Four fab books that should be on your summer reading list

Yay, summer! Time to grab a good book and head to the lake, the park, the beach or the backyard for an afternoon of bliss.

Don’t know what to read? Below, Floating Lotus staff members share a few books we love. We think everyone will enjoy and be inspired by our selections.

1. “Yamas and Niyamas,” by Deborah Adele, recommended by Cassandra Benning, owner of the Floating Lotus Yoga Studio and Day Spa

As part of our yoga teacher training course, we always read “Yamas and Niyamas.” This fantastic book takes readers through Yoga’s ethical guidelines — the “dos and don’ts” of Yoga philosophy.

The guidelines are laid out as restraints, or yamas (nonviolence, honesty, not stealing, will power and non-possessiveness), and observances, or niyamas (purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study and surrender).

Although “Yamas and Niyamas” is meant as a spiritual guide to yoga, the book offers insight beyond the setting of the yoga mat: our students have even brought the book to work, to read and interpret in an office environment.

2. “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,” by Neil deGrasse Tyson, recommended by Cassandra Benning, owner of the Floating Lotus Yoga Studio and Day Spa

I think Neil deGrasse Tyson is pretty amazing, and I love this book because it offers a workout for the scientific part of my brain. While it’s a slow read for me because I need to research some of the concepts presented, “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” makes me realize how remarkable the universe is and how unique we are as inhabitants.

3. “Lives of Girls and Women,” by Alice Munro, recommended by Amy Widner, Yoga instructor

Set in rural, post-WWII Ontario, this novel about a tween girl’s transition to womanhood reminds me of stories from my mom’s generation about growing up in Arkansas.

Alice Munro usually writes short stories. So, although the characters and storyline are consistent and continuous throughout this book, each chapter is like a little meditation on a certain part of growing up. It explores the secrets we keep, the thoughts we have as we grow up and sort things out, our relationships with our mothers and other family members, our female friendships, and our relationships with men.

My favorite point made in the book is how, when you disappoint family members, some take it as a painful strike on their own character, while others are disapproving, but nothing more. The main character in this book prefers the company of the latter. Me, too.

4. “Zen Keys,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, recommended by Clay Shuffield, Yoga instructor

This is a great book, clarifying the principles of Buddhism. If you are interested in exploring Zen Buddhism, “Zen Keys” is an excellent place to start. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh gives readers understandable, approachable explanations of the essential foundations of the philosophy and application of Zen.

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