The yogi is a bit of a book-worm and loves any resources that support or challenge his knowledge and practice of yoga. And with yoga being a couple of thousand years old, and practised globally, he’ll never probably get to meet some of the great thinkers, seers and practitioners. So having access to books and other resources, written by some of these great people is the next best thing to attending a class by them. In some ways it’s even better because you can keep going back to the book. Well worth the investment.
Offline the yogi likes to share his love of some of the books he reads, and it’s not unusual to be offered one at the end of a class! And as he says, if you don’t like it, just pass it on. Online he can’t necessarily do this but he can recommend books and write a bit about them. As always, please pass on your recommendations and comments too.
The yogi has been reading ’59 Seconds’ by Professor Richard Wiseman. Not strictly a ‘yoga’ book. But heck, it certainly provides some evidence for some yoga practices!
It’s described as a ‘self-help’ book with a difference, in that almost everything described is underpinned by peer-reviewed and often fascinating research.
The book explores evidence-based changes you can make to improve your happiness, increase your powers of persuasion, hone your motivation skills, be more creative, be more attractive, reduce stress, build relationships, enhance your decision-making, improve your parenting and gain insights into people’s personalities.
Now that packs an awful lot into 358 pages. And the yogi likes the fact that there is a nice long list of research papers and evidence to back the insights up. Why 59 seconds? Well Wiseman considers that every bit of hard thought and hard-fought evidence based self-help described here can take less than a minute to implement! What more could busy, distracted and increasingly time-concious folks want?
You can tell that the yogi loves this book. He belongs to a book club and one member of that book club has what she calls the “leave it at the Gite test”. Lancashire Yogi doesn’t know what a Gite is, but he is told it’s a nice french holiday home. And the test is, if you took a book with you on your holiday to that Gite: would you bring it back or leave it at the Gite? Lancashire Yogi thinks this is a book that you would want to bring home, and keep visiting and testing out.
One of his favourite references is the section on ‘stress’, where Wiseman talks about the power of searching for benefits. He says that everyone will experience negative events at some point in their lives. Such events lead to anger, frustration, bitterness and aggression. And the usual or common response is to go out and whack a punch bag or something. Not something that the yogi advocates being a practitioner of ahimsa; but nevertheless, there is a commonly held view that repressing the negative emotions isn’t very good for you. Wiseman references some research which suggests that putting on boxing gloves or punching a pillow are far more likely to increase, not decrease feelings of aggression. The research suggests that if you focus instead on seeking the benefits that have arisen from the seemingly negative events or experience – you will significantly reduce such negative or stressful feelings. So the trick is to find out the benefits or the good that has arisen out of the negative experience or event rather than dwell on the negative and continue getting angry. Now that really is ahimsa in action!