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Shannon Brady

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Yoga and teaching inspiration comes to me in unexpected places. Yesterday I thumbed through a gossip magazine while waiting for my car oil to get changed. Who reads this crap? 

Oh. Um, I’m reading it. And just like that – a moment of mindfulness.

Placing John Stamos’ wedding news aside, I reflected on 5 books – some I’ve just read, others a few years back – that have impacted my practice and teaching. None are ‘yoga’ books, but the longer I practice, the more I find yoga in everything: non-judgment, relationships, creativity, self-love, humor. All are present in my collection here:

How to Murder Your Life By Cat Marnell. Do some jaw relaxation exercises before picking this one up. My mouth hung agape as one shocking event after another roared across the page. How is this girl still alive? If there were a category labeled Memoir Extreme, this would fit. I laughed and cried, often at the same time, as this brave girl poured it all out. Completely willing to come apart in front her readers, I finished the book reminded of how healing begins with sharing.

Tell Me More By Kelly Corrigan. Get out your highlighter. So many anecdotes worth capturing. In one chapter her papa reminds her that no, her insides aren’t rotten for not visiting her late grandmother. I saw my own past mistakes and epiphanies come to life through her totally relatable experiences.

Big Magic By Elizabeth Gilbert. In the midst of my own 40-year old midlife hell show, I devoured Eat, Pray, Love. By the last page I wanted to swallow the book. It resonated that deeply. But Big Magic gets prime real estate on my shelf now. In every chapter, every paragraph, and in every sentence, the reader is reminded we humans are meant to make stuff. Whatever that may be – watercolor, kid’s tree house, short story, messy version of Grandma’s marinara recipe. Just make it already. Without skipping the first draft. Hockey puck cookies, roses are red lame poetry, all good on the path to mastery.

I’m Down By Mishna Wolff. Written by a girl I used to smoke Marlboro Lights with in the stairwell of a health club in my early twenties. She a then-cafe attendant, me a front-desk clerk always eager to inhale one of her great stories. Haven’t seen her since, but now I’ve got a copy of her memoir capturing what it was like growing up a gangly, awkward white girl in a predominately black neighborhood.

Little Victories By Jason Gay. I love this guy. He’s a sportswriter for the Wall St. Journal, and can attract even readers like me with zero knowledge of football beyond that the Pats always go to the Super Bowl. Humor abounds. So funny I’ve missed a subway stop, and walked head first into a closed door mid-read. Enjoy!

What non-yoga yoga books are you reading?


3 comments on “5 books prodding me to share more on the mat

  1. jabrush1213 says:

    I love yoga and read a lot of non yoga books. The genres vary, but I recently finished Fierce by Aly Raisman.

    1. Great suggestion – will have to read Fierce!

      1. jabrush1213 says:

        It really is a full blown insight to the realm of USA Gymnastics and the training that comes with it.

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