Some of my very favorite music and books – click on the photos to find on Amazon.
Mushy Music for Savasana, Yin or Restorative Yoga
Bliss Om Namah Shivaya II, by Robert Gass … Oh, my! One track only on this album, a full hour of the uplifting chant, Om Namah Shivaya. Beautiful melody, blending guitar with clear soprano, alto and tenor voices. I’ll play this track as a welcome for students as they arrive, and as a backdrop for restorative yoga classes. I’ll also play it towards the end of an active class and before Savasana.
Blissfull Mantras and Prayers, by Jane Winther … This is a soothing compilation of music, the perfect backdrop for creating a peaceful setting. Crystal clear and angelic voice, one of my favorite albums. Some of the tracks are just right for meditation, too.
The Lover and the Beloved, by Donna De Lory … Donna is a long-time favorite sound you’ll hear in yoga studios; from energetic, harmonious beats, to meditative music. This album tends to steer more towards a slow beat, and “Samba Sadashiva” is a beautiful track to play before Savasana or in restorative poses.
Hey Govinda He Gopala, by Jagit Singh … This dreamy Bhakti track is almost a devotional lullaby and I also use it as peaceful background music while I am working or writing. Jagit Singh is an iconic singer, composer and musician — explore some of his hundreds of songs for joyful yoga music.
Music for Meditation
Chakra Chants by Jonathan Goldman … This is one of the albums I play most during my Yoga Nidra classes. There are seven tracks, each track’s music and chant corresponding to the vibration of each chakra. A deep, vibrational sound, this is very powerful for chakra meditation as well as background music for a gentle yoga class.
Golden Bowls, by Karma Moffett … Another favorite for my Yoga Nidra classes, with beautiful placement of the sounds of the Tibetan bowls, subtle enough to play during meditation as well as during a Yoga Nidra class. And how can you not love an artist with the name Karma Moffett 🙂
Quiet Earth, by Kamal … The tracks on this album are the ideal mix for my Yoga Nidra classes. The calming, peaceful sounds lift you up into a floating, dreamy space of deep relaxation, and all the tracks have a similar, flowing sound, so it becomes one long immersion into bliss. I would happily listen to this as background music for massage, too.
Bija: Soothing Music and Mantras, by Todd Norian … Todd’s music reflects his yoga teaching style — straight from the heart space. This soothing album is perfect for Savasana and as a backdrop for Yoga Nidra or meditation, or simply just for immersing yourself in one or two tracks after a long and busy day.
Sa Ta Na Ma … Perfect for Kundalini teachers and students, as well as those looking to use repetitive mantra as part of their meditation practice. This album captures two of the most powerful mantras as taught by Yogi Bhajan, and I often use the Sa Ta Na Ma tracks for my classes and workshops. I loved the music from the moment I first heard it. And then I chuckled when I found out that it was the work of Richard Brookens, who has worked with me on my own Yoga Nidra albums—no wonder I liked it so much!
Lake Melva Meditation, by Richard Brookens …I’m a bit biased here, as Richard plays an assortment of instruments on the Yoga Nidra albums we recorded together, so obviously I enjoy his music. On this particular album, I especially liked the Egyptian flute and some of the tracks are just perfect for meditation.
Chakra Chants by Jonathan Goldman … Another favorite for my Yoga Nidra classes. There are seven tracks, each track’s music and chant corresponding to the vibration of each chakra. A deep, vibrational sound, this is very powerful for chakra meditation as well as background music for a gentle yoga class.
The Stone Warriors and As Above, by Chris Spheeris … These two particular tracks work well for background music during meditation, and are also good for restorative yoga. Beautiful, soothing music without being distracting. The other tracks are lovely to play during a regular yoga class.
I’d love to hear what’s on your yoga and meditation playlists! Drop me a note or share your favourites in the comments below.
When I feel like reading an easy interpretation of one of the Yoga-Sutra, I turn to Nischala Joy Devi’s The Secret Power of Yoga. Her descriptions of Patanjali’s Sutra not only relate to today’s modern world so they’re accessible as a comfortable read, but they also capture the spiritual elements of these ancient words. Sometimes I’ll have Devi’s book open, next to B.K.S. Iyengar’s or Georg Feuerstein’s more classical and scholarly works, and each interpretation complements and supports the other; filling in any missing pieces of understanding.
The Book of Joy, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams — An instant New York Times bestseller, asking one timeless question—how can we find joy, even as we acknowledge that suffering is also an unavoidable part of life? His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu spent a week together; conversing, trading stories, and discussing the subject of joy. These two eminently joyful Nobel prize winners share their wisdom on how to create more long-term peace and joy in all circumstances. As we read their practical philosophy on joyful living, we also get a sense of the special relationship between these two spiritual giants.
“The goal of human life is to live with joy and purpose.” — HH the Dalai Lama
The Wisdom of Yoga, by Stephen Cope — At first glance, this may seem like a casual, perhaps irreverent, interpretation of the classical Yoga-Sutra (the ancient teachings of the yoga wisdom tradition), but Stephen Cope’s passion and respect for this subject is on every page. This book is for newbies as well as long-time yoga practitioners; with easy to understand, yet profound, examples of how to apply these timeless teachings in our Western world. The author draws upon stories from the lives of his friends and students to demonstrate how the Yogasutra can be a practical guide for bringing contentment and ease to modern living.
The beloved Bhagavad Gita is a long poem that forms part of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The story unfolds in a dialogue between prince Arjuna and his spiritual guide, Lord Krishna, as Arjuna prepares for the battlefield. Krishna guides him to the supreme wisdom that is available to all in the struggle between good and evil. The “Gita” is a treasured study, acknowledged worldwide as a literary and spiritual masterpiece. Stephen Mitchell is known for translating ancient texts and philosophy into clear and powerful reading, and his interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita is no exception—a poetic and inspiring version of these sacred texts. This is a good start to getting to know the Gita, and exploring further from there.
Warrior Pose … How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life, by Brad Willis aka Bhava Ram — An autobiography of physical, emotional and spiritual transformation, through yoga. At the height of his career, a broken back and failed surgery left Willis permanently disabled and condemned to life in a body brace. Add to that a diagnosis of terminal, stage IV throat cancer and the future looked grim as his life changed from active, thrill-seeking war correspondent to a crippled, almost mute, depressed, and dying man. If you avoid reading the back of the book (it tells a lot of the story), his adventures and challenges will unfold for you on every page, on this inspirational journey of self-healing and inner peace.
Yoga for your Type: An Ayurvedic Approach to Your Asana Practice was one of our prescribed books on my teacher training in India, and I welcomed it as the perfect introduction to the science of Ayurveda. David Frawley and Sandra Summerfield Kozak distill the complexity of Ayurveda into practical guidelines, with plenty of photographs to inspire a therapeutic yoga practice. This is an invaluable reference book for every yoga teacher, as well as students who are interested in Ayurveda.
The Illustrated Light on Yoga is an easy companion for the more detailed Light on Yoga, by the same author, B.K.S. Iyengar. This version highlights 57 key asanas (postures), compared to almost 200 in the full version of the original book. It has photographs and clear instructions in a bigger print format. There is also a 35-week “course”, where Mr Iyengar has selected a sequence of poses for the student to follow, incrementally building on each week. I enjoy many styles of yoga and am always grateful for the alignment guidelines so expertly taught by B.K.S. Iyengar, as my foundation for a safe practice.