Can you relate to feeling like the right book lands in your lap at the right time?
Let me be clear.
This list is of those books that have literally changed the course of my life. They’re not necessarily my all time favourite books (that’s for another post, for another day).
As I reflect back to write this post, I can see and appreciate both the obvious and subtle ways in which devouring the words of these gems has shaped who I am in this moment. Sharing them with you may just mean that even one might make an impact on your life, as they did mine.
The books listed below are fairly basic reads, nothing intimidating, and yet they’re packed with potency.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
― Oscar Wilde
(I often get asked for my go-to books that are accessible for new students wanting to enquire into the depths of the Yoga system. The following three books would all be recommended as initial reading resources.)
This book landed in my life back in 2010, not long after it was released. Ram is certainly a natural authority on the subject of Yoga’s 8 limbed approach, due to his own inspirational story of being a highly successful TV personality, to experiencing a crippling back injury and terminal cancer. The book breaks down the path of living Yoga into easily assimilated and digestible chapters, giving a comprehensive overview of Patanjali’s 8 limbs of Yoga.
All of the works by Mr Iyengar are inspirational and incredibly educational. After immersing in his other two gems (Light On Yoga and Light On Pranayama – both great tools for teachers), I was drawn to The Light On Life. The book is a beautiful guide to many facets of the Yoga system and provides some insight into Iyengar’s own story – his struggles, discipline, and dedication. The book inspires diligence, devotion, and zeal in walking your talk. This is what it did for me in my first year of teaching Yoga when I felt the pull of different distractions and the commercialisation of Yoga exploding around me.
Inspiring a path of inner development, The Wisdom Of Yoga took me along a beautiful journey, and felt really relatable as you are taken through various stories and struggles of the Author’s friends and students. The book clearly educates the reader of the life-changing potential of the vast spiritual science of Yoga. Touching on yoga philosophy (including the 8 limbs of Yoga) it helped me appreciate a more ethical and graceful way of moving throughout the world. The writing is clear, concise, and conveys important discussion and reflection on living Yoga.
As a huge fan of Dr David Frawley’s work, this book is a very thorough guide to understand the mind from both the Yogic and Ayurvedic perspectives. The book explores all angles of the mind, through mantra, movement, the elements, the chakras, diet, herbs, massage, impressions, meditation, and a whole lot more. If you’re new to Yoga and Ayurveda, the book will be a true wealth of information that is clearly written and explained. The book really inspires an appreciation for the essential relationship with nature. It weaves science with spirit. I found the book exciting, inspiring, and supportive in my own journey towards healing my heart and mind. Any book by Dr. Frawley is an incredible investment.
The Big Leap was devoured very quickly in late 2014, and it changed my life very quickly. Firstly, it’s a very short and super easy to read book that is jam packed with a-ha moments (well, it was for me). The book helped you to become aware of where in your life and how you create your own ‘Upper Limit’ problems. Anytime something is experienced as bad or negative we can stop to see how we have manifested the experience via our own Upper Limit. To be honest, I feel reluctant to try an explain the concept of the book because I don’t feel I can do it justice. In a nutshell, the book will help you overcome your ingrained fears and beliefs, particularly your deepest and most hidden ones. The Big Leap will help you step (leap!) outside your comfort zone and minimise those times of self sabotage.
You’ve no doubt heard it before, if you haven’t read any of Tolle’s works it might be about that time. The book inspires us to get really present in each moment, and to live life from that place (easier said than done I know). The writing is really supportive and enthusiastic, guiding you into self-reflection and allowing you to see that a life without delusion and fear is in fact possible. Mindfulness doesn’t have to seem mystical, nor even spiritual. The Power Of Now is a fresh perspective on how to live a life of more lightness and freedom, space and stillness.
This is an exceptional and thought provoking book. My very influential husband offered me this essential read back in 2007. I remember that I couldn’t put the book down (I was even reading it whilst I was supposed to working!). Since then I’ve read many Krishnamurti books, but this one has been the most significant in my life. The work helps you find the answers to life’s most challenging questions in the most beautiful and easy to digest manner. No review or summary can really do this book justice. You must read it for yourself – it’s packed with power and vibrancy!
I cannot be certain, but I estimate that I purchased this infamous book around 1999 (!), and it’s been with me ever since as a go-to reference guide. From 1997 onwards I became interested in different forms of spirituality and the esoteric. My 15 year old self delved deeply into this book, and I started to acknowledge the relationship between my mind and body. I had a lot of pent up anxiety and emotion held in my body, and I’d always been a very sick young girl from the moment of birth. This book helped me connect the dots and open my mind up to a different experience of life. You Can Heal Your Life is still really relevant to me today, even after all these years. It is a book of self-discovery, accountability, and empowerment.
This was the first book I read on Ayurveda. Dr Svoboda has a very extensive list of published books, and I could recommend every single one (depending on your needs and interests). Prakriti offers an exceptional and extensive overview of the Ayurvedic system. It is a classic. It helps the reader to understand the sense of Ayurvedic scientifically and logically. Ayurveda itself is an extraordinarily complex subject, yet this book spells out the fundamentals in a clear and and organised way. Svoboda is a highly intelligent and insightful teacher, whom I’ve had the blessing and fortune to learn directly from on occasion. If you’re interested in learning a little more about Ayurveda, this short-but-sweet read would be a great place to start!
This bestselling book was hugely inspiring and influential at a time in my life where I was in-between careers, feeling a little unsure as to what to do with my life. I knew my past was my past, and I knew my present wasn’t the dream. With a craving to do something rewarding, exciting, and supportive of my desire to create, travel, and have a sense of freedom, The 4-Hour Workweek showed me all kinds of possibilities. It gave me a renewed self of faith in my self to pursue my passions and live with a great work/life balance. The book inspired me to believe that this was really, truly possible! In fact, I read this book in 2010, just before I started teaching Yoga. If you’re feeling a little stuck, or if you have a vision but a heck of a lot of self doubt, then this may be the read for you.
You may have already heard of Pressfield’s infamous book The War Of Art (not the same at The Art Of War)., which I have also read and loved. However, I strongly believe that Turning Pro trumps it. Turning Pro inspires real action, by changing your mindset and giving up your comfort zone, moving from an amateur in your life to a pro. The book stimulates self-respect and accountability. This book is so simple and yet so powerful. It will help you cut through your own resistance to living a life of greatness. Turning Pro will help shift you out of your ‘shadow career’ (your comfort zone) and into that which you really desire doing. It is straight to the point and actionable. It is your polite ‘kick up the butt’. What to discover and live your life’s work? Read this book.
This super creative and actionable book goes against the status quo of goal setting, and instead asks the reader how they want to feel (rather than what they want to do in life). The Desire Map helps to carve out the ideal feelings you wish to experience in your day to day living, and then helps you tie in what it is in life that generates those specific feelings. Feelings first, actions second. Instead of chasing goals, we can chase the desired feelings, and then we’re on the right track to living an inspiring and refreshing life. The Desire Map is less about doing and proving, and more about living and feeling. Danielle’s book is poetic, creative, and messy (in a beautiful way). It helped me clarify what I wanted out of my life. The workbook portion of the book is very thought provoking, and it something you can revisit time and time again (the book is well known for it’s appropriateness for New Year’s intention setting!). The book is loving and supportive. It helps you feel confident to say NO to those things that are not in alignment with your core desired feelings. The Desire Map = Clarity and calm.
There you have it – my 12 life changing reads. Bookmark this page for easy future reference – and I’d love to know which one/s have sparked your interest (or have been added to your wish-list!)? Have you read any of the above, and what did you experience?
Do you have any memorable books that changed the course of your life and shaped who you are right now?
I would love you to share in a comment below – let me know why and how the book has been a catalyst to bringing you to this very moment?
As always, thank you for reading. I can’t wait to know which reads have been your most influential.