I used to have a lot [ahem...understatement] of yoga books (everything from anatomy to philosophy to poetry and everything in between). And by a lot, I mean over 8 bookshelves worth of books (at one point, I had books on all three levels of the house I was living in...yep, books were everywhere). When I moved a few years ago, I downsized my collection by about half and still managed to fill 4 very large boxes (that were mighty heavy and caused professional movers to moan and groan while lifting them). When I moved a little over a year ago, I downsized again and now I have two small bookshelves worth of books. And that is why, after resisting the very idea of eBooks for the first generation of eReaders to catch fire, I caved and went digital. This explains the now two small bookshelves needed to house my entire collection.
Yes, I love my eReader dearly, but I still feel a thrill when I walk into a bookstore. And because I limit myself to the amount of physical books I purchase (if I buy one, I have to donate one), I'd all but forgotten the tactile joy of cracking open a book. I recently broke my book fast with Shiva Rea's Tending the Heart Fire . It's been years since I bought a hardcover book, but this one is a beauty.
It's beyond a book, really...it's art. I felt like a kid when I first cracked open the cover, greedily gazing at the beautiful images inside. It's the kind of book that you don't have to sit and read from cover to cover but can skip around, stopping at the places that capture your interest.
It's true I am a Shiva Rea fan. Perhaps it's the fact that she has a background in the same style of yoga as I do (Krishnamacharya) or maybe it was how much I enjoyed her workshop at the Boston Yoga Journal Conference that I attended 8 or so years ago or it could be the fact that some of my first yoga DVDs I practiced to after establishing a regular yoga practice were Shiva's. It's all that, yes, but it's also the fact that I've always appreciated how Shiva Rea encourages us to live in rhythm -- rhythm with the seasons, with our bodies, with life. I suppose it's no surprise that the subtitle to this book is: Living in the Flow with the Pulse of Life.
The book is comprised of 4 parts with Part One including history, ancient wisdom and science of our energetic heart. Part Two offers a number of meditations and life practices. Part Three offers up practical tips for living in rhythm which include Ayurvedic teachings and practices. Part Four runs through the seasonal time frames along with ancient and modern celebrations and suggestions for how to align with each cycle. The book includes a bit of everything -- yoga practices, meditations, mantra, dietary and lifestyle suggestions, mudra, history, and stunningly beautiful images that inspire.
I didn't read this book in one sitting, but continue to come back to it again and again to soak in the quotes and poems included or to try a practice honoring the Winter or to immerse myself in readings about the rhythm and flow of life. This book feels like a gift and I treasure the time I put my eReader aside and sit with this book. As the book says: "The mystical foundations of all the world's spiritual paths meet in a single, sacred place: the heart of the seeker."
I highly recommend making room on your bookshelf for this delight of a book. And may you lovingly tend to your heart's fire.