5 Summer Reads

5 Best Summer Reads

Spring is here and, hopefully, we’ve all got some lovely plans for the summer. Maybe you’re looking into flights and flats as I write this! Summer, for me, means carving out time whenever possible to sit outside to read. I’m in the fortunate position of living in Berlin, a city that doesn’t believe in mowing grass religiously. So, you’ll find me hidden away in the long grass, fully immersed in the world of another (just as an aside: I love my e-reader for when I’m traveling but something about being out in nature literally, yes literally! leafing through the actual pages of a book, well, there’s no comparison).

If you were only interested in yoga books, I must disappoint you, however. I find it far more interesting to mix things up and let them cross-fertilize each other. But enough about that, before I go off on another whim about the ins and outs of yoga and the rest of the world! Without further ado, here come my favorite 5 reads for the season:

1. Pussy – A Reclamation by Mama Gena
This, ladies, was an act of the truest, most original liberation. Mama Gena talks about that super power all women have, the best kept secret, which, unleashed, shall make not just your world but our whole world come to its senses. Literally. In this book, Mama Gena, re-introduces us to, dare I say it, our pussies. By way of practical and daring exercises that are probably unlike any coaching session you’ve ever gone to, she helps us to reawaken our pussy power. You ‘ll take one, no countless, looks at your pussy. You’ll talk to her ( I like to tell her dirty jokes but whatever). You’ll let her know you appreciate her.

My favorite part? When she makes you say the word pussy out loud. No more “down there”, “private parts”, or pet names for our favorite playground! I felt giddy with excitement and gratitude the whole time I was reading it. Pass it on to your girlfriends, and, even more, those women in your life that may challenge you here and there. We need this.

2. You’re Wearing That? by Deborah Tannen
Right after finishing it, I bought this one for my mom and my best friend and told numerous other girlfriends about it. This book lovingly and intelligently describes those subtle and repetitive mother-daughter dynamics; why we fail to communicate the way we truly want to and how to better understand this woman who is so much part of us and our lives, whether we want it or not. Tannen doesn’t take sides and writes with the empathy of a woman who understands that striking the right balance between too much intimacy and too much distance is a lifelong practice.

My favorite part? The revelation that each woman, daughter and mother, wields limitless power over the other; mothers by giving out acceptance or not, daughters by distancing themselves when things are difficult. Buy it for mom too. I know it changed my relationships to my mom forever.

3. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
I don’t read a whole lot of fiction but this one jumped out at me. Maybe it was the Oprah’s book club stamp of approval but it was definitely worth it. Mbue tells an immigration story unlike many I have read. Without spoiling the ending, suffice it to say that there are “successful” immigration narratives, tragic ones and then there’s those that take a different turn altogether. This is one of those stories, told unapologetically, compassionately but without false sentimentality.

My favorite part? Set in New York during the 2008 financial crash, this novel offers a very real and heartbreaking account of what it must have been like to live through this scary time and tell the tale.

4. The Four by Scott Galloway
Ha, bet you didn’t see this one coming! Here I swerved into another interest of mine, the evils of the digital world! I have an iphone, a facebook account, I shop at Amazon and google is my first stop in all things search, so I’m not pointing any fingers whatsoever. What I love about Galloways’s book, however, is his well-researched predictions of where Amazon, Apple, Google and facebook are taking us. Turns out it reads like science fiction, except it’s not. From Amazon’s logistic ambitions to google’s snooping capabilities, it’s all in there and far more than you thought you knew after the facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.

My favorite part? There’s no moralizing here, we’re online, we’re contributing to the whole monopolization of our consumerist choices but there are ways to stay conscious and informed and maybe not put ALL our valuable data in one basket.

5. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Now I know this is not a new one for many of you but I felt the list wouldn’t be complete without it, especially because this is a book I will return to over and over again. The author is both a Jungian psychologist and a Cantadora, a story teller. By breaking down fairy tales in a way I’ve never seen done before, she reveals to us the archetype of the “Wild Woman” dormant or wide-awake in all of us. By wild woman she does not mean, we all have to grow our hair long and scraggly and live in the woods but we definitely should unleash this creature in us and find ways for her to be allowed to exist in and guide our everyday life. Estés shows us how.

My favorite part? Estés’s deep insights into how vitally important it is not to ignore the wild woman in us and to stop sacrificing her at the altar of our responsibilities, relationships and distractions.

little disclaimer: I linked all the books to amazon for convenience (ah, yes, the modern devil) but I try to order from my local bookstore as much as possible!

My Favorite Top 10 Yoga Books


As a teacher, it’s important to have some idea about the eight limbs of Yoga and a few details from the Bhagavat Gita. It’s even better, when we’ve got our Yamas and Niyamas memorized, even implemented to a certain degree.

To learn about all things yoga, there are numerous fantastic and inspiring yoga books out there by Patanjali, Iyengar, Gurmukh, to name just a few. Nevertheless, I’m always hunting for new inspiration for my classes. That, and I have the odd talent for finding tiny bookstores with out-of-print editions of all sorts of wonderful literature. So here is my treasured list, some of which is a little off the beaten Yoga-book path. These gems are suitable for beginners AND advanced Yogis and I keep coming back to them frequently. I bet you will too:

1. Stephen Levine: Healing into Life and Death
Why I love it: Levine does not shy away from the really big stuff in life of which terminal illness and death certainly are a part. At the same time, he teaches us that healing can happen, even if our physical bodies do not recover from illness. Truly powerful and worth reading over and over.
2. Hugh Prather: I touch the Earth and the Earth touches me
Why I love it: Prather writes, sort of stream-of-consciousness poetry or snipits on spirituality, sexuality, really just daily thoughts that we can all relate to and that make us human first, maybe enlightened second.
3. Ana Forrest: Fierce Medicine
Why I love it: The woman warrior among the yoginis of our time, Ana offers a very honest perspective, whether she talks about her own battle with addiction or a specific asana. She encourages us to take a good, hard look at what isn’t working for us and invites us to commit to transforming trauma or bad stuff until it becomes a thing of beauty.
4. Josephine Fairley: Yoga for Life
Why I love it: This book was a completely coincidental find on an overloaded sale table. Even though it addresses women in their 40s and up, I think it is great book for any aspiring yogi. I’m not sure it is still in print but Fairley’s unpretentious and down-to-earth recommendations make it so terribly easy to start your own home yoga practice, you should try to get it anyway!
5. Stephen Bodian: Meditation for Dummies
Why I love it: That’s right, one from the …for Dummies series. It’s an oldie but goodie because it features so many techniques to get you started and even if you have meditated for a long time, you’ll probably still find inspiring ideas or ways to look at meditation in a new way.
6. Thich Nath Hanh: Peace is Every Step
Why I love it: Having grown up with many bibles in the house (and never really enjoying the reading that much), this book became my chosen bible. I take it everywhere I go because the words are very simple and comforting and I always seem to open it up exactly on the page I need that day-magic!
7. John Mundahl: Soul to Soul
Why I love it: This one is especially great for yoga teachers, offering little stories, intentions and inspiration to begin or end your class. You’ll want to finish reading it in one go, then start again right away.
8. Paramahansa Yogananda: Autobiography of a Yogi
Why I love it: Even if this one is a little more obvious than the other books on this list, it belongs here because once you’ve gotten through the sometimes slightly awkward writing style, the pearls of wisdom by one of yoga top wisemen, are indispensable and at times, even mystical.
9. Liz Lark: 1001 Pearls of Yoga Wisdom
Why I love it: This is a beautifully illustrated tiny book to take along with you anywhere or maybe keep it close to your altar for spontaneous pick-up. There are literally 1001 useful and inspired teaching and learning moments in there. Great gift idea too!
10. Timothy Mc Call, M.D.: Yoga as Medicine
Why I love it: Here’s a real go-to manual for some serious conditions that students come to yoga with all the time. Anything from back pain to fibromyalgia to depression and cancer. This book gives you the scientific insights as well as asanas to try out with students or by yourself. I’ve referred back to it over and over, especially for my private classes.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did and still do. What are some of your secret best yoga books? Lemme know in the comments below!