Note: elephantjournal.com received these review items for free, in return for a guarantee that we would review said offering. That said, we say what we want—good and bad, happy and sad.
As a human in training and a yoga teacher and practitioner, I’m always grateful to have the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of the body (and I always fall a little more in love with the human body in all its forms each time I do).
Recently, I had the opportunity to read not one, but two inspiring books that did just that: Training the Wisdom Body: Buddhist Yogic Exercise by Rose Taylor Goldfield and Yoga for a Healthy Lower Back: A Practical Guide to Developing Strength and Relieving Pain by Liz Owen & Holly Lebowitz Rossi—both are well-written and thoughtfully produced books that I’d recommend to seasoned yogis and new yogis alike.
Without further ado:
1. As both a student and teacher in life, I am always appreciative when a fellow teacher relates what they teach back to their own experience. I try to do this, too when I teach—I feel like it humanizes us and enables us to see the many ways in which we are connected—and that mostly, we are the same, even though we are different.
Rose talks a lot about her own journey—her time studying with her teacher, Khenpo Rinpoche and her conversational tone, combined with her in-depth knowledge make this an accessible read.
2. I sometimes feel panic rising when I realize how much there is to do—including reading two books and writing about them. So, when I opened this book, I admit at first, I started to scan rather than read. But a funny thing happened in the quickness of my heart: I become aware of my breath. I became aware of the quiet of the morning. I had the sensation of stepping into a world I already know exists. Rose creates and holds a space for everything to happen in—and because of the grounding energy of her words, I was able to return to a place I had forgotten existed.
3. This quote by the third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche : “There is nothing as strong as true gentleness, and there is nothing as gentle as true strength.” (And the inclusion of several more throughout bring into our learning a long lineage of teachers, honoring where these practices came from.)
1. So while I may move my body, my body does not always want to move—more specifically, I deal with chronic lower back pain. I have learned to live and move and breathe with it, but I saw this as an opportunity to dive deeper into a part of my body that cause me much grief. This book has a ton of information in—in fact, it’s a little intimidating.
I am thankful that the authors included a “How-to-use-this-book” section—it helped me to focus on what I hoped to learn.
2. I love the diagrams and how the back is divided into parts within the book. Liz and Holly talk about the hips, and then explore the body in both the physical view (“Through Western Eyes”) and the energetic view (“Through Eastern Eyes”)—and then provide exercises (with photos) to really work in depth with each part of the beautiful spine.
3. I think my favorite part is the last part of the book and the series of sequences that addresses specific issues. The sequences are accompanied by photos and address everything from addressing calm to SI dysfunction (which is perfect for me).
Whether you have been practicing yoga for year and years—or, if you still get nervous butterflies when you step onto your mat, both of these books would be of great benefit to deepen your practice—on and off the mat.
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Photo: provided by author