Why do we practice yoga? For some of us, maybe it’s just a way to blow off steam after a long day at work or a way toward finding a body we can love better. Yet some of us are drawn to yoga because we are searching for deeper meaning in our lives and a more loving relationship, not just with our physical bodies, but with our whole selves.
These are the seekers—the souls aching for more connection, spirit and wild beauty in their lives. If you are a seeker, these 9 must-read books are glowing lamps to light the way.
1. Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
A how-to guide on living your most creative life, Big Magic explodes with inspiration. Whether you are looking to write a book, make art, chase down a big dream or simply infuse your life with gladness, this book is for you.
Hot topics: facing down fear, embracing curiosity and tackling what you most love. Gilbert’s advice is the perfect balance of profound spirituality and cheerful pragmatism. This book will have you chuckling out loud and digging deep into the pockets of treasure buried inside you.
2. Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Published in 1854, this classic remains relevant for the modern seeker. It is a declaration of independence, a memoir of a social experiment, a journey of spiritual discovery and a handbook for self-reliance. This book is a must for any wild soul yearning for a deeper bond to the natural world and the simplicity of life in the woods.
3. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
Another classic, On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent on a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Tangibly filled with freedom and longing, alive with Kerouac's compassion for humanity and dancing with poetic language, On the Road inspires the seeker to live more wholly and untamed.
4. How to Meditate, Pema Chödrön
Subtitled “A Practical Guide for Making Friends with your Mind,” How to Meditate is an in-depth exploration of the essentials for evolving a lifelong meditation practice. An American-born Tibetan nun, Chödrön is renowned for her gentle and straightforward guidance toward living in a wholehearted way. This is perfect for the seeker hunting authenticity, compassion, clarity and the ability to melt into stillness.
5. Still Life With Woodpecker, Tom Robbins
Part love story, part portrait of contemporary society, part wild psychedelic adventure, Still Life with Woodpecker manages to be both absurd and profoundly true.
Full of magical realism and the wild spirit of the 70s, this novel is exciting, arousing, stirring and deeply philosophical. It will take you to places you didn’t know you wanted to go. It will reveal the secrets of the moon. It will answer the question, "how do you make love stay?"
6. Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Using multicultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales and stories, Estés explores the Wild Woman of the female archetype. The Wild Woman is a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing.
Through discovering the Wild Woman, we reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the soul. This book is not just for women, but any seeker looking to unveil the fertile and life-giving seed in both the individual self and in transpersonal relationships.
7. Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg
Writing Down the Bones is an inspiration for any creative spirit looking to take the leap into writing skillfully and imaginatively. Filled with insight and practical advice on developing a more acute awareness in observing and understanding the world around us, Goldberg shows how to translate observation into words and stories—perhaps simply in the form of a journal, as a balm to our own soul; perhaps as a means with which we may reach out and touch others.
8. Wild, Cheryl Strayed
Following the death of her mother and a failed marriage, Strayed makes an impulsive decision to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone. Wild recounts the terrors and pleasures of the journey. It’s a story of losing everything in order to find everything, of facing great challenge to heal deep wounds.
9. Ram Dass, Be Here Now
Be Here Now is a modern testament to the importance of the spiritual side of human nature, based on Dass’ personal transformation through the discovery of the ancient practices and principles of yoga. Accompanied by Dass’ own illustrations, the book is full of nuggets of wisdom for seekers on the path of spirituality.
Have your own list of must-read books that feed your seeking soul? Share them in the comments below!