that every few paragraphs Hal Elrod mentions that you can check out his website for lots of extra free resources. Sure, I think it's great that the book has complementary material but I also hate when people try and push things at me constantly. Maybe the book isn't meant to be read in one sitting, and in which case I guess that would be less irksome. I did check out the free resources and utilized the Fast-start kit which is a little pdf file of how to get started on your 30 day journey.

Now, I read this book 33 days before I posted this review and that is because I decided that there would be no point in me talking about how great of a book this is (or isn't), if I didn't take the time to actually implement the advice being given. So the evening after I finished the book I decided that the next day would be the day that I tried out the 30 day challenge.

Thoughts after trying this out for 30+ days: Elrod's system is comprised of a series of things to do known as life S.A.V.E.R.S and he talks about how to personalise them to create our own miracle morning situation. So, before I started on this journey I did a little bit of customising. I set the intention to use this time to further my Yoga practice and leave me calm and more productive during the day through meditation and Yoga. So, I fine-tuned my mornings around this practice. Now, applying the life S.A.V.E.R.S principle I decided to get a little S.A.V.vy (see what I did there) and combine the first three principles into one guided meditation because that's what I wanted to do.

The way I set up my mornings was then: 1) Guided meditation, 2) Exercise, 3) Reading and 4) Scribing. (For a more comprehensive break-down of this check out my Yoga blog which contains the Scribing part of this). I will admit that I felt a lot better doing the whole miracle morning thing but I fell off the bandwagon in terms of the scribing aspect just because I don't really care about my writing anymore. I didn't really have anything to say and so I didn't see the point in trying to write something I didn't care about. I also did not manage to complete the 30 day challenge due to lots of little things happening that got in the way. However, I will be trying to get up early again for the next 30 days starting today and I'm just going to focus on my Yoga practice. I don't see the need to follow all the steps because really the point is to just get up earlier and do something to make yourself more productive.

So, 30 days after I read the book I have changed my mind about it a bit. It's a good idea but I feel like it has a lot of extra things that I don't need to do. So I'm simplifying it down into something that works for me.