I am often asked for recommendations on products and books related to yoga, meditation, Ayurveda and nutrition, so I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite products, books and vendors.

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Online Speciality Stores- Specialty Herbs, Spices, etc.

When it comes to Ayurvedic products, one of my absolute favorite vendors is Banyan Botanicals. They have a great selection of organic Ayurvedic spices and herbs. They have done a great job of creating herbal formulas in capsule forms and labeling them descriptively, so you can shop by symptoms and desired effects.

Shop Banyan Botanicals

If you are looking to purchase high quality herbal teas and essential oils, my favorite site is Starwest Botanicals. Here is where I buy bulk speciality herbs, spices and other ingredients like mesquite, chaga and tulsi. They are not Ayurvedic specific so you will find a good collection of both Eastern and Western spices and herbs on their site.

Shop Starwest Botanicals

Vegan / Vegetarian Cookbooks

Let’s Talk About Cookbooks. It took me quite sometime to learn how to eat vegetables. I did not grow up eating and enjoying vegetables, so it took a great deal of trial and error to figure how to prepare them and make them taste delicious! Here I will share some of my favorite Vegan/Vegetarian Cookbooks:

The Mississippi Vegan: Recipes and Stories from a Southern Boy’s Heart: A Cookbook by Timothy Pakron

Buy Mississippi Vegan Cookbook

If you do not like vegetables, but you do like Southern cooking this is a great cookbook for you. The Mississippi Vegan knows how to pack in lots of flavor without any animal products. In his recipes, Timothy Pakron is focused on high impact flavor! These are recipes are not necessarily the most health conscious, but they are finger licking good. I think this where so many of us need to start when it comes to eating more vegetables and less animal products; delicious wholesome food with tons of flavor. Some recipes are quick and easy, some are more complicated. He does a great job of using nutritional yeast, tamari and liquid smoke to replicate flavors that are generally associated with smoked meats. Some of my favorite recipes in this book include:

  1. Skillet Okra- Timothy fries okra in a skillet with nutritional yeast, corn meal and a splash of rice vinegar and it is a great substitute for fried okra. My family will eat a whole pound of okra in one sitting when I prepare this way.
  2. Lemon Herb Rice – This is just a lovely flavorful rice dish which you can serve with grilled vegetables and serving of beans and make a fantastic meal.

Timothy has been a food blogger for years and he generously shares many of delicious recipes on his website. Here are a few of my favorites from his website:

  1. Firecracker Green beans – You will scarf down these green beans like you would a basket of french fries. They are delicious. Serve these up with some of his lemon herb rice and a green salad and you won’t even miss the meat. When I prepare these at my home, you have to serve yourself quickly or you will not get any. It is every man for himself, when firecracker green beans are served up. You can find the recipe here: https://www.mississippivegan.com/firecracker-green-beans

2. Chickpea Avocado Salad – This is recipe with chickpeas and avocados. What’s not to like? You can stuff this into a pita or if you watching your carbs, stuffing in a lettuce leaf. It’s creamy and delicious. Find the recipe here:https://www.mississippivegan.com/chickpea-avocado-salad

Books About Yoga

Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health by B.K.S. Iyengar

Buy The Path to Holistic Health

I consider this book the starting place to understand how asana can influence the body. Many consider, Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar the quintessential starting point for learning asana. Many yoga teacher training programs include Light on Yoga as required reading. It is a great book and first of its kind when it was published in 1977. However, I prefer this book by B.K.S. Iyengar: Yoga: The Path to Holistic Healing published in 2001. When you are looking to understand yoga asana as a healing modality, this is the book to buy. The book is massive, but well-illustrated and so well organized that it is an easy-to-use reference book. I find it a lot easier to navigate than Light on Yoga and thus I reference and use it much more frequently. Yes, I own both and I have both earmarked extensively, but if you are not sure where to start, this is a great starting point. I have the 2001 edition, which I have shared here. There is a newer edition, in which I think the photos and cover were updated, but I have not compared the two to know for certain.

If you would like the book with the new cover and illustrations, here is a link to the new edition: Buy The Path to Holistic Health – new edition

Asana Pranayama Mudra Bhanda by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

This book is a no frills approach to yoga. There are so many glossy, beautiful books about yoga in the market today. This is not one of those books. This is a let’s-forgo-any-and-all-slick-marketing and get down to the fundamentals of yoga. In this book, Swami Satyananda Saraswati hits all the highlights which includes yoga asana,  pranayama, mudra and mantra. This was the textbook for 7 Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona AZ, where I completed my introductory and advanced training. They used this book to teach Hatha Yoga. If you read this book from cover to cover, you will know more about yoga than most people.

Buy Asana Pranayama Mudra and Mantra

Books about Meditation

The Power of Now By Eckhart Tolle

This is a book about presence, about learning to live in the moment which is often the goal of meditation. Eckhart just bypasses the whole discussion of meditation and reminds us to be present in such simplistic terms that he makes it accessible for many of us which is why this book has been translated into 52 languages and has sold more than 12 million copies. This is pre-requisite reading for mindfulness, presence and meditation. In truth, if you can incorporate the teaching from this book into your daily living, then continued study of meditation may not be necessary. This book is an excellent beginning and yet, so elegantly simplistic, it is also enough.

Books about Ayurveda

Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing: A Practical Guide

Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, is a complex subject. It is not as straightforward as I would like it to be. Solutions are based on many individual factors which is Ayurveda’s best attribute and also a hinderance for mainstream acceptance. Ayurveda is hard to institutionalize at least by Western standards. The man who is most recognized for educating the United States on Ayurveda is Dr. Vasant Lad, the founder of the Ayurvedic Institute presently located in Asheville, North Carolina. Dr. Lad has written many books and text books on the subject. This book is an introduction to Dr. Lad’s work. It is a quick read, but also quite encompassing. It conveys the breadth and scope of Ayurveda. I suspect it was not written in English originally, but translated later into English and so some of the phrasing is a bit of odd, but the overall message is effectively communicated.

Buy Ayurveda The Science of Healing

Neti: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda

A neti pot is part of the shat karmas or daily cleansing rituals recommended for all yogis. I do not practice all of the shat karmas, but I do use a neti most days. David Frawley is an Ayurvedic scholar and he has written a book detailing the benefits of using a neti pot. He also provides directions on how to properly use a neti pot. If you are suffering from allergies, if you have asthma, if you have congestion, if you having any breathing problems, I would recommend a neti. I use to get what seemed like an obligatory sinus infection each year. Since I started using a neti on a regular basis in 2012, I have not had a sinus infection. I feel like it even helps me to think more clearly. When I breath more deeply, I think more clearly. If you are interested in learning more about a neti pot, this is the book I recommend.

Buy Neti Book

Books about Nutrition

More Books I Love

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist a story about listening to your heart and following your dreams. The word alchemist is a person who can turn ordinary metal to gold. This book is about taking what life gives us and making the best of it. “That’s what alchemists do. They show that when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

If you need a surge of hope to recommit to your dreams, read the Alchemist.

Buy The Alchemist

Self Care Products

Stainless Steel Neti Pot

Buy Neti Pot

Not all neti pots are created equally. When it comes to a neti pot, I recommend a large stainless steel neti pot. The brand I recommend is Stelo Kleen. I use a neti pot almost every day and this is what I use and have used for years. I do not like plastic neti pots. I boil my water to ensure that I have killed any bacteria in the water before using it. I allow the hot water to cool in the neti. The idea of pouring hot water into a plastic pot and then pouring that water into my nostrils does not appeal to me since it seems like I would be pouring micro-plastics into my nose really close to my brain. The nasal tip on a ceramic pot can often be a bit bulky and uncomfortable on my nostril. Both the plastic and ceramic pots are generally small and must be filled twice to properly irrigate the sinus cavities.

This pot is large enough that you can irrigate both nostrils with one filling. You can run it through the dishwasher for proper disinfecting. This is important if you are using it when you have a cold or sinus infection. The one drawback is that it will rust if you do not care for it properly. You must rinse out all the salt water / saline solution after each use. You must also set it upside down to dry completely. Do not leave it sitting around with saline in it; it will rust.

Copper Tongue Scraper

Buy a Copper Tongue Scraper– single

A copper tongue scraper is another tool that is recommended for daily use. Ayurveda recommends that when we awaken, we examine our tongues and we scrape our tongues first thing in the morning. While we sleep, our body cleanses itself and some of the toxins that is sheds during the nightly cleansing process travel up the esophagus and settle onto our tongue. The tongue scraper is used to discard the toxins from the tongue.

This is one of the copper tongue scrapers I recommend:

Buy a Copper Tongue Scrapers -Set of 2

Infrared Heating Pad by HealthyLine

To Purchase a Infrared Heating Pad Click Here

I use to think that all heating pads were created equally until I tried the Healthyline Infrared Heating Pad. This one is filled with precious stones (tourmaline, amethyst and obsidian) and radiates infrared heat. I fully admit it sounds pretentious, so I had written it off as unnecessary until I tried one. When I lay upon it, I can feel the radiant heat in way that I do not feel heat from other heating pads. These heating pads come in various sizes. I bought the smallest one and just move it around as needed. It is certainly what I consider to be a luxury purchase, but one that I have thoroughly enjoyed and recommend.

Gaiam Pilates Ring – 15″

Buy a Gaiam Pilates Ring

I think Pilates rings are pretty standard. I have not found a significant difference between them. I recommend this ring, because it is economically priced and good quality. This ring measures 15″ which I think will work for most people. If you are under 5 feet and intend to use the ring for lower body strength building, you may want to consider a smaller size ring.

12″ Pilates Ring for Petite People

Buy a URBNFit Pilates Ring

The “standard” Pilates ring runs 14-15 inches which may be a little too big for some people. For my petite clients who are under 5 feet, I recommend a smaller ring. This URBNFit ring is 12″. I actually also use this ring as my “travel” ring, so I carry it with me when I travel.

Bala Bangles Set of 2 – 1lb each

Buy Bala Bangles

I have had different ankle weights over the years and I was reluctant to buy the Bala Bangle, frankly because I thought they were too expensive. A few years back they produced some fabulously bright rainbow-colored, limited edition bangles, so I broke down and bought a pair. I have been really pleased with them. I appreciate that the weights, slide across the band, so they easily adjust to fit comfortably and securely around my wrist and ankles which is not always the case. My other weights seem to fit great on my wrists or my ankles, but not both. I was concerned, because the bangles are secured with velcro and velcro wears out in time. I am happy to report that I have had mine 3-4 years now and the velcro is holding up nicely. Admittedly, I am very careful with my bangles and I put them away in their storage pouch immediately after each use. In summary, you can find cheaper ankle weights, but these are high quality, well made with sleek styling. I have been pleased with my purchase.

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