Thursday, October 4, 2012

Niyama: Svadhyaya (spiritual study)

Svadhyaya is one of my favorites.  It's simply spiritual study.  It's reading scriptures, or anything that inspires you.
I love to read.  Since the great tv extraction of 2011, I read all the time.  I have several books going at any given time.  One that's just for fun (I have a strange love of shoot-'em-ups), one that's work or business-related, and something spiritual. 
I know I've mentioned some of these books before, but here are some I recommend from my library:
-The Bible.  One excellent, easy-to-read translation is the ESV, or English Standard Version.  Start with the New Testament, but when you want to get deeper, try the Old.  I especially love the Samuels.  They're like ancient shoot-'em-ups.
-The Thich Nhat Hanh Collection, which includes Peace Is Every Step, Teachings on Love, The Stone Boy and Other Stories
-The Language of Letting Go & More Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie.  Melody is a recovered addict, and writes specifically for AA members, but the lessons apply to all of us.
-My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.  Jill, a brain scientist, suffered a stroke, and it's all about her journey.  Excellent for anyone, but especially family members of stroke-survivors.
-The Mindful Way through Depression, by Williams, Teasdale, Segal, and Kabat-Zinn.  This book will change your inner dialogue, and how you approach mental health.
-Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates & Katrina Kenison.  A great daily study, to help you understand yoga philosophy and your own yoga practice better.
-A Path With Heart, by Jack Kornfield.  As a monk who now lives in the "real world", Jack has some great insights into living outside an ashram while practicing meditation.
-Yoga:  The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness, by Erich Schiffmann.  This is a great place to begin to design an at-home practice.
-Job's Body:  A handbook for body work, by Deane Juhan.  This one's for you anatomy geeks out there.  If you are a massage therapist, a yoga teacher, or a body-worker of any sort, this is a great book.  It changed my understanding of connective tissues, and even of brain function.  Not light reading, but worth slogging through.
So, today, try to make a few minutes for your own inspiring study.  And if you run out of books, let me know...I've got a few more like these sitting around...

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