The suspense and ultimate surprise, the perfectly thought-out little something, the gift to say “get better soon” or to celebrate an achievement. Perhaps it’s simply a small gesture, just because! No matter the occasion, who doesn’t love receiving a present?
I also really like gifting. It fills me with so much joy to see someone else’s happiness and appreciation as a result of something thoughtful I have gifted.
Gifting is a two-way street, really. The gift we choose, the way we present it, the why, when and where tells as much about us as it does about the person who receives it.
Whatever the occasion and the motivation, if you are looking for a gift for a yoga enthusiast or someone you would like to start practising yoga with, here are a few gift ideas for you – besides the yoga mats and activewear.
Why not give the gift of personal yoga classes or a group session? Or, for practitioners who would like to deepen their understanding of yoga, its benefits and philosophy, a yoga book may be a valuable present idea.
Gifting a Yoga Book
Reading books feeds our curiosity! It’s about seeking knowledge, forming opinions, and understanding things you never understood before.
Some are page-turners that grab your attention right from the first sentence. Other stories provide unexpected twists and turns; and some offer different perspectives and change your worldview. Some books even have the ability to transform your life.
Three books have had a profound impact on my path in life and my yoga practice; and they continue to be my trusty companions on this journey.
In fact, all three books are required reading in my yoga teacher development seminars!
It will likely not come as a surprise to anyone that B.K.S Iyengar has authored all three books! Here are my top three:
Yoga book recommendation one: Light on Yoga
Written in 1966, it is now widely regarded as a classic text, the definitive guide and introduction to the philosophy and practice of Yoga. It is B.K.S. Iyengar’s first book and suitable for anyone. That in itself fits very well with his philosophy that yoga should be accessible to all.
Based on Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, its introduction provides wonderful clarity about what yoga is. It is concisely written, with clear and easy to follow instructions on poses and their variations. Not only that, you will learn how to perform postures safely and correctly, with an explanation of their therapeutic benefits. The book will also take you through a variety of pranayama exercises.
What may feel like a dive into the deep end are the translations from Sanskrit into English. All traditional Sanskrit terms have their English translation at the beginning of the book. After this initial introduction, he sticks to the Sanskrit terms. Look at it as a bonus: you will learn some Sanskrit along the way!
What I like most about this book is the step-by-step instructions for asanas and breath work, with some added commentary from Iyengar’s own life experience, plus some tips and tricks. To me, this book inspires on and off the mat and serves as motivation to try something new or unfamiliar.
Yoga book recommendation two: Light on Life
This book is a great companion to Light on Yoga. It is a treasure trove of yoga philosophy and methodology. To me, it reveals the heart of yoga, guiding how yoga can transform our lives. It outlines a pathway towards being at one and in harmony with our world.
In Light on Life B.K.S. Iyengar explores the spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth yoga can offer. It discusses integrating the body, emotions, mind and soul, overcoming internal and external obstacles and the role of yoga in our search for wholeness.
What I like most about this book are the autobiographical anecdotes B.K.S Iyengar has filled it with. The text is rich with personal discoveries of a lifelong study of yoga spanning over seventy years – and ruminations about the mystery of being alive. This book reveals Iyengar’s great wisdom and spirituality but also shows his humorous side.
Yoga book recommendation three: Light on Yoga Sutras
To me, Light on Yoga Sutras is a marvel! I am in awe of the sheer volume of work B.K.S. Iyengar has taken on – and expertly mastered it!
2,000 years ago, Patanjali wrote what today is regarded as one of the world’s most revered teachings. His collection of yoga wisdom is the earliest, most holy yoga reference. But unless you are versed in Sanskrit and a scholar of the history of yoga, the original Sutras would not be easy to digest.
B.K.S Iyengar took on the gargantuan task to translate Patanjali’s sutras and add relatable commentary!
The Sutras are to the point, each no longer than a line or two. They outline a pathway to gradually transform ourselves through yoga, develop emotions, mind and body and evolve spiritually.
B.K.S Iyengar has translated each one of them. The book is well organised and well-indexed, including the original Sanskrit Sutras, their phonetic write-up, and the English translation.
What I like most about this book is B.K.S. Iyengar’s commentary and elaborations. For each Sutra, he added relevant explanations and interpretations for present-day readers, making this collection an accessible and insightful resource and introduction to the spiritual philosophy that is the foundation of yoga.
The way this book is structured shows humility and equal support for each student’s journey as it allows readers to form their own understanding of the Sutras in their own time.
Gifting a Yoga Class
It is nice to share an interest and to be active together. Sometimes we can be each other’s motivation to carry on; sometimes, it’s simply sharing the joy of the practice. Other times, it’s all about introducing someone to part of our world.
Gifting a yoga class can be all that. With a yoga class, you are giving the gift of an experience.
Are you searching for yoga classes in Victoria? In and around Melbourne, I offer private yoga classes for all levels, for people new to yoga, as well as for advanced practitioners and yoga teacher training.
Of course, you can also join my online classes from wherever you might be. Now that the world is opening up again and we can rekindle our connections and relationships in person, online classes will remain a valuable option.
Whatever works best for you, my main aim will always be to develop and extend your practice with a guiding hand and understanding your needs and goals. If you are unsure what class would be the appropriate one for your practice, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss options.
Gifting a meaningful present
The act of gifting is very much woven into our social fabric. Sometimes giving a present is a tradition, required by culture, other times it makes a statement in a relationship or builds and confirms a connection. Sometimes it’s an ‘I’m sorry,’ other times ‘I’m thinking of you,’ and sometimes both! Gifting is a way to communicate our appreciation and feelings for someone we care about.
Whatever your reason, make your gift personal, useful and thoughtful. A gift that is well received will also lift your spirits.