Reading Recommendations from Our Faculty and Presenters

It’s hammock time again! We asked our presenters to share their favorite summer reading selections, from page-turners to life-changers. Here are their top picks.

The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Stop People from Dumping on You, by David J. Pollay
This book changed my life. It helped me discover so many constructive strategies for managing difficult people. I highly recommend that everyone read it.
Louisa Jewell, speaker, author, facilitator, and Positive Psychology expert

Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, by John O’Donohue
This continues to be a very inspirational book for me on many levels. O’Donohue's writing is incredibly beautiful, poetic, and a delight to read. It's an amazing eye-opener to the beauty that is all around us.
John C. Platt, tai chi and qigong teacher

Choose the Life You Want: The Mindful Way to Happiness, by Tal Ben-Shahar

I take this book everywhere on my travels and use it in my personal life, as well as in my teaching. Tal offers 101 different choices to bring about changes in your life. I have tried many; they work! This book is delicious: you can open it to any page and find just what you need. Filled with research that is both easy to read and digest, Choose the Life You Want offers some of the best aspects of Positive Psychology in a clear, simple way.
Megha Nancy Buttenheim, author of Expanding Joy: Let Your Yoga Dance, Embodying Positive Psychology and creator of the DVD Introduction to Yoga and Meditation

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
At first you might judge this book because it is usually read by middle school students, but give it a chance and you might be surprised. Stargirl is one of those books that reminds me about my humanity. It is a quick and easy read yet so nourishing and insightful, and celebrates “outside of the box” as a true gift.
Danny Arguetty, author of The 6 Qualities of Consciousness: Practical Insights from the Tantric Tradition of Yoga

Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World, by Clara Parkes
Clara takes you on her adventures traveling the world for her craft. She gives proof that you can carve out a unique and authentic career doing what you love. Knitlandia is witty and well written. Readers will definitely see a parallel between yoga and knitting.
Ellen Barrett, women’s wellness expert and creator of Prevention magazine’s Flat Belly Diet DVD series

The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister
I think the main character was a yogi at heart. A great read!
Mary Northey, Dean of the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy

River Flow: New & Selected Poems, by David Whyte
I call it my “linger book.” I read one poem every other day or so and allow his beautiful words to linger in my consciousness for a while.
Cara Bradley, founder of Verge Yoga

The Graceling Realm Series (Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue), by Kristin Cashore
A very creative fantasy series, a little edgy at times, overall amazingly brilliant with twists and turns. Gracelings are “graced" with a special skills, ranging from mind reading to ninja skills to thievery to healing. Each book has a female leading hero. The author touches on themes of love, war, community, discrimination, justice, and power. It’s awesome and fast reading!
Toni Bergins, Kripalu R&R facuty and founder and director of JourneyDance™

The Dhammapada
The Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras, and Hatha Yoga Pradipika are all good places to start, but if you can only have one book, I recommend The Dhammapada because it teaches you about how to live an ethical life. Observing the ethical rules is the foundation of yoga.
Dharma Mittra, legendary yoga teacher and creator of the Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brené Brown
Brené Brown explains that “you can't have true courage unless you open yourself up to vulnerability.” The path to courage requires that we speak to ourselves with aninner-coaching voice that refrains from harsh tones, explains rather than blames, resists personalizing situations, debunks the myth of perfection, and rejects notions of being an imposter.
Jane Shure and Beth Weinstock, creators of the Inner Coaching™ program

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes
Shonda is the woman who rules Thursday-night TV on ABC: Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and her newest show, The Catch. She is an amazing storyteller. Before embarking on her “year of yes,” she was overweight and almost pathologically introverted and shy. The book takes us on her journey to self-help, self-worth, and self-awareness in an easy-to-read, insightful, and often funny voice.
Beth Gibbs, senior faculty member of the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild, by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence
It will forever change how you think, and what you think you know, about intra- and inter-species communication. Good for the soul!
Sara Meeks (Dipa), physical therapist and Kripalu Yoga teacher

Reality, by Peter Kingsley
This book is all about the sacred origins of Western philosophy that can be sourced back to Empedocles. This pre-Socratic philosopher is traditionally credited as being the father of logic, but Kingsley reveals how Empedocles was actually a mystic and spiritual guru, and his revelations came to him directly from the gods. What they have to tell us is far more transformative and robust than our modern antiseptic interpretations.
Owen Súilleabháin, singer, composer, and recording artist

A Course in Miracles
This timeless book is not “light reading,” but it is shift-your-whole-life and make-you-feel-light reading. It’s the fuel behind all my books and teaching on finding your calling, and it can help you release fear, shift the way you think, and open up to the miraculous life.
Tama Kieves, speaker, career coach, and best-selling author of A Year Without Fear

Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender, by David R. Hawkins
Techniques and strategies for letting go—psychologically and spiritually; figuring out what’s behind the statement “I can’t”; and finding ways to relieve suffering and remove blocks to happiness, joy, love, and success.
Jess Frey, Kripalu Yoga teacher and faculty member

Mr. Splitfoot, by Samantha Hunt
A fascinating mystery/ghost story about orphans, medians, con artists, cults, and mothers, set in upstate New York. Hunt presents two interlocking stories that collide beautifully at the end. This book kept me guessing and it made me smarter—such an imaginative and slippery premise.
Lara Tupper, Kripalu faculty member and author of A Thousand and One Nights

Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, by David Whyte
Thinking about a career change? Feeling called to do something new? David Whyte’s eloquent, amusing, and inspiring tales invite the reader to ask deep questions and, from their rich answers, discover the courage to walk a more fulfilling path.
Larissa Hall Carlson, Kripalu Schools faculty member and former Dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
Filled with fantasy, realism, mystery, and unfinished business, this story about Japanese life is seamlessly woven with fascinating accounts of Japanese history, mostly unfamiliar to the Western reader.
Erica Mather, Forrest Yoga senior teacher and creator of the Adore Your Body System

The Gene: An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
As an energy healer, I’m more than a little obsessed with genetics and epigenetics, and Mukherjee describes these growing fields in ways that are both highly personal to his family history, and sweeping in the implications for all of us. I devoured his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, and find I can’t put his new book down, either.
Melanie Roche, healer and former faculty member for the Barbara Brennan School of Healing