Yoga Novel: The Sun Rises Twice

Hot off the presses is Anne Blackmore’s 5th book in the “Ginger Frye Yoga Mystery” series. Readers can finish the novel in a day, or on a flight from NY to San Francisco. Be prepared to “chomp at the bit” at the end…


The series began in 2012 with Dead Men Don’t Pose. Each title contains a yoga asana, so the first book is Savasana, and then continuing into book #2, Rabbit Crest is Sasangasana, and into book #3, A Tree Grows in Tahoe, can you guess which pose? That’s right, Vrkasana! Book #4 is Half Moon Over Mauna Kea… Ardha Chandrasana.

What nutty adventure will Ginger find herself in next? Marriage to her heart throb perhaps? Does Detective Hernandez have any idea what he’s in for? Only time – and Ms. Blackmore – will tell…

Yoga Novel: The Swami Deheftner

He trained himself to be a powerful Yogi, but took a decidedly western approach ~

A boy from Brooklyn defies his Orthodox Jewish father to – at long last – move into the broad daylight with his yogic practice… after first conquering the art of magic. Along the way, to finally understand the true nature of surrender, the Swami Dehefter had to willingly abandon a core illusion of humanity, the duality of gender, even for just one evening.

book cover - heftner

This book, published by Robert Steven Goldstein in 2012, is suitable for those readers interested in Houdini, vegetarianism, a glimpse of S/M, teaching yoga, and parrots (and rabbits too).

Yoga Reading List

Origins of Yoga:

Yoga, Immortality and Freedom – Mircea Eliade
A Source Book in Indian Philosophy – Radhakrishna/Moore
Yoga, The Technology of Ecstasy – Georg Feuerstein
The Bhagavad Gita
Sacred Paths – Georg Feuerstein
Encyclopedic Dictionary of Yoga – Georg Feuerstein

The Yoga Sutras:

Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali – Swami Hariharananda Aranya
The Science of Yoga – I.K. Taimini
How to Know God, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – BKS Iyengar
Yoga, the Science of the Soul – Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Yoga Asanas (Positions):

*Hatha Yoga, the Hidden Language – Swami Sivananda Radha
Yoga Self-Taught – Andre Van Lysebeth
The Heart of Yoga – Desikachar
Yoga and You – Esther Myers
The New Yoga for People Over 50 – Suza Francina
Living Yoga – Georg Feuerstein/S. Bodian
Yoga, the Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness – Erich Shiffmann
Yoga Over 50 – Mary Stewart
Power Yoga – Beryl Bender Birch
Dancing the Body of Light – Dona Holleman/Orit Sen-Gupta
The Sivananda Companion to Yoga – The Sivananda Yoga Centre
Yoga and Health – Yesudian/Haisch
Awakening the Spine – V. Scaravelli
Light on Yoga – BKS Iyengar
Yoga for a New Age – Bob Smith


Merudasana or Balancing Bear

Yoga Book Reviews

Book Reviews:

Radha: Diary of a Woman’s Search

author: Swami Sivananda Radha
book published: 2003
“Imagine at 45 and in war time Germany, leaving everything behind to go to India to meet a guru that had appeared in a vision. Risky! But worth it, she went on to establish the first Ashram in Canada and it remains perhaps the finest in North America. A must read! Her legacy is a Canadian treasure.”

Autobiography of a Yogi

author: Paramahansa Yogananda
book published: 1971
“I never read books twice but I have read this one 3 times. His undying faith in our miraculous life force inspires me to be the best I can be! The stories he shares about his many teachers are like food for spirit, and in that, this book reminds me of Reflecting the Light by Swami Radha.”

Chakra Workbook: Rebalance Your Body’s Vital Energies

author: Pauline Wills
book published: 2002
“Used as a text book for some yoga teacher training courses. Very good. Pauline has done a great job putting together a diverse range of information on the dense topic of chakras. She is a colour therapist and the strength of this workbook is its use of visualizations. Very inspiring.”

The Poetry of the Body

author: Rodney Yee
book published: 2002
“He’s a dedicated master, with great insights to offer about yoga. This book is a manual for someone starting yoga and an inspiration for advanced practitioners.”

Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice

author: Christy Turlington
book published: 2002
“As you might expect this is a lovely book, with beautiful photos and layout to match (the hardcover one). I was skeptical “what could a supermodel have to say on the important matter of yoga?!? ” but I was wrong. She is a true yogin, and again I am reminded that preconceived notions can lead me to prematurely judge a book by its cover. As illustrated by my yoga trainer, it is a worthwhile endeavour for a yoga teacher to read every book on yoga she or he can get a hold of.”

Yoga Self Taught

For those of us who crave very specific instruction on yoga postures and breathing, Yoga Self Taught by André van Lysebeth (1919–2004) is a valuable book.

In the sixties, Belgium born Lysebeth spent two months with Pattabhi Jois learning the primary and intermediate asanas of the Ashtanga Yoga system, and then wrote a book called J’apprends le Yoga in 1967. (English title: Yoga Self-Taught). The book was well received and it marked the beginning of westerners going to a yoga mecca, Mysore in India, to study yoga.

I recommend studying the book from cover to cover. If you want to read some or all of it online, or print it out section by section check out this link to an eBook version.

Yoga Novels #2

I said I’d get back to you on this topic… I enjoyed the final two books of the Mantra for Murder Mysteries, making it 4 for 4!

Book 1, the first one that caught my eye

I still haven’t read any of the other yoga novels I listed in the previous post, but am sure I’ll find the time at some point.

Please let me know your favourite yoga novel…

Quotes about evolution from Yoga of the Mahamudra

I am fascinated by our evolutionary heritage, the greatest mystery of all. Will Johnson deals with this topic in Yoga of the Mahamudra, the Mystical Way of Balance, and links it directly to good posture – another of my favourite topics. Here are some relevant quotes from his book (2005):

The human evolution of consciousness has directly paralleled our ability to come to a more effortlessly vertical posture.

Our evolutionary imperative is leading our bodies in the direction of an evermore relaxed and upright state of balance.

The progression of human evolution can most graphically be portrayed as our continued attempts to stand up ever straighter.

In 1986, the notion that we were inspired to stand up on 2 feet by an enormous sudden growth and expansion of the brain was reversed. We stood up, and then our brains grew.

The straighter we have stood, the more conscious we have become.

Our ancestors laboured to free themselves from gravity’s hold. The embodied memory of this struggle still expresses itself through the body’s need to exert constant, subtle and not so subtle muscular tension in order to brace itself against what it still experiences as the primarily downward, destructive pull of earth’s gravity.

Ease is evolution’s natural response to struggle. Our evolutionary challenge is to figure out how to transform gravity from a force against which humans must brace themselves against in order to remain standing, to one that functions as a source of support of staying erect. It is time to take advantage of its supportive blessings and evolve to a stance that goes far beyond what we currently know as upright.

Mantra for Murder Mysteries

During a trip to New Brunswick last month I found a few yoga books at a tiny second hand store. I always hope for that, used yoga books are usually a treasure, but I was amused to find such a collection in such an out of the way place. All three books are centred on the life of A.J. Alexander, a big city executive who inherits her aunt’s rural-based yoga studio after the woman is murdered. In the first book Corpse Pose she is a suspect in the investigation of her aunt’s death. The series – by Diana Killian – is relatively recent and called Mantra For Murder mysteries. The titles of the second, third and fourth books are Dial OM for Murder and Murder on the Eightfold Path, and Death in a Difficult Position. Silly fun! They not only have comic yoga drawings on the front covers they also include organic recipes and yoga facts. I’ve read the first one and although the plot was thin, the characters were likeable. I’ll pick up the second one ASAP.

Yoga Novels

By chance I discovered the Mantra for Murder Mysteries this winter, and have enjoyed the first two novels, my first real foray into murder mysteries. Now I’m onto the third and last book in the series. It has me wondering what other yoga novels exist, a series preferably, that I might like to sink my teeth into? If I had my druthers the criteria for these novels would be: funny, PG, acceptably clever, and with strong female leads.

This is what I found. Not exactly matching my criteria, but perhaps worth a try:

  • Holy Cow, An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald
  • Yoga Bitch,  One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment by Suzanne Morrison
  • Downward Dog, Upward Fog, A lighthearted novel about a woman who just can’t seem to stay on the spiritual path
  • Yoga School Dropout, A hilarious, hapless and desperate quest for mystic Indians and Tantric bliss by Lucy Edge
  • The Yoga Teacher
  • Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude
  • Tales from the Yoga Studio, 

Quotes from Will Johnson’s book Yoga of the Mahamudra

Even though his use of the term Mahamudra is not bound by any particular historic tradition, thus challenging me to think outside the box of my beloved Kagyu lineage, Will Johnson is highly quotable. Here are some of my favourites:

The embodied cross is the path and the reward for those who want to explore the yoga of balance (We are embodied crosses).

Mahamudra urges us to take full advantage of the incredible privilege of having been born humans in this era.

It is the birthright of each one of us to experience our fundamental identity and a force that feels much larger than us.

The current of life force flows on whether we’re aware of it or not. Align yourself with it’s motions (through increased awareness) and become happier in your short time on earth.

The focus of the Mahamudra teachings is to remain loose and natural in every moment of your life.

From moment to moment, from breath to breath, what we feel shifts. Keep floating along this sea of change that masquerades as a solid body. 

We are NOT trying to achieve a perfected state of balance and then freeze it there. 

To surrender the body’s weight to the pull of gravity is to initiate the yoga of balance. 

It is important not to condemn and injure the egoic “I” of separation, because although it causes you to suffer, and its beliefs are limited and incomplete, it is what FEELS existence, and that feeling is the only port from which you can embark on your great journey inward.

Ask constantly “who am I?”… as it’ll change moment to moment.

The “I” of separation is a thought, a word – in your mind. The “I” of union is a state of being, and exists not as a word, but as a feeling.

Give up all questions except “Who am I?”. After all the only fact of which you are certain is that you ARE. The “I am” is certain, the “I am this” is not.

Find your way back to the simple feeling that I AM without having to qualify it. The embodied cross keeps leading us, ushering us, deeper into a feeling awareness that is out of bounds for words.

Wavelets of energy don’t need to name themselves to know they exist.