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Book Review: Two of the Most Popular Yoga Books of 2020
As yoga teachers, we are always students. For me, that translates into an insatiable desire for continuous learning. So, I’m always looking for great new sources of knowledge and inspiration and I often turn to books. But, not all yoga books are created equal. I thought I’d share my thoughts on two of the hottest, most popular yoga books of 2020 (so far!).
The first yoga book review is: Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses: A Practical Workbook for Integrating Themes, Ideas, and Inspiration into Your Class by Sage Rountree (who we featured in our free 108 YTT Tips e-book) and Alexandra DeSiato
If you’re a recent graduate of a YTT looking to jump into teaching classes on the regular, then this is the book for you. A basic handbook to finding and outlining the themes for your classes, Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses will prepare you for the yoga teacher gauntlet; trying to stand out as an instructor while teaching copious amounts of classes and avoiding burnout.
The authors are experienced instructors who’ve narrowed down 54 classic yogic themes and provided you with quotes, ideas and even music to play as you tackle each theme in your classes. The book also includes practical advice on elevating your teaching from good to great through combatting nerves, finding authenticity and clarifying your theme.
I enjoyed reading through this book and know it will be like a yoga teaching manual I refer to time and time again whenever I need a little bit of inspiration. I especially enjoyed the journaling-style questions and the clear, easy to use organization of the book. That being said, it truly is a workbook and includes a rather large section where the reader is encouraged to write down their own themes and ideas. Although handy, I found this book could have gone significantly more in-depth. It felt a bit basic however I can see how it would be useful for a rookie instructor just getting started. I would have loved a deeper dive into the themes perhaps with scripts for guided meditations, stories about the themes and entire playlists rather than just singular songs to play in your themed classes. Nevertheless, I get that this is just a ‘workbook’ and it could have easily turned into a textbook if too much more detail was added.
I recommend this book as a quick source of reference and inspiration, especially if you’re a newer instructor looking to gather ideas around theming.
The next yoga book up for review is: The Language of Yin: Yoga Themes, Sequences and Inspiration to Bring Your Class to Life and Life to Your Class by Gabrielle Harris.
Do yourself a favor and buy this book. Regardless of whether you ever want to teach Yin or not, this book is an invaluable source of inspiration. The author, Gabrielle Harris, was unknown to me when I purchased this book. Her credentials indicate she is a strong leader in the Yin Yoga community in New Zealand and she’s had many ‘rockstar’ YTT instructors over the years but this is the first I’ve heard of her, although I’m certain it won’t be the last.
The Language of Yin breaks down a collection of popular themes for asana practices by dedicating each chapter to well-known yoga concepts like the Yamas, Buddhist influence, the seasons, and Hindu deities. The chapters provide a class plan including images of all the postures and their sequence, scripted meditations and points to speak to. It also includes, poems, inspiration on how to begin a yin class and descriptions on how to guide your students in and out of each posture.
This book is as thorough as it is beautiful; expect to fall in love with each theme and sequence every time you open this book up. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the meditations and poems to my students. I’ve also enjoyed the variety of themes which I may have never considered before like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chakras. Although the book is geared specifically towards Yin Yoga, many of the themes and readings can apply to all other styles of yoga as well. If you’ve ever felt a bit stuck in the limited series of yin postures, you will be amazed by all the sequencing possibilities this book includes. Do it, buy this book and you will cherish is just as I am.
Here are the links to the books, for your convenience.
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