Reading a good book is a common pastime and has long been a source of personal enjoyment for many – but it’s also been proven to have significant health benefits. Studies by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that frequent engagement with intellectual activities like reading can make people two and a half times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.1
Researchers at the University of Sussex conducted a series of tests where volunteers were induced to stress, and then asked to try various relaxation methods. The results showed that silent reading reduced the volunteers stress levels by 68%, and they needed only an average of 6 minutes to show a slower heart rate. This might be why sleep experts suggest reading a book before going to sleep to aid in de-stressing your body.2
At Yovada Life, we want to spread our passion for yoga, mindfulness, and everything in between! To celebrate National Book Lovers Day, or any day you’re looking for a good read, we’ve gathered a list of book suggestions to satisfy the interests of ourselves, as well as our readers.
Often referred to as the “Yoga Bible,” this is a must-read for those training to become a yoga teacher, or those just wanting to deepen their practice. BKS Iyengar created this ultimate teacher and practitioner reference book. Even after years of practice, I consistently return to this book as it’s become the backbone to my journey through the physical asanas, as well as the history and importance of the yamas and niyamas. BKS Iyengar is known as the “Michelangelo of Yoga”, and his teachings have made a mark in the yoga community that is far from comparable. This is an absolute must-read for anyone and everyone within the yoga community.
Another one of my favorites, penned by Benjamin Lorr. Lorr’s story begins with him battling being overweight, and his curious first step into a yoga class; a step that would later completely change his life. The book covers the controversies behind Bikram yoga practice and its competitive practices, while also acknowledging the significant health benefits and surreal transformations the practice can offer. Check this one out of you want to read about different perspectives on the Bikram yoga community.
When it comes to the topic of Mindfulness & Zen, who better to read than the Dalai Lama XIV? This book provides holistic guidance for living in a mindful way. No one can deny that a life full of happiness and meaning is desirable, and this book guides the reader toward the path of enlightenment with easy to understand daily practices.
Through a series of steps, this spiritual leader, Nobel Prize Winner, and bestselling author will help you cope with everyday struggles and negative thought patterns, such as insecurity and jealousy. The path to enlightenment is a lifelong commitment, but the journey is special and unique for each and every one of us.
Ram Dass’s lectures have been recorded and respected since the 1960’s. Experiments in Truth is a collection of those awe-inspiring lectures that serve as a spiritual guide, leading you on a path to transformation. Also available in an audio version, you can listen to the beloved spiritual leader as you work your way through his eight lessons.
Adam Braun will undoubtedly inspire those with a passion for traveling. After asking a young boy on the street what he wanted most, to which he responded “a pencil,” Braun embarked on a life changing journey – in his book, he tells you how he went from being a Wall Street businessman to a man who opened over 200 schools across the world with just $25.
For those interested in opening a business abroad, the recently released Travel Deeper is packed full of stories and insights by Ryan Spiegel. At 24 years of age, Spiegel opened a successful hostel in the surf town San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, and became a very good friend of mine during my time there. Over the last year, Ryan and I collaborated to produce a book showcasing the lessons he learned, and the struggles and the rewards of living and working abroad.
Habits are unconscious patterns we develop that become concreted into our day to day lives. Charles Duhigg dives deep into why we do what we do, and how to change patterns that might not serve our best interests. The book explores the nature of being human, and discusses how to continue on the path to betterment.
People and societies become stagnant when they operate within a set routine, because they leave little room for creative decision-making. However, in order to transform we need to reprogram and form new habits. This book discusses both individuals and big companies with habits that need altering in order to become more successful.
Dr. Brené Brown has been a huge part of my life since I started practicing yoga. I originally heard her TedTalk on the Power of Vulnerability and watched her video on Empathy. Her lectures have consistently been relevant to my life, and I have found a deep connection with her and her work.
Brown uses her 12 years of research on vulnerability to highlight how being vulnerable can foster inner strength within a person, rather than make them weak (as it oftentimes feels). She stresses the importance of being courageous as we negotiate day-today life, and the need to embrace of all life’s uncertainties.
I was first introduced to Sheryl Sandberg in a Gender Psychology class while I was at university, but I later came to know her as an author and the chief operating officer of Facebook.
Sandberg’s book focuses on the struggles females endure in the workplace, referencing sexism and socialised pressures to leave a career to start a family. Moreover, she discusses how when women attempt to balance motherhood and a career, they often become ridiculed by stay-at-home mothers. This ongoing cycle is vicious, and Sandberg stresses the need for it to be addressed and altered.
Geshe Michael Roach explores the pantheon of great Tibetan teachers through his parable about a man who is brought into a garden by an embodiment of Wisdom. The man meets great historical figures that have influenced Buddhism in Tibet. In the story the man continues to return to the garden with specific questions, but often leaves with answers he did not expect.
We encourage you to celebrate this holiday not only on August 9th, but every day of the year. Find time each day to indulge in the joy of reading, and de-stress both your mind and body. Your brain works hard, so find time to nurture it!
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