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I start every day with inspirational reading—or I try to. Sometimes the cats’ get into some high jinks, and by the time I’ve rescued them from a too-tall tree or mopped up a spilled water tray, I’m into my day, and my morning reading ritual is forgotten.
But most days I read from two books. The readings in both are short, meant for daily inspiration, and I imagine thousands across the country begin their mornings gaining inspiration and thoughts to ponder from the same sources.
The first is Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga by Rolf Gates. He is a former social worker and U.S. Airborne Ranger who struggled with alcohol addiction before finding and ultimately teaching yoga. He uses personal stories throughout the 365 readings if they help convey his message, but he doesn’t rely on personal anecdotes. (Katrina Kenison gets equal billing on the cover as an author, but she’s more of a ghost writer.)
The book is in eight parts, as yoga has eight limbs:
Two hundred fifty four readings concern the yamas, niyamas, and asana, which leaves fewer than 100 daily readings for the remaining five limbs. Myself, I’m just a few readings into Pranayama, but I am looking forward to the rest of the book, though I’m not looking forward to finishing it, I love it so. However, I doubt this book will ever end for me as once I reach the last reading, I’ll start again at Day 1…over and over and over.
I sit for about a minute with the message I have just read in Meditations from the Mat, let in sink in. Then I open The Golden Present: Daily Inspirational Readings by Sri Swami Satchidananda. Born in India, Satchidananda moved to the United States in the late 1960s and gained fame when he was asked to be (and was) the opening speaker at Woodstock, the arts, music, and peace festival, in 1969.
Satchidanada doesn’t explain yoga so much as tell readers how to live and love better, be more spiritual and closer to their God. To explain his points, he uses stories, or some readings are presented in question/answer format, or sometimes the writing is direct.
While entries from Meditations from the Mat should be read sequentially to aid understanding, I trust the Spirit to guide my hand in opening The Golden Present to a reading that will apply to my current situation. Often times, I may not see the point of a reading until later in the day. Something happens, and in awe and wonder I think, "Ahh, my morning reading was so spot on." I understand the situation more because of the reading, and I understand the reading more because of what happened. It's undeniable that there's a Universal Power working to deepen the meaning in our lives.
If you are just starting on your yoga journey or you are a decade into it, I recommend these books. Rely on them as a source you can draw from in order to keep your yoga flame burning.