Every week for a decade, Heather Foat has been composing yoga classes around excerpts from books calling the experience, "A Book Club on the Yoga Mat."
Discover great new reads that will enhance your life including books that expand self-awareness, navigate life purpose, release past pain, and more.
The Joy Within: A beginner's guide to meditation
by Joan Goldstein & Manuela Soares
A retreat from the chaos of the world.
An uncomplicated read, The Joy Within intertwines creativity into its short and powerful chapters on meditation featuring stories, practices for inward and outward focus, and a four-week meditation program in the back of the book.
A favorite 'Book Club on the Yoga Mat' read, you won't merely be counting your breath, the authors present visualizations that help you access a point of stillness in your mind and what a gift to yourself that would be!
Journey to the Heart
by Melody Beattie
My over loved, weathered book is a treasure.
A 365-day read, you are bound to resonate with any passage.
Though you'll read a short paragraph, it will establish the tone for your entire day as she invites you to: Keep your Heart Open, Let Go of the Blocks, Take Better Care of Yourself, Don't Hurry, Value Your Passion, etc.
Get it for yourself or offer it as the perfect present, this read is a highly suggested book to keep for your lifetime.
Way of the Peaceful Warrior
by Dan Millman
"Way of the Peaceful Warrior is based on the story of Dan Millman, a world champion athlete, who journeys into realms of romance and magic, light and darkness, body, mind, and spirit." -Goodreads
Different than the typical personal development book, this enchanting read is part-autobiographical, part-fiction.
The unique intertwining of his story, philosophy, and wisdom is sure to make an impression on you and do as the cover reads "change your life."
Other Suggestions: The Journeys of Socrates, and Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior
The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice
by Deborah Adele
People often say, "Heather, I love your yoga classes and what you share, but how do I apply the practice into my life?"
This is how.
Never does picking up this book get old.
It is the special, relatable delivery on the yamas and niyamas that includes non-violence, purity, and contentment, that makes Adele's book incredibly impactful on your deepest self.
Understandable and with questions at the end of each chapter for self-reflection, this small book is absolutely worth getting and will help you on so many levels.
Erin Hanson, e.h.
The Underground Poet
Reverie- the Poetic Underground
Voyage- the Poetic Underground #2
Dreamscape- the Poetic Underground #3
I discovered e.h. poetry in San Diego, CA, at a Farmer's market. A woman had inscribed her words on different forms of medium, and immediately my heart was seized.
This young Aussie with remarkable depth is the predominant poet I reference in my yoga classes because her writing beautifully supplements the theme and intention of what I am sharing.
My favorites are: "Once upon a time," "You are your own home," "86,400 seconds," "The tale of a girl."
Follow her on Instagram, pin her poems to your Pinterest account, or grab one of her self-published books, I'll have no doubt she'll capture you as she has me.
The Tao of Pooh
The Te of Piglet
by Benjamin Hoff
As a kid, Winnie The Pooh taught me about emotions in a portrayal that was both comprehensible and lighthearted, so when I learned about Taoism and the impact it had on one of my favorite authors, I aspired to learn more and stumbled upon this unique delivery.
Taoism: "Realize the potential for individual wisdom... This intuitive knowing of "life" cannot be grasped as a concept; it is known through actual living experience of one's everyday being." -Wikipedia
An enlightening read, get swept into the lives of your favorite childhood characters from the enchanting workings of Benjamin Hoff.
"What's this you're writing?" asked Pooh, climbing onto the writing table.
"The Tao of Pooh," I replied.
"The how of Pooh?" asked Pooh, smudging one of the words I had just written.
"The Tao of Pooh," I replied, poking his paw away with my pencil.
"It seems more like ow! of Pooh," said Pooh, rubbing his paw.
"Well, it's not," I replied huffily.
"What's it about?" asked Pooh, leaning forward and smearing another word.
"It's about how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances!" I yelled.
"Have you read it?" asked Pooh...
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
by Elizabeth Gilber
This book will help you welcome your spirit of inquiry and "hidden treasures."
Its been a few years since I buried myself into the pages of this book, but I can still bear the support and gentle nudge from Elizabeth Gilbert that encourages what's brewing inside the opportunity to have life. There particularly was a sharing in the book that I've carried in my heart to this day about the poet, Ruth Stone that Gilbert references.
Growing up in rural Virginia, Ruth would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barrelling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming…cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, “run like hell” to the house as she would be chased by this poem.
The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page.
Other times she wouldn’t be fast enough, so she would be running and running, and she wouldn’t get to the house, and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it, and it would “continue on across the landscape looking for another poet”.
What would life look like if you saw your idea through and gave it a beginning, middle and end?
It did find you after all.
Daily Love: Growing into Grace
by Mastin Kipp
My fondness for Mastin Kipp started with his blog, Daily Love in 2011.
Called "The Next Generation of Spiritual Seekers" by Oprah Winfrey, Mastin's inspirational words supported me when I was working at a job that was crushing my essence.
Enthusistically devoted to reading daily his heartening words, he nudged me towards what I already knew: that I should follow the compass of my heart.
Mastin was one of the positive influencers that helped me get out of my own way, and raised my spirits to be the person I knew deeply I was supposed to be: forgiveness, purpose, love, authenticity.
Get daily doses of inspiration at www.dailylove.com
Read his blog at www.MastinKipp.com which features writings such as:
The Presence Process
by Michael Brown
Michael Brown would suggest that we are all emotionally underdeveloped.
Sharing the seven-year cycle, he explains that between infancy and seven years old you learn to use your emotions to get what you want, but then between 7-14, you get enrolled in school and start to focus on your mind. At 14-21, the focal point moves to the physical body as you become interested in your body and others.
A presence process, learn to feel what you feel without masking it.
A 12-week experiment. You could give it a try right away or read in its entirety.
by Wayne Dyer
I will forever be indebted to Dr. Wayne Dyer for the ways he positively impacted my life. He spoke to the depths of me.
Imagine your whole body covered in eyeballs, always looking outward: comparing, competing, money, possessions, etc. This book is about closing your eyes and turning your attention inward.
Though the body is always shedding, who is the I that remains? He questions.
The perfect nudge to be all that you were meant to be.
The Miracle of Mindfulness
by Thich Nhat Hanh
"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.
Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child- our own two eyes. All is a miracle."
When I lived in San Diego, CA, as often as I could go, I would attend Sunday mornings at Thich Nhat Hanh's donation-based monastery, Deer Park.
Tucked away on a hillside, upon arrival a monk in a dark brown robe would share a concise intention and slowly, without talking, a large group of us would walk through nature taking one mindful step at a time.
"We are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life..."
The teachings, influential stories and personal check-in to acknowledge if mindfulness is displayed in your actions with tools to aid you, will wake you up to life.
The Book of Joy
by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams
We all want to be untroubled. It doesn't matter your race, upbringing, or where you live in the world, we all wish to be happy but we often self-sabotage.
This book is about the Dalai Lama (Buddhism) and his friend Desmond Tutu (Christianity) coming together with writer Douglas Abrams (Judaism) to share their life experiences, teachings, have a giggle at each other and discuss how are we to find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering?
A girlfriend advised, "everyone should read this book!" and I completely agree.
The four pillars of mental immunity: perspective, humility, humor and acceptance particularily made a lasting impression on my life.
One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth
by Iyanla Vanzant
My friend suggested it. We were in our mid to late twenties, fresh into yoga and diving into our depths of personal growth.
It's an interactive book. Every morning and night for 40 days you are prompted to read, highlight, and journal write within the pages to heal, unwrap and recognize who you truly are and want to be.
More religious than spiritual, adjust it to your own interpretation and beliefs.
Another suggestion: Until Today: Daily Devotions for Personal Growth and Peace of Mind
Attitudes of Gratitude
by M.J. Ryan
2020 has been shit!
Like everyone, I have been feeling the mental and emotional sadness and tiredness it has brought. This is why I have decided to pull out my book Attitudes of Gratitude to charm me out of this depression.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity..." -Melody Beattie is quoted in the book to have said.
Small passages, M.J. with sweet guidance reminds you of the ways gratitude boosts health, and suppresses worry. She'll aid you to foster the mindset to recognize what is right and working in your life as we move through this devastating time.
Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom
by Rick Hanson
I can devour books on love, mindfulness, and forgiveness but to understand why I do what I do is a different story. To gain an understanding of yourself it would be encouraged to acquire knowledge about the operations of your brain.
Providing psychology, neurology, and introspective practices, this book supplies sensible tools and skills to help you understand, and restructure your brain for your greater good.
"Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Gandhi, and the Buddha all had brains built essentially like anyone else's, yet they were able to harness their thoughts and shape their patterns of thinking in ways that changed history.
With new breakthroughs in modern neuroscience and the wisdom of thousands of years of contemplative practice, it is possible for us to shape our own thoughts in a similar way for greater happiness, love, compassion, and wisdom."
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
by Sarah Ban Breathnach
The above book image is the female copy, but she too also has this book for males.
Quotes, lessons, stories, insight, creativity, I LOVE THIS BOOK and highly suggest it.
Within it's pages, you'll be stimulated to make your authentic self visible, declutter what no longer serves you internally and externally, you'll remember what's important, and come to know and live a life of Simple Abundance.
Depending on where you reside in the world, you may have to go to the month that fits your season as Sarah moves through them. I would however suggest starting with January to set the tone of the Simple Abundance Journey and then go to the month that fits after.
by Dr. Amir Levin and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A.
Are you Anxious, Avoidant or Secure? How the science of adult attachment can help you find- and keep- love
I teach a weekly private yoga class to a Senior Clinical Social Worker who holds a PhD and specializes in Trauma.
As she and I do, we transparently share our present experiences with life, and with COVID, I'll say I've been learning a lot about myself and holding space for my partner, to have patience, be supportive, etc.
She was reading Attached and suggested I too give it a look. I haven't finished it yet.
Science-based, I'm benefiting from it not only helping me to learn about myself (Anxious attachment) through its research and quizzes but appreciate as well that it opens up a dialogue with my partner (Secure attachment) for us to understand each other.
You are a Badass
by Jen Sincero
"We'd rather do what's expected of us than give ourselves permission to be, do and have what feels good and right and awesome...
Get really good at listening to your intuition and your heart, and following your happiness- it's critical."
Whitty, spicy, a firecracker, Jen Sincero will build you up and let you know that if she can do it, you can do!
This lighthearted, intoxicating read offers stories, exercises and advice to pep you up, give you a giggle and entice you to be the best you can be.
Meditations From The Mat
by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
Yoga is not a workout, it is a work in. Though it may have started that you got on your mat to get toned and become more flexible, as you return you soon realize the practice is much more. With self-direction, discovery, and understanding, you begin to take a look at yourself and experiment with inquiry.
Who am I? How do I conduct myself towards others? How profound is the breath on my body and mind? Where can concentration and meditation take me?
"The time for asking questions will be temporary. The questions will be followed by answers, the answers by action, and the action by growth."
Inspired by a quote from a philosopher, or author, musician, yoga influencer, or a positive difference-maker, everyday entwined in Meditations from the Mat are reflections to aid you on your personalized journey.
"We are the ones we've been waiting for." -Hopi elder
The Mastery of Love
by Don Miguel Ruiz
"To master a relationship is all about you.
The first step is to become aware, to know that everyone dreams his own dream. Once you know this, you can be responsible for your half of the relationship, which is you."
Easily, this book can be completed in a few days.
Intriging, and comprehensible, get a glimpse of your mind and the workings of it in a way that will help you perceive your hesitation to love, why you clench onto love, and in consequence, why loving yourself is imperative to master love.
Other suggestions: The Four Agreements, The Four Agreements: Companion Book
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
by Deepak Chopra
The Law of Pure Potentiality, The Law of GIving, The Law of "Karma," The Law of Least Effort, The Law of Intention and Desire, The Law of Detachment, The Law of Purpose in Life...
These are the Seven Spiritual Laws.
"Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind...what we sow is what we reap.
And when we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success."
-The Law of "Karma" or Cause and Effect
Just a bit over 100 pages, quiet down the mind, become more wakeful in consciousness, and acquire knowledge through these Laws and Applications to be your true self.
Moving forward: Taking the lead in your life
by Dave Pelzer
Would you walk, drive, eat, watch TV or go on a date with a duffle bag of your smelly shit next to you?
Most people do. Swung their shit over their shoulders and transport it with them everywhere they go allowing it to negatively impact every angle of their life.
"If you're forty, and still brooding over something that happened in your mid-teens, have you in fact wasted more years of your life than the event itself occupied?
Learn to let go and move forward from the author that wrote the bestselling memoir A Child called 'It.
Many Lives, Many Masters
by Brian L. Weiss, M.D.
My fiance's friend was murdered.
I had been reading this book before the horrific incident and I concluded it on a holiday after.
I never considered the afterlife but reading this book immensely helped my heart.
This book will change not only how to see death but you'll question how old your soul is, where you've been, who you've been, it will widen your perspective if you deal with an unnerving characteristic, and it will have you think about how we all may be linked.
Hector and the Pursuit of Happiness
based on Francois Lelord's novel
Are you feeling confused about what the purpose of life is?
Do you feel like your getting lost in the pursuit of being someone of importance and rich?
This movie reminds us what happiness is: spontaneity, not pretending, being up for change, and to love like you've never loved before.
“Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.”
Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist
by Michael J. Fox
I listened to this book on audio and what an inspiration it was! It was the way he shared his story, his descriptions, and the vulnerability in his voice.
I wrote a blog about an insert from it where he shared a time we went on a road trip with his son, Sam, and the lesson he was trying to convey to him surprisingly he learned from as well, and maybe you will too?
Check it out: