CityZen Meditation & Counselling in South East London

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For the love of reading!

We sometimes get requests for reading recommendations during workshops or courses so here are some of Fateh's current favourate reads and a comment or two as to why. These books are in no particular order.  Please scroll to the end for the most recent!

Sri Saundari Lahari: The Descent by Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati is a wonderful book about Shankara's meditations, mantras and yantras of the Divine Feminine Devi.  It's hard going if you're new to yoga and not familiar with the Sanskrit terms and concepts, though I've been thoroughly enjoying it so far (my current read) and the explanation of the intertwined dance of Shiva (consciousness, stillness) & Shakti (power, vibration) is great. Amazon link

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Shri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra: The Ascent by Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati is a wonderful book on dharana (concentration) and contains the 112 meditations from the early Tantric teachings of Bhairava (Lord Shiva).  These meditations are wonderful.  I love this book.  It's one of the first books I'd choose to save if I had could only have a few.  Again it might not be accessible to someone new to yoga.  Amazon link

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Full Catastrophe Living: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation by Jon Kabat Zinn, is one of the all time classics.  It's easy to read, deep and pratical and a great guide to Mindfulness.  Jon was the pioneer who started the Mindfulness movement, translating some of the Buddhist wisdom and methods into a secular form which was universlally accessible.  He used Mindfulness with incredible effectiveness to help chronic pain suffers (for whom medication was no longer reducing their pain sufficiently) at Massachusetts.  Hospital, USA.  If you want Mindfulness from the horse's mouth (no offence meant Jon!) this is the book to go for. Amazon link

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The Aquarian Teacher by Yogi Bhajan is the teacher training manual for the wonderful transformational technology of Kunalini Yoga.  It contains everything essential about the philosophy, method and practice of this incredible, fast track system of yoga.  There is no better book or manual on the subject.  I also think the compilation of sets and meditations contained here is the best general collection I have seen, although there are now many collections of sets available.  It's not cheap (wherever you get it) and the latest edition divides into two volumes.    The only eqvivalent masterpeice I have found is Yoga and Kriya: A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.  This is a different (though I'm sure equally wonderful) school of yoga.  However it is perhaps a little less accessible as it requires reaching a higer standard of physical postures before attempting the more powerful meditations.  Neither book is a substitute for a great teacher, but as books go they are of the highest standard.  They are both expensive (£50 +) and so are for the serious student.  Though they are also both thorough enough that beginners need not be put off, and there is enough material in either to practise for years and years.

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The Journey Home, Autobiography of an American Swami by Radhanath Swami: The spiritual thirst that we all have is played out dramatically through the beautiful true life story of one courageous American.  Driven by his need to be closer to God, Richard is willing to sacrifice everything to find Truth and true meaning.  He travels the world penniless in his quest, which eventually leads him to the mystic, exotic, saint infested lands of India!  This isn’t a book about which path we should follow, but the absolute importance of finding OUR path and dedicating our lives to it.  Its message is very pure and universal.  Personally I wasn't hooked until he made it to India.  But once the author was rubbing shoulders with enlightened yogis and gurus and luxuriating in the rich tapestry of mighty rivers, caves and forests, it was impossible to put down.  Excellent, moving, inspiring and very accessible. Amazon link