Flow into Reading | Yoga Books

Two how-to guides for readers interested in alleviating physical or mental stress via a yoga or mindfulness practice.

Larkin, Brett. Yoga Life: Habits, Poses, and Breathwork To Channel Joy Amidst the Chaos. Balance: Grand Central. Dec. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781538726099. pap. $19.99. HEALTH

Larkin, the creator of the first online yoga certification program, presents an action plan for readers ready to strip away yoga’s spiritual aspects and create a habit-based, goal-oriented personal practice. The book does offer snippets of yogic philosophy and foundational details, but there are personal stories too. For example, in the introduction, Larkin explains how she hit rock bottom when she found herself with overwhelming responsibilities as a first-time mother with a newborn and a caregiver for her father, who was battling cancer, all while unpacking from a move to a state where she didn’t know anyone. The book spotlights what Larkin calls “Yoga of Awareness,” a system of personalizing and adapting yoga practices to meet one’s needs and available time (instead of accepting a one-size-fits-all approach). Larkin gives readers easy, action steps to incorporate yoga into daily routines. VERDICT For all skill levels. Readers will gain strategies to disrupt boundaries between their mats and their lives.

Shachoy, Cator. The TMJ Handbook: A Therapeutic Guide to Relieving Jaw Tension and Pain with Yoga and Mindfulness. Shambhala. Mar. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781645471035. pap. $24.95. HEALTH

Yoga therapist and mindfulness teacher Shachoy shows readers who grit their teeth through challenging yoga postures how to relieve their jaw tension during their practice. From its overview of jaw-related disorders to an illuminating, detailed explanation of how internal systems work and how yoga, meditation, and other wellness techniques can help, the book is well-organized and carefully illustrated. The title focuses especially on TMJ, which causes pain and soreness in the jaw joints and surrounding ligaments and muscles. Shachoy’s deep knowledge gained through teaching yoga and practicing craniosacral massage, a gentle massage technique, shines throughout, and she is careful to balance her recommendations of alternative healing options with conventional approaches, such as going to the dentist. VERDICT A solid how-to guide for readers interested in alleviating physical or mental stress via a yoga or mindfulness practice. This book is also a thought-provoking reminder of how interconnected the parts of the body are.

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