Five Really Useful Yoga Books

With schedules changing due to current world events I’ve found myself looking beyond the usual books I refer to on my yoga bookshelf.

This selection of five books is not your usual bundle covering physical poses and sequences. Dip in to yoga asana with props, yoga in day to day life, yoga themes for classes, your yoga business & yoga teacher ethics.

These five really useful yoga books are great options to revisit during stay at home and quarantine days.

The Path to Holistic Health – BKS Iyengar

This is a weighty, hardback book that’s not really easy to tote around in your yoga bag! Ideal for home use – and can be used as a thin yoga block too 😉 Bonus!

With yoga practice and online classes from home it’s a great book to leave open for constant referral at the side of your mat.

I love the huge section of the book that incorporates props. Mr Iyengar’s use of props are critical for a balanced practice enabling you to create the form of the poses with support.

The yoga therapy section is also a great help for sequencing for specific needs, conditions and groups. Sooooo useful.

Living your Yoga – Judith Hanson Lasater

This has always been one of my favorite yoga books. I have a very well used copy and will regularly revisit its pages. Nothing about the poses here but lots about how to incorporate yoga into your life – the whole bigger picture of yoga!

Full of personal anecdotes and presented in a down to earth and easy to read way, this book is a must have reference. You can see my more detailed review of Judith’s book here.

Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses – Sage Rountree & Alexandra Desiato

This is a really useful book. In fact, more of a workbook. I bought my copy to help explore new themes when class planning.

As well as using themes from the Yoga Sutras it also explores other quotes and ideas that can support a theme.

There is inspiration to be found in the simple every day moments that are worth exploring and incorporating into your classes.

At the back of the book there are a bunch of useful theme templates that can be used to develop your own ideas. An asset for any yoga teacher or teaching trainee.

every yogi’s bookshelf needs to make space for these really useful yoga books

yogaskinny

The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga – Amy Ippolitti

With the drastic changes in the yoga teaching industry it is crucial to keep a ‘business’ head as we navigate the new normal.

Although some of the teaching scenarios aren’t relevant right at this moment lots of the other content is super relevant. Teaching, marketing, professional relationships, planning & finances are just some of the topics that are all covered in an easy to digest way. You can see a more detailed review of Amy’s book posted here on yogaskinny.

Teaching Yoga – Donna Farhi

I’ve been spending time re-reading Donna Farhi’s book as its focus explores the teacher-student relationship. No yoga sequences or poses to be found here but a well written discussion about the ethics of yoga teaching.

She describes various situations between teacher and student and details ‘ethical inquiries’ as a start point to consider further. It’s a useful read for any yoga teacher wanting to learn more about the teacher/student relationship.

All of these books are worth exploring as part of your own yoga study and practice. Not just focusing on the physical practice but providing an opportunity to nurture your learning, improve your teaching and understand your spiritual connection to this wonderful practice.

As I’m an Amazon affiliate I may receive a small commission for any purchase you make from my blog. However, I do recommend you search for these books through secondhand outlets such as eBay and other sellers. I buy almost all of my yoga books used, have never been disappointed and always save money. win-win!!

Yoga Study Tracker for Yoga Teachers & Trainees

As committed yoga teachers and yoga teachers in training, we will continually invest time in nurturing our learning through yoga trainings, workshops and study. It is important to continue on a learning path and to track our yoga studies.

A critical part of yoga teaching success is the ability to maintain humility and keep the mindset of a yoga student.  Even when we are labeled as the teacher and stand at the front of the yoga room we are still the student.

This is why I developed the Yoga Study Tracker as a way of documenting, logging and keeping track of your study and teaching hours. 

An important document to track your yoga study & teaching for your yoga teaching career

During the course of your yoga career, you will have the opportunity to study and practice with many different teachers from different yoga disciplines. As your teaching and personal practice evolves, so will the areas of practice you are drawn to studying in more depth. 

A study tracker, like your yoga teaching mission statement, is an important document. This is the document that you will constantly update and revise as your learning and teaching career progresses.

You may wish to track continued education unit (CEU) hours for your Yoga Alliance membership. Or, you may want to keep track of your studies and time & financial commitment to your yoga career.

A simple way of keeping track of all of the trainings, workshops, online studies and retreats in which you invest your time, money and energy.

Yoga study comes in many forms. Not just face to face learning but online learning options that are now available to us. It’s so easy to forget or overlook learning experiences that influence our yoga practice and teaching. 

I created this study tracker as a simple way of to log all of the trainings, workshops, online studies and retreats in which you invest your time, money and energy.

It allows you to keep track of your study hours and distinguish those hours that are yoga alliance eligible.

The study tracker allows you to keep track of those that are yoga alliance eligible

It is also a very useful document to refer to when updating your resume and bios. Or for use on your blog or website.  

The study tracker is also a very useful resource for personal information you will need if you are leading workshops and trainings yourself.

The study tracker is a two page document.  The first page details your study and training hours.  The second page is a breakdown of your own teaching hours & yoga related memberships & subscriptions.

Make your study tracker a part of your yoga teaching folder and file with your certificates, mission statement and class plans.

Take a look for yourself on my etsy store, yogaskinnystudio, and get your instantly downloadable study tracker.  A permanent and super useful record of all of your yoga hard work!

(please note – the names of yoga studios and teachers used in the example are fictional! 🙂

Crafted Yoga Flash Cards

mixed media yoga pose tags in a swatch

We’re living at a surreal and stressful time. With the arrival of coronavirus, a stay at home advisory is affecting much of the world’s population and we’re learning to cope with the changes to our day to day routines.

Practicing yoga and spending time on creative projects are two great self care strategies to help manage these challenges.

Yoga pose mixed media tag swatch
Fun and colorful yoga pose flash card swatch

Alongside yoga my favorite creative thing to spend free time doing is working with collage, mixed media and upcycling projects. (I share my mixed media craft on Instagram @maycontainpaper)

I came across a bunch of crafted yoga flash cards I had made for myself during a teacher training. They were simple line drawings and text on index cards but I wanted to make better use of them for home practice. I decided to embellish them in to something more upbeat, fun and colorful.

downward facing dog flash card tag

Ways to Simplify your Life this New Year

Photo by Sarah Ball on Unsplash

New Year. A time for a fresh start and new resolutions. Simplicity and streamlining are two popular resolutions people are making. Here’s some pointers on how to review and simplify your life in your new year.

1 Define The Life You Want

Define what you actually want for your year. Doesn’t need to be an extensive essay just a simple list of priorities and things you want to spend your time on in the coming twelve months. Get creative and spend an afternoon creating a vision board to give you visual reference. Fun to look at and fun to do too.

2 Simplify Schedules

Sometimes it’s our schedules and commitments that clutter our lives. If you really can’t fit four running sessions in to your week simply drop back to two. As your schedule becomes leaner you may find time to fit in that extra run later in the year and then it becomes a real treat!

If you’re a yoga teacher this may mean reviewing your classes. If a class you’re teaching is struggling to build in that time slot after six months hard work maybe take a while to analyze the timing and theme of the class. The time slot may be too inconvenient for students or the clientele may not be wanting hot flow at 11am.

Step back from your teaching and try to define what isn’t working. Remember, it may just mean that that timeslot just may not work for any teacher, not just you. Removing classes like this will free up some time for you to focus on building your other classes and organize your yoga business.

3 Enjoy ‘You’ Time

Make time reading the books you’ve bought but never opened. Spend an extra fifteen minutes meditating by waking up just fifteen minutes earlier. Go walking outside at lunch time or after school drop off or for that trip to the post office. Ignore Netflix for an hour in the evening. Pick up an inspiring magazine like Bella Grace and spend an hour reading, note taking, journaling and doodling.

4 Streamline Your Yoga Practice

Get to class when you can but if fighting traffic to get to that 6pm class adds more stress than necessary consider an extra home practice. If you are a teacher then your home practice is critical to your teaching but, now and again, practice for practice sake instead of constantly class planning. Yoga class planning is critical to your yoga business but so is self care. A stressed yoga teacher will not offer their best in class.

5 Declutter

The classic and one of the most popular resolutions! Declutter! Sort all that stuff that is clogging up your life and your mind to create physical and mental space and clarity.

Start small to avoid overwhelm. Focus on one corner of your kitchen, the hanging clothes section of your closet, your yoga space. Work on decluttering as you go and question any new items you buy or bring in to your home.

Increase the simplicity in your life by reducing the stuff and avoiding consumption. This is challenging in a world of marketing, selling and ‘you must have this’ mentality. When the urge to shop comes over you try to replace it with a moment of stepping on the mat, grab a pencil and notepad to sketch or journal, create something to absorb your thoughts – knitting, cooking, gardening, writing – whatever inspires you to create!

Simplifying life isn’t easy. We all have family, work and life commitments that we need to fulfill. Taking a few moments to observe what is filling your life and deciding what fits in to your personal vision helps you prioritize and perhaps delete a few details to ensure that you are working to simplify your life!

Handmade & Unusual Holiday Gifts for Yogis

List of handmade & unusual gifts for yogis
photo credit markus spiske unsplash

There is something about a handmade gift that is extra special. Unique, thoughtful and creative gifts are always winners. With Christmas holidays fast approaching check out these handmade & unusual gifts for yogis.

Whether you are a crafter yourself or you just love to support crafting communities, this selection of gifts are perfect for your yoga loving friend or family member.

Colorful Yoga Straps

colorful yoga strap used in a forward fold
photo credit ReneeSoulie on Etsy

Why does a yoga strap need to be one color? These straps in funky color combos are strong and functional and sure to brighten any yogi’s practice and yoga space! Take a look at all of the wonderful colors.

Funky Upcycled Yoga Skirts

Upcycled yoga skirt
photo credit mojowear on Etsy

Yogi’s love easy to wear and comfortable yoga clothes. Check out this Etsy crafter who makes these wonderful skirts – perfect for layering over yoga leggings on the way to and from class.

There is something about a handmade gift that is extra special. Check out these handmade & unusual gifts for yogis

Handcrafted Wooden Yoga Blocks

Pile of handmade yoga blocks & props
photo credit burmanwoodcraft on Etsy

Popular with the Iyengar yoga community, the wooden block is a yoga practice must have. These blocks are available in the standard size along with other sizes for every yogic application. Made from reclaimed lumber, these beautifully crafted props are a gift to the environment too.

Super Roomy Yoga Tote Bags

Open tote bag containing yoga mat and towel
photo credit LoveMyMat on Etsy

Roomy and full of useful pockets and zippers for all the class essentials. Phone, keys, wallet, towel and yoga mat all fit in this soft, reversible oversized tote bag. Fabrics are sourced from items such as tablecloths and curtains and upcycled in to these unique bags. Win – Win!!

Upcycled Braided Baskets

handmade, braided basket
photo credit Sewvasana on Etsy

These colorful, hand woven baskets are perfect for storing a yoga strap, eye pillow and incense in a yogi’s yoga space. Made from the leftover fabric scraps from other projects. How awesome is that?!

Sari Silk Bookmarks

three sari silk bookmarks in an open book
Make your own sari silk bookmark gifts

And if you are a crafter yourself, these beautiful sari silk bookmarks are a quick craft I like to make and give myself.

Easy to create using sari silk, thread and upcycled beads this is a unique gift for any avid yoga reader! For details on how to make your own, check out yogaskinny’s sister website maycontainpaper here.

All of these gift ideas are perfect for the dedicated yogi on your gift list and all crafted from upcycled materials too.

Please know that, as a member of the Etsy crafting community myself, I am an Etsy affiliate and will make a small commission from any purchase you make via yogaskinny.