3 yoga books for all levels and aptitudes

Let me start with a question: do you consider your life to be balanced? You know, enough sleep, decent meals, fun with friends, meaningful work, family time, me time, etc? Motherhood has challenged everything I've known about balance, but carving out time for ourselves, whether or not we have children, is crucial!

Since our move to Florida, thanks to the help of family and friends, I've had much more sleep, girl time, date nights, and even more time for myself (which is often spent watching Sex and the City reruns and munching on unhealthy snacks). But I've set summer goals to write more and get back to my yoga routine, which has turned out to be a bigger challenge than I anticipated! Though yoga was a big part of my life the last decade or so, these days I mostly get five to 10 minutes of stretches here and there. And that's ok. Life ebbs and flows.

It had been a while since I published a book roundup, and I figure this would be a great time for some self-motivation! So here are three books to get you started and/or to take your yoga practice to the next level. I received complimentary review copies, and as always, I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't enjoy them!

Awake: The Life of Yogananda

Paola Di Florio and Lisa Leeman (Self-Realization Fellowship, 2015. DVD, Book, Soundtrack) If you are interested in learning about the benefits and brief history of yoga and meditation, this documentary is a great place to start. The New York Times deemed it “compelling…enough to make a modern soul look inwards.” The film explores the life of world spiritual teacher Paramahansa Yogananda, widely regarded as the father of Yoga in the West. (Yogananda introduced millions of seekers to the ancient Vedic practice through his best-selling spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi). The film, an intimate account of Yogananda’s personal journey in the West, features interviews with musicians Ravi Shankar and George Harrison, holistic health pioneer Deepak Chopra, neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, Harvard Divinity School's Francis Clooney, S.J. and many others.

Restoring Flexibility

Andrea Gilats (Ulysses Press, 2015)  Between pregnancy, birthing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and babywearing, my body has been through a lot in the last three years. And because of that, gentle yoga has been my jam. I've never felt so stiff, and this book's safe, customizable exercises (designed for practitioners of all ages) are meant to restore flexibility, mobility and agility. The books breaks down gentle poses, practice sequences and techniques to help you improve your posture, increase spinal flexibility, release tightness in your shoulders, relax the muscles in your torso, expand mobility in your hip joints, and reduce the chances of injury. Just about everything this mama needs.  

The Complete Guide to Yoga Inversions

Jennifer DeCurtins (Fair Winds Press, 2015) If you want to take your practice to the next level and join the Instafamous yogis who practically live upside down, this book will come in handy! Designed to take anyone from a beginner to an advanced yoga student, The Complete Guide to Yoga Inversions helps readers progress from downward dog to even the most intricate of handstand poses. Besides it being fun and looking insanely cool, yoga inversions improve focus, circulation, all while toning the upper body and core. Fitness and yoga instructor Jennifer DeCurtains breaks down step-by-step how to move through poses and add modifications.

There are tons of yoga resources available for all ages, levels, incomes, and lifestyles these days. Yoga studios are great, but if you are looking for a more affordable option, you can visit your local YMCA. None around? You can practice in your own home with online classes. Besides YouTube, you can check out websites like yogadownload.com and oneOeight.com for classes you can do at your own pace.

Your turn. How do you spend your ME time?

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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.