You make the most of your energy and focus when you act from inspiration. That’s why this post is chock-full of fantastic quotes you’ll be excited to share with your students. And it lists the best books for yogis to keep you satisfied on your career path and eager for what’s next in your life. These are the resources I used in 2019 to maximize my time and energy as a yoga professional. And I know they can do the same for you, too (now and in the great year to come)!
All of these books left a positive impression in my mind, and many of these new ideas made it into Swagtail posts this year, such as:
- Allow your Natural Talents to Shine
- 6 Business Metrics to Track your Success
- Get Better 1% at a time, and
- Can a Yoga Business put Profit First?
As I mentioned over the past few weeks, mastery is your dedication to excellence in the field of yoga. This journey toward mastery starts with ongoing learning. I highly recommend any of these books below to stay on the cutting edge in the yoga industry–and be the best version of yourself as you do.
If you also want just the quotes below, plus a few more of my favorites from each book, download this PDF now.
Photo Credit: kieferpix
YOGA TEACHING TOOLS
Excellent yoga teachers prepare in advance and frequently share uplifting ideas with their classes in an authentic way. Here are some fantastic books that you’ll want to use over and over again to help you do just that! Some will grip you in a page-turning fashion. Others you’ll want to revisit over and over again in the months to come.
THE RADIANCE SUTRAS, by Loren Roche, PhD
Overview: A kind teacher read out of this book during a yin yoga session in South Lake Tahoe this fall. The Radiance Sutras is a contemporary interpretation of the timeless teachings of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. In these wise words, you discover the sacred exchange between the divine masculine, Shiva, and the divine feminine, Shakti.
But don’t worry about reading all 112 of these contemplative meditations all at once! You can savor them slowly and find just the perfect verse to share with your students based on the class theme you are using at the time.
Favorite Quote: ‘Be conscious of this unconscious prayer (of your breath), for She is the most holy place of pilgrimage. She wishes for you to enter this temple, where each breath is adoration of the infinite for the incarnate form.” Verse 154
LIVING YOUR YOGA, by Judith Lasater
Overview: If you run a yoga teacher training program, or are a new yoga instructor looking to take more of your practice off of the mat, this book is a great resource for truly Living your Yoga! Each chapter is broken up into simple lessons and highlighted with poignant stories that show you how simple applying yogic principles can be in everyday life. Plus, there are activities you can do at the end of each chapter to internalize the concepts right away.
Favorite Quote: “Integrity is what you do when no one is looking.”
THINGS THAT JOIN THE SEA AND THE SKY, by Mark Nepo
Overview: During a blissful Savasana, a teacher at The Yoga Shack in Sarasota read from this incredible book. Things that Join the Sea and the Sky is a collection of short stories that warm your heart and uplift your spirit. Mark shares personal tidbits from his cancer journey to remind you of the infinite power within your mind and body. And you can experience the same yourself via his words of wisdom!
Favorite Quote: “When we can get through the rush of fear, when we can endure its intensity, its real gift shows. For under all fear, no matter how legitimate or inflated, is the shimmer and glow of how precious it is to be alive.”
SPIRITUAL GRAFFITI, by MC Yogi
Overview: You likely know MC Yogi by his incredible music. Yet in his recent autobiography, Spiritual Graffiti, MC Yogi reveals the diverse path that brought him to success. His stories are so heartwarming and interesting that you can’t help but keep reading. In fact, I was so intrigued that I read this book in three days. I started with the intention of reading one or two chapters each night before bed. Only, I couldn’t put it down! This read will surely inspire you on your own yogic journey!
Favorite Quote: “Discipline. Discernment. Devotion. These are the three keys to the door of yoga. The first key, discipline, the physical practice unlocks the body. The second key, discernment, unlocks the mind to reveal what is true. And the third key, devotion, unlocks the heart.”
THE SURRENDER EXPERIENCE, by Michael Singer
Overview: The Surrender Experiment is by Michael Singer, who also wrote The Untethered Soul. What I love most about this book is his authentic and honest approach to letting go of the need to control every aspect of our lives. Many times we think we need to have all of the answers and have to push harder to make our dreams come true.
Singer’s story reveals quite the opposite. He demonstrates in story after story that you can live an extraordinary life without knowing all of the details in advance. And he shares the powerful role meditation played in keeping him aligned and centered as his future shifted course.
Favorite Quote: “When I was willing to let go of the inner noise created by my likes and dislikes, the more I could see the subtle synchronicities in what was unfolding around me. These unexpected concurrences were like messages from life, gently nudging me in the direction she was going.”
Each of the books in this category approach incredibly straight-forward topics with a humorous, yet practical edge. These books give you strategies to create a strong and successful yoga business over time. And you get to save mental energy–and focus more on what you love–when you put these systems into place.
STRETCH, by Scott Sonenshein
Overview: This book was recommended to me two years ago by Buck Lewis, owner of Momentom Yoga, when he first opened his studio. Since he’s still growing hand-over-fist, I knew there had to be some incredible gems in this book to help him attain such success. Sure enough, Stretch teaches you how to perform at a high level even when constraints–financial or otherwise–are present in your life. This book reveals how to succeed with very little, and how you can tap into the incredible value already at your fingertips to leverage your ideas.
Favorite Quote: “Constraints can motivate us to be resourceful, act in more creative ways, and solve problems better. Importantly, we can harvest these same benefits in all times by stretching; making the decision to approach our organizations, jobs, families and lives in ways that see possibilities in what we have and creatively build on–and transform–them for the better.”
DARE TO LEAD, by Brene Brown
Overview: I first listened to this book in the audio version and loved it so much I bought a physical copy to read with my eyes. Perhaps my favorite part of this book is that Brene boldly declares that “a leader is anyone who recognizes the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.”
Sound like you as a yoga teacher? I bet it does! With her quick wit and illuminating stories, you’ll discover how you can Dare to Lead starting now!
Favorite Quote: “Trust is earned in the smallest moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.”
ATOMIC HABITS, by James Clear
Overview: While this book could be easily categorized in the self-improvement section, Atomic Habits is one of the best books I’ve read on how to restructure your approach to business. Not only does he reveal why you fail to make the changes you desire, but he also pinpoints the flawed expectations people take into their work-life (and how to prevent those dire mistakes).
By far this is one of my most referenced books this year! Read it and you’ll be stoked to transform your habits in a way that supports your future (and gives you the structure necessary to reach your goals).
Favorite Quote: “Mastery is the process of narrowing your focus to a tiny element of success, repeating it until you have internalized the skill, and then using this new habit as the foundation to advance to the next level of your development.”
PROFIT FIRST, by Mike Michalowicz
Overview: Profit First completely changed the way I manage money and track my accounting each month. I now have more clarity about the financial health of my business. Plus I have a proven system in place to sustain my profitability. This gives me plenty of resources to grow over time, be prepared for slower seasons, and be able to confidently escape the headaches that often accompany business banking. I know it can do the same for you, too!
Favorite Quote: “You have probably put a lot of work into growing your business. You are probably good–or great–at that part! That’s awesome! And that’s surely half of the equation [for success]. But colossal growth without financial health will still kill your company. With this book, you have the opportunity to master money.”
ROCKET FUEL, by Gino Wickman and Mark Winters
Overview: Have you ever looked for the perfect partner with whom to run your business? If so, it helps to know your strengths so that you can find the optimal person to complement your skillset. Thankfully, Rocket Fuel explains the difference between visionaries and integrators–and how you need both to grow efficiently. There’s even a quiz inside to discern your role. And, you can then use their suggested tools to search for the best counterpart to take your business to the next level.
- “If you are a visionary, you must delegate the role of implementing your ideas in order to elevate yourself and your true talents. This will free up your energy and creativity to grow your company, protect your vision, wow your customers, protect your culture, and stay three steps ahead of everyone–including your competition.”
- “The integrator is the glue that holds the people, processes, systems, priorities, and strategy of a company together.”
Each of the books below I ordered as an audio book first. I love them so much that I actually ordered the physical copies as well so I could mark up my favorite quotes and make notes for future reference. The principles may be straightforward, yet there are endless opportunities in your life (and yoga business) to implement them!
THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK, by Gabrielle Bernstein
Overview: The Universe has your Back was recommended during an interview with Courtenay Smith, owner of The Yoga Shack. While our conversation covered topics such as the best model for studio growth, we also touched on how spirituality can deeply infuse a business to create success. This book is a perfect pairing to the strategic books listed above because it shows you how to weave mysticism in with your marketing and trust in with your P&L statements. The best part is you’ll be more fluid and poised as you work all aspects of your business.
Favorite Quote: “Your purpose is to be joyful. Your purpose is to live with ease. Your purpose is to surrender to the love of the Universe so you can live a happy life. Accept the purpose of love, and your life will radically change this instant.”
BECOMING SUPERNATURAL, by Dr. Joe Dispenza
Overview: If you like scientific confirmation about how the brain and body transform during meditation, this book is for you. Becoming Supernatural is a detailed guide on how to transcend the material world and experience new levels of awareness. It reveals ways the body can heal and how your business can become more abundant.
Chapter 12 stole my heart when Dr. Joe spoke in detail about the pineal gland. And he outlines specific pranayama you can use as a yoga teacher to direct energy up the spine. Think kundalini from a neuroscience perspective! Really cool!
Favorite Quote: “We know that it takes a clear intention (coherent brain) and an elevated emotion (coherent heart) to change a person’s biology from living in the past to living in the future. That combination of mind and body–of thoughts and feelings–also influences matter. That’s how you change your reality.”
GIRL STOP APOLOGIZING, by Rachel Hollis
Overview: This is another book I listened to in audio form before buying the hardback version. I checked it out after hearing Rachel Hollis interviewed on one of my favorite business podcasts. Her down-to-earth approach to life and entrepreneurship deeply resonated with me. And since I’m a recovering people-pleaser, her latest book, Girl, Stop Apologizing piqued my interest. Her constant message is that you are a unique and beautiful person and the world is blessed by your presence. Now it’s time to step up and own it! Thankfully, she gives you strategic ways to do it in all aspects of your life.
Favorite Quote: “Your struggles don’t mean that you’re weak. They mean that you’re human. Your inexperience doesn’t mean you won’t succeed. It just means you haven’t yet.”
NOW, DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS, by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton
Overview: Many people have little awareness of their strengths, much less the ability to let those natural talents shine. Now, Discover your Strengths encourages you to tap into the unique gifts inside of you, and it shares how to best use them for greater success in all areas of your life. The best part is that this book comes with a custom code so you can take their online test to learn which 5 of 34 common strength themes you possess.
Favorite Quote: “Talents are your naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior. Knowledge consists of facts and lessons learned. Skills are the steps of an activity. These three–talents, knowledge, and skills–combine to create your strengths.”
SUPER ATTRACTOR, by Gabrielle Bernstein
Overview: I just finished this audiobook two days ago on my drive from California to Florida. Powerful tools are outlined in each chapter so you can manifest your dreams. And just like last week where my higher self sent me a love letter, so too does Gabby suggest tapping into the wisdom of your personal guides. Plus she offers plenty more simple practices to become an all-around Super Attractor!
Favorite Quote: “By reaching for what appears to be impossible, we often actually do the impossible; and even when we don’t quite make it, we inevitably wind up doing much better than we would have done.”
BEST BOOKS BEYOND THE MAT
As you may know already, Steve and I are audiobook junkies when we travel. This past summer alone we put 16,000 miles on the van. And when we were passing through Olympic National park (where I took images for this Hatha Yoga Sequence), we had someone suggest The Wheel of Time book series. Little did we know that there are 13 books in the series and each one is about 25 hours in length! We started them anyway and we’re hooked! As I write this, we just finished book four! If you like magic and mystery mixed with metaphysics and philosophy, these books are for you!
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Books have the capacity to expand your perspective and refine the steps you take in your yoga business. This post highlights some of the best books for yogis I read in 2019. Many of these principles are timeless, so you can use them in the months and years ahead to craft the life of your dreams. Instead of reading them all at once, I suggest the following:
Take Action Now:
- Download the best quotes from these books (the ones above, plus some of my other favorites from each read. Share them with your classes this week for more inspiration.
- Create your own learning plan. This will help you decide which resources will actually fit into your current schedule.
- Share your favorite books with me! Leave them in the comments section below, or send me an email with your must-have book list!