3 comments on “Establishing a Home Yoga Practice”

Establishing a Home Yoga Practice

imageYoga in America is booming. A 2016 report by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance reported that 36.7 million people practice yoga, up from 20.4 million in 2012, and 28 percent of all Americans having taken a yoga class at some point in their lives. As a result, the demand for yoga instructors has never been higher and increasing numbers of practitioners are becoming inspired to teach — a career that can be as challenging as it is fulfilling.

In their new book The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga: The Yoga Professional’s Guide to a Fulfilling Career, yoga “teacher of teachers” Amy Ippoliti and wellness entrepreneur Taro Smith, PhD, build on their popular “90 Minutes to Change the World” online course for yoga professionals to offer instructors a road map for creating a career that sustains and inspires not only themselves, but their students as well.

We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book, which offers powerful tips for fitting a home yoga practice into your busy schedule, which should prove helpful to both yoga teachers and practitioners alike.

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Have you ever taken a yoga class when you could just tell that the teacher was not into it? Or have you been that teacher? A passionless teacher can’t inspire students. Fortunately, there is a remedy, and that is to get on your own yoga mat and meditation cushion. As the yogini Dana Trixie Flynn puts it, “Just as a concert musician must practice their instrument, a yoga teacher must practice on their mat.”

This doesn’t mean going to a workshop or retreat only once in a while — though that can be nice — and coming back inspired and enthusiastic. This is about continual refueling. It means getting on your yoga mat consistently, at home, in a class, or at a practice for teachers and advanced students.

This may seem obvious, but the majority of teachers we’ve polled complain that their single biggest challenge as a teacher is keeping up their own practice. If this is a problem for you, here are some ideas to get you rolling. If you’re practicing consistently already, you can skim this section, but you might consider helping to uplift the whole teaching community by organizing group practices that help others stay motivated too.

Establish — and Maintain — Your Home Practice
Having a practice of your own can be not only empowering but often incredibly creative and innovative. If you don’t continue to practice regularly in addition to teaching, your only source of inspiration for your teaching is the stale memory of a regular practice. Do whatever it takes to get yourself on your mat five to seven days a week, even if only for a short time. Put on your favorite music first thing in the morning, and get on your mat and just experiment with movement.

Vow to practice at least ten minutes a day, five to seven days a week. By committing to only ten minutes, you avoid putting pressure on yourself, and you’re more likely to stick to the resolution. If you start small, you will find yourself craving more time on the mat.

Create a dedicated space in your home for your practice. This will encourage you to practice at home more often. It doesn’t have to be anything special — and you certainly don’t want to put so much thought into it that the planning process prevents you from rolling out your mat! But when you put just enough energy into a space, it can become magnetic, drawing you onto the mat.

Other tips for practicing consistently and keeping your practice interesting include the following:

  • Go straight from your bed to the mat in the morning
  • Queue up new music to listen to while practicing
  • Attempt a new pose and do a warm-up that gets you there
  • Practice someplace new — in a different room, outside, or even in a hot tub
  • Lay out your mat in an unavoidable space
  • Set a goal for the week, such as a certain number of days on the mat, a certain pose, or more time in a pose
  • Keep an asana and meditation journal to stay accountable to yourself
  • Write down any inspiring sequences you’ve done in other teachers’ classes or practices, and work on them again

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Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith, PhD are the authors of The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga and founders of the online school 90 Monkeys, which has enhanced the skills of yoga teachers and studios in over 40 countries. Amy is known for bringing yoga to modern-day life in a genuine way and has been featured on the covers of Yoga Journal and Fit Yoga Magazine. Taro is the Chief Content Officer at Yoga Glo and has over two decades of experience developing yoga, medical, and wellness enterprises. They both live in Boulder, Colorado. Visit them online at www.90monkeys.com and www.AmyIppoliti.com.

Excerpted from the book The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga. Copyright © 2016 by Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith, PhD. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. http://www.newworldlibrary.com

9 comments on “What’s new on my yoga bookshelf”

What’s new on my yoga bookshelf

A Few Yoga Books from 2010

A picture of some of my older yoga books…it’s hard to stack up Kindle yoga books…It’s been quite a long time since I last posted about the yoga-related books I’ve been reading. There’s no doubt that my reading habits have certainly shifted the last few years. I used to always have a book on its way in the mail, which still happens sometimes, but for the most part I’ve moved away from holding a physical book in my hands to reading or listening to books on whatever device happens to be nearby. I still love the feel of paper, and for some books the digital version just doesn’t quite do the physical copy justice, but it’s a digital world we live in and so I’ve adapted. Also, the fact that I move so frequently makes it really painful to haul boxes and boxes of books back and forth across the world. For that reason alone it’s a very good thing I live in the 21st century and love my Kindle and Audible books.

This page is an ongoing work in progress to list the yoga-related books in my collection.

If the book has something to do with yoga, meditation, or mindful living I plan to include it on the list. The newest books will periodically be added to the top of the scroll and I’ll continue to add more detail about the books and authors and maybe include some favorite quotes or videos related to each book. The fact that a book is included doesn’t necessarily mean that I read the whole thing or actually recommend it, but for the most part I mainly just enjoy gleaning what I can from any yoga book and don’t really worry too much about being a literary critic… Some of these were sent to me by publishers or authors, which is great, but I bought most of them on my own dime.

I hope you enjoy scrolling through the books–it will continue to grow–and feel free to leave a comment if you have recommendations on what I should read next!

Yoga Wisdom: Warrior Tales Inspiring You On and Off Your Mat by Stephanie Spence


The Magic Ten and Beyond by Sharon Gannon


The Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru by Philip Goldberg


The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga by Marlynn Wei and James Groves
Harvard Guide to Yoga

Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy by Sadhguru
Inner Engineering

Two Turns from Zero by Stacey Griffith
Two Turns from Zero

Go Go Yoga Kids: Empower Kids for Life Through Yoga by Sara J. Weis
Gogo Yoga for Kids

The Teacher Appears: 108 Prompts to Power Your Yoga Practice by Brian Leaf
The Teacher Appears by Brian Leaf

Ready to Run by Dr. Kelly Starrett
Ready to Run by Kelly Starrett

The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance by George Mumford
The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford

The Yogafit Athlete by Beth Shaw

The yogafit athlete--Beth Shaw

Perfectly Imperfect: The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice by Baron Baptiste

Perfectly Imperfect by Baron Baptiste

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic

Lilias! Yoga: Your Guide to Enhancing Body, Mind, and Spirit in Midlife and Beyond by Lilias Folan
Lilias! YOGA

Yoga for Sports: A Journey Towards Health and Healing by B.K.S. Iyengar
Yoga for Sports B.K.S. Iyengar

A Killer Retreat (A Downward Dog Mystery) by Tracy Weber
Weber_cover A Killer Retreat

The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science by Culadasa (John Yates)
The Mind Illuminated

Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation by Professor Mark W. Muesse (From The Great Courses series on Audible)

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris

Krishnamacharya: His Life and Teachings by A.G. Mohan
Learn more about A.G. Mohan at his website: Svastha Yoga and Ayurveda.

Health, Healing, and Beyond: Yoga and the Living Tradition of T. Krishnamacharya by T.K.V. Desikachar

The Yoga of the Yogi: The Legacy of T. Krishnamacharya by Kausthaub Desikachar

The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards by William J. Broad
Science of Yoga

Core of the Yoga Sutras: The Definitive Guide to the Philosophy of Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
Core of the Yoga Sutras

Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar
Light on Life

Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois by Guy Donahaye and Eddie Stern

Yoga Mala Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

The Bhagavad Gita translated by Eknath Easwaran

The Path of Yoga: An Essential Guide to Its Principles and Practices by Georg Feuerstein

Yoga Cures: Over 50 Simple Routines for Radiant Health by Tara Stiles
Yoga Cures by Tara Stiles

Yoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings for Healing the Body, Mind, and Heart by Gary Kraftsow

The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark

Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit by Ana T. Forrest

The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners by Jack Hawley

The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living by Stephen Cope

The Tree of Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar

Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing by Timothy McCall, M.D.
Yoga as Medicine

There is No App for Happiness: How to Avoid a Near-Life Experience by Max Strom
There is No App for Happiness

Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana
Mindfulness in Plain English

Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison

Meditations from the Mat

Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual by David Swenson

Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual

The Power of Ashtanga Yoga by Kino MacGregor

The Power of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga: The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Dynamic Yoga by John Scott

Ashtanga Yoga

  • Here’s a short, but inspiring, clip of the author demonstrating and explaining Ashtanga yoga.

Being of Power: The 9 Practices to Ignite an Empowered Life by Baron Baptiste


40 Days to Personal Revolution by Baron Baptiste


The Yoga Bootcamp Box: An Interactive Program to Revolutionize Your Life by Baron Baptiste

Journey Into Power by Baron Baptiste

Yoga for Warriors: Basic Training in Strength, Resilience & Peace of Mind by Beryl Bender Birch

Yoga for Warriors

Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations And Techniques by Mark Stephens

Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews

Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

Light on Prãnãyãma: The Yogic Art of Breathing by B.K.S. Iyengar

Yin Yoga: Principles and Practice by Paul Grilley

Yoga Beyond Belief: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice by Ganga White


Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope

The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling by Stephen Cope

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh


Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being by Thich Nhat Hanh

My Spiritual Journey by The Dalai Lama

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

Buddhist Boot Camp by Timber HawkeyeWhere

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg

Yoga for Dummies by Larry Payne

The Yoga-Sutra Of Patanjali: A New Translation With Commentary (Shambhala Classics) by Chip Hartranft

The Inner Tradition Of Yoga: A Guide To Yoga Philosophy For The Contemporary Practitioner by Michael Stone

  • To learn more about the author, Michael Stone, visit his website.
  • Here’s a video of the author describing his approach to yoga.

The Inner Tradition of Yoga by Michael Stone from Toronto Body Mind on Vimeo.

Myths of The Asanas: The Ancient Origins of Yoga by Alanna Kaivalya, Arjuna van der Kooij

  • Visit the author’s website for more information on the Kaivalya Yoga Method.

Yoga Beneath The Surface: An American Student And His Indian Teacher Discuss Yoga Philosophy And Practice by Srivatsa Ramaswami, David Hurwitz


The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga: The Authoritative Presentation-Based on 30 Years of Direct Study Under the Legendary Yoga Teacher Krishnamacha by Srivatsa Ramaswami


Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton

  • Book review and some good comments on mayaland.

The Subtle Body: The Story Of Yoga In America by Stefanie Syman

The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele

Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life by Judith Hanson Lasater

Ashtanga Yoga: Practice And Philosophy by Gregor Maehle

Yoga And The Path Of The Urban Mystic by Darren Main

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit by Deepak Chopra


The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga: 50 Routines for Flexibility, Balance, and Focus by Sage Rountree

The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy by Cyndi Dale


  • Visit the author’s website for additional exploration.

Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga by Benjamin Lorr

Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann


Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living by Donna Farhi

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Sri Swami Satchidananda


  • Visit Sri Swami Satchidananda’s website.

The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita – A Commentary for Modern Readers by Sri Swami Satchidananda

Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell


27 Things to Know About Yoga by Victoria Klein

  • Check out Daily Cup of Yoga’s Review of 27 Things. This is really a great little yoga book!
  • You will also enjoy reading Victoria Klein’s great yoga blog.

The Mirror of Yoga: Awakening the Intelligence of Body and Mind by Richard Freeman

The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels (Self-Realization Fellowship) by Paramahansa Yogananda


How to be Happy All the Time by Paramahansa Yogananda


Man’s Eternal Quest: Collected Talks and Essays – Volume 1 (Self-Realization Fellowship) by Paramahansa Yogananda


Journey to Self-Realization – Collected Talks and Essays. Volume 3 (Self-Realization Fellowship) by Paramahansa Yogananda


Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship) by Paramahansa Yogananda



11 comments on “Bliss is Not an Attitude”

Bliss is Not an Attitude

Version 2

For me the reality of bliss within is not just a nice, fanciful New Age idea. It is not a mood, or an attitude of happiness. Bliss is a way of being in the world, and can be established as an achievement from meditation and one’s own personal development. Inversely, trying to create happiness on a surface level is not sustainable and can even create strain, especially if one actually feels bad, but is pretending to be happy.

Trying to be happy or positive can foster an insincere and disingenuous state of mind, or mood making. Mood making is not healthy for our emotional state and can tend to put others off.

I am certainly not speaking badly of someone who is trying to change his or her mood and be positive, but if it is forced it will not have a lasting effect.

Bliss: A Bi-product of Diving Within

It is astonishing to think that within every one of the 8 billion people on this planet exists an ocean of calm. In each one of us there is a field of bliss, whereby we can access true peace.

According to the Vedas, all of creation is ultimately made of bliss.

All Creation is Made of Bliss

The Vedas, the ancient literature from India, express that all creation is essentially made of bliss.

Out of bliss, all beings are born,
In bliss they are sustained,
And to bliss they go and merge again.

Anandaddheyva khalvimani bhutani jayante
Anandena jatani jivanti
Anandam prayantyabhisamvishanti
-Taittiriya Upanishad (3.6.1)

Bliss: Our Essential Nature

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought Transcendental Meditation out of the Himalayas and introduced this concrete experience of bliss to the world. He described bliss as our own essential nature and often quoted a Sanskrit expression that explains consciousness as sat, chit, ananda.

Sat means the absolute, non-changing reality of life.
Chit means consciousness, or wakefulness.
Ananda means bliss.

Bliss: The Message of all Great Teachers

Maharishi often said that “the purpose of life is the expansion of happiness” and that “life is here to enjoy.” When we experience our essential nature through meditation, this reality of bliss grows more and more as a state of Being. This inner experience of Being is not dependant on anything from the outside for its fulfillment.

All the great teachers throughout time have expounded this reality. Christ said, “the kingdom of heaven is within” and Buddha talked about nirvana.

We do want to follow our bliss in the outside world, as recommended by the great mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell. However, if we really want the deeper values of bliss in our lives we need to dive within and experience transcendence.

The outside world is always changing and moments of happiness will always go as quickly as they come. The bliss I am speaking of here is more than just a momentary experience of happiness in the outer world. It is a transcendental experience of wholeness, complete happiness, contentment, and heavenly joy. In its most stabilized form the continuum of bliss is a hallmark of the state of enlightenment.

Traveling to experience this bliss within is the first step on the journey toward enlightenment. The most beautiful aspect of this journey is that you don’t have to go anywhere. The Self unfolds itself, to itself, by itself, within itself, for itself. By enjoying the bliss within I very naturally and spontaneously live bliss more and more in my everyday life. It is this feeling, and this message I most want to share with the world.

Wishing you all peace of the truest kind,
Ann Purcell


Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Ann Purcell. Ann is an author and has been teaching meditation around the world since 1973. In addition, she has worked on curricula and course development for universities and continuing education programs. Her latest book, The Transcendental Meditation Technique and the Journey of Enlightenment, was released on March 13, 2015. 41Zk+UVxcPL

0 comments on “Sacred Sound: Mantras & Chants”

Sacred Sound: Mantras & Chants


Many years ago when I started a yoga practice, I had no idea what it would reveal to me. I was just hoping for a little extra strength and flexibility, and I did what I could to avoid all the spiritual trappings of the practice. But, somehow, as it does, the yoga did its job. Over the years it brought me through physical, psychological, and emotional revelations that I can’t imagine would have taken place otherwise.

One of the most powerful insights has come through the use of sound and mantra as a basis for the practice. I was born with a hearing impairment that gave me a unique relationship to sound. As a child, I would feel sound, vibration, tone, and intonation in order to more fully access my world. This was second nature to me, but through my studies of yoga (and physics!), I suddenly found a reason behind my special relationship to sound. Just as important, through yoga’s rich mythology, I also gained context and meaning to better understand how the inner and outer practices of yoga work. It is from this perspective that I have always practiced and taught, fueled by the belief that sound has the power to harmonize us and myth brings forth what is alive within us. It is in this spirit that I always end my lectures and workshops with these words: Don’t miss the vibrations.

Mantras and Chants

A mantra, as it relates to the yogic and Vedic traditions of India, is a Sanskrit phrase that encapsulates some higher idea or ideal within the cadence, vibration, and essence of its sound. A mantra can be as simple as a single sound — such as chanting the well-known sound  — or as complicated as chanting a poem that tells a grand story or gives instruction. Whatever mantra is chanted, no matter how long or short, the purpose is the same: it is meant to act like a skeleton key to help you bypass the mundane matters and mental chatter of the day-to-day mind in order to reach a transcendent state of awareness and self-realization that is, quite frankly, indescribable. Every yogic practice provides the means for us to do this — such as äsana (postures), meditation, and präëäyäma (breath work) — but mantra practice and näda yoga are uniquely simple and universal. If you can form a thought, you can do a mantra practice. The simple act of thinking a mantra is a start to a genuine practice. The silent repetition of the sound oà while driving, for example, can be a starting point. Eventually, our practice might grow to include chanting while meditating, attending lively mantra-based musical performances (kirtan, or kértana), or perhaps even chanting a longer mantra 108 times aloud to celebrate the New Year. As I’ve said, there is no wrong way to use a mantra.

In the United States, mantra has gained popularity largely through the musical kirtan (kértana) tradition. Popular kirtan musicians such as Krishna Das, Deva Premal, and Dave Stringer have brought these Eastern chants to life by giving them some good old American rock-and-roll flair. While the kirtan tradition in India began around the ninth century, its look and feel hasn’t changed much even as it has evolved to incorporate Western musical proclivities. It has always had (and still has) a fairly simplistic call-and-response-type format, where the leader will chant a phrase that is repeated by the audience. This typically becomes more lively and fast as the chant continues. In India, various instruments are used — typically the harmonium (similar to an accordion in a box), the tabla (classical Indian drum set), and the cartals (tiny cymbals). Those instruments are still present in many kirtan settings today, yet the music is often Westernized through the incorporation of all sorts of instruments, like the guitar, bass, and even a proper Western drum kit (like how Chris Grosso and I perform!). What is wonderful about many of these yogic and Vedic traditions is that they are quite malleable. So long as the intention is still sealed within the practice, the practice — even if it is modernized and Westernized — does not lose its efficacy.

So while some choose to chant mantras in a kirtan setting, others have long used mantra in spiritual practice in accordance with daily rituals, meditation, or as a way to bind fellow students of a tradition. Many use a mantra during their morning worship practice to invoke an intention or particular deity. Many practitioners also stay focused in their meditation practice by silently or quietly chanting a mantra. And some traditions claim certain mantras as part of their tradition — almost like a secret handshake. In many Eastern spiritual traditions, it is common at the beginning and end of a spiritual practice to chant a mantra or . Mantras are also commonly used as prayers for peace, health, or well-being. Mantras can be used to focus the mind and empower whatever spiritual practice we embark on. Mantra is fuel for the inner spiritual fire.

I encourage you to simply begin a mantra practice in whatever way that feels right, using my book Sacred Sound. and/or the mantra library on my website (www.bit.ly/mantralibrary), as a guide . Start simple, such as with om, and incorporate other, longer, or more complex mantras as they resonate with you. Some mantras may appeal to you because of their sound, while others may become attractive as you understand their context, underlying mythology, and intention. Over time, as you use each mantra in your life and practice, it will become like a friend whom you come to know more and more deeply. The mantra may start out as a little gem that lightens your day, but after years of saying it, it may also become a bright light that guides you through the darkest of times. Through practice, we make these mantras our own so they help us on our spiritual journey.


AlannaKaivalya2_cEditor’s note: This is a guest post by Alanna Kaivalya, author of some of my favorite yoga books, including her recently released Sacred SoundShe is the yoga world’s expert on Hindu mythology and mysticism. Her podcasts have been heard by more than one million people worldwide, and her Kaivalya Yoga Method melds mythology, philosophy, and yoga. Visit her online at http://www.alannak.com.

 Adapted from the book Sacred Sound © 2014 by Alanna Kaivalya. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com.