Off The Shelf

As an avid reader, well alright then, a complete book junkie, I have, over the years, developed a system with my lovelies (my term of endearment for my books!)  There's the 'next to the sofa' pile and there's the 'next to the bed' pile.  Someone asked me recently what I was reading.  Whilst it would be easy to give the name of one book, I am totally unashamed to admit, that I have several on the go at once.  I was spurred into writing about this after seeing someone post a picture of their 'pile' recently on Facebook and yes, you've probably guessed already, it led to me purchasing a copy of a book that I'd not come across previously.


So, here I share with you the current 'next to the sofa' pile with a short introduction about what's helping my creativity within their pages:


Awakening Kundalini (The Path to Radical Freedom) - Lawrence Edwards PhD

This leapt into the collection after it was highly recommended by Sally Kempton, a meditation teacher extraordinaire, whose workshops I attended recently.  As I have been studying the Vijnanya Bhairava (a very delightful collection of meditations), this is a wonderful support to the understanding of Shiva / Shakti.

It is steeped in yogic philosophy and is not one for the beginner on the yogic path.  It explores states of consciousness; chakras; meditation; Kashmiri Shaivism and tantric teachings to name a few areas.


The Female Pelvis (Anatomy & Exercises) - Blandine Calais-Germain

As the title suggests, there's no mistaking the subject matter.  Female anatomy is of deep interest to me, not only due to the fact that I'm a woman, but as a teacher, understanding the many processes that take place within the body when moving, are of fascination to me.  Several years ago I had the pleasure of learning about the female pelvic floor via a physiotherapist and it opened my eyes to just how important this structure is - even more so within the female anatomy, as we have more stress factors placed on it.  

Over the years, my drive to understand more about this area in particular has stemmed from teaching pregnant women, but also hearing many stories of problems that arise within the female pelvis whether due to traumatic birth; surgery or through menopause.  A woman's health and ultimately joy, stem from having a good understanding and relationship with the organs in and around the pelvis.  This book is also on a reading list for a course of study I am undertaking presently as well, so it serves many wonderful purposes!.  


Yoni Shakti (A Woman's Guide to Power & Freedom Through Yoga & Tantra) - Uma Dinsmore-Tuli PhD

A book of epic proportions it has to be said.  Being very familiar with the work and teachings of the author, it was a no-brainer that this magnificent tome would make its way into my collection.  It is a multi-faceted read, exploring at times the politics of yoga and its teaching and the impact that a patriarchal system has had on women, onto an exploration of the Mahadevas (Hindu Goddesses), as well as the detailed offering of Womb Yoga that Uma teaches.

It has only been in my hands since published a few months ago, and due to its profound nature, is showing signs of extreme fatigue already as I simply am unable to put it down. 


The Prosperous Heart (Creating a Life of 'Enough') - Julia Cameron

Some of you may be familiar with a previous publication by the same author, The Artist's Way.  I have to admit that this is quite 'left-field' in terms of reading material I'd normally purchase.  I was hooked by the idea that we all tend to base our sense of prosperity on financial reward.  However, I am also aware of the well-used term 'enough' or more accurately 'not having enough' or 'not being enough'.  This is a week-by-week guide (12 weeks in total) on how to look at different areas of your life and to see where prosperity shines.  I am currently on the final week and it has been something of an eye-opener for me and I have already recommended it to others.  It has required that I set to one side certain beliefs and it has challenged me enormously as well.  

Ultimately though, to find if you too can have a prosperous heart, you would need to try it for yourself!


Mindful Compassion (Using the Power of Mindfulness & Compassion to Transform Our Lives) - Paul Gilbert & Choden

Paul Gilbert is the head of Mental Health Research at Derby University and is also behind the Compassionate Mind Foundation.  Choden is a former monk from Kagyu Samye Ling monastery, and they have collaborated in the writing of this book.  The two of them also now travel to teach mindful compassion and I had the enormous pleasure of attending a conference earlier this year where they offered workshops.

Compassion is something that many of us find difficult to give to ourselves.  Instead, we often default to a harsh, inner critic kind of voice.  This wonderful offering gives tools and resources to how we can respond more wisely to the stresses of our lives and to ease our own suffering.


Spilling Open (The Art of Becoming Yourself) and...

Brave on the Rocks (If You Don't Go, You Don't See) - Sabrina Ward Harrison

Both of these titles feed the creative part of me.  I do a lot of journal writing and scrapbooking and these are published journals of the author which give access to her inner life and thoughts, hopes, dreams and dilemmas.  They are interesting from the perspective of using different art mediums to be able to express an inner voice that would otherwise go unheard, but also echo thoughts and feelings that many of us have in common too.  

Sadly, both are quite difficult to buy as new now (unless willing to spend lots of pennies), but I believe you can get them at a reasonable price second-hand.

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