by Liberty Stembridge, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 21st November, 2018
Books are often the first place we learn about spirituality or come across some of the fundamental principles that later form the pillars of our spiritual practice. Of course, no two persons spiritual outlook is the same and so not every book will suit everyone.
However, some books are more popular than others for a reason, and there is often a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from the pages of such books, regardless of whether we fully resonate with the teachings themselves. Here are some of the most influential books on spirituality, of our time:
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama
The Seven Laws Of Spiritual Success by Deepak chopra
Be Here Now by Ram Dass
You may read a book from start to finish and find that that's enough for you, put it down and never pick it back up again, but if you really want to start incorporating the teaching of the book into your spiritual practice, you'll want to get the most out of your books as possible. Many people like to have a few key books that they love on hand at all times, available for whenever they practice yoga, meditate or pray. It is during these times that you can turn to your books and have a flick through, see if there are any sections that are calling out to you and read them if so. This way you stay up to date and connected to the teachings within the book, and it is a lot easier to implement them in your daily life.
Not everyone has time to sit down and read every day - enter, podcasts. The podcasting industry is booming and there seems to be a podcast for everyone. Not only are they free and easily accessible, many of them have hours upon hours of material available for consumption covering pretty much everything you could think of. You can listen to them while cleaning the house, driving to work, before bed, in the bath and there's thousands of them just a few clicks away on your phone. Here are some of the best spirituality podcasts available today:
If you aren't already drawn in by this podcasts gorgeously minimalistic logo, you will be by host Krista Tippet as she discusses some of the deepest, philosophical and existential questions of our time with her guests. This is a podcast about the nature of life, and although this might sound a little overwhelming, Krista's natural hosting abilities guide you through the conversation with ease. You come away feeling like you've just had a late-night conversation about the universe with a friend under the stars.
This podcast has a specific focus on religion, and if that isn't your thing then skip to the next one. For many spiritual people, religion is of great interest and potentially even a part of their everyday lives. This show discusses morality and spirituality by talking to the leaders and guru's of spiritual communities and analysing current events from a religious perspective. It interviews a huge variety of people from all different backgrounds and faiths, giving you a well-rounded look at the world's faiths, from quakerism to hinduism.
Fan's of Oprah Winfrey will love this interview-based podcast. In it, Oprah explores the lives and beliefs of a wide variety of people, from Deepak Chopra to RuPaul, digging deep into some of the biggest philosophical questions. This podcast is great for anyone who is new to spirituality or who just wants something easy and fun to listen to while still providing a wealth of insight and information.
The Here and Now podcast is a treasure trove of lectures and conversations held by popular spiritual guru, Ram Dass. For many years, Ram Dass has been giving talks on the nature of existence, spirituality, religion, psychedelics, love, consciousness and much much more. His lilting voice is known to put people in a slightly trance-like state, and you're sure to finish the episode feeling more enlightened than before. Perfect for anyone who wants something to relax them while also educating them.
Yoga is a spiritual discipline created in India thousands of years ago. Since then it has spread around the world to become one of the most common forms of spiritual practice, with millions of people practicing yoga every day. Each person's yoga practice is unique, but if you're just getting started, there is already an abundance of resources to guide you along your journey online.
One of the most popular online yoga teachers of all time, Adriene Mischler has amassed millions of dedicated followers through her youtube channel where she shares free yoga classes of varying length, delivered in her own distinctive cheerful, loving style. She has sequences for everyone, from 10 minute beginner flows, to 40 minute intensive healing sessions. She frequently creates custom flows based on the requests of her fans, designing sequences to aid everything from PTSD to heartbreak. If you're looking for a gentle and fun introduction to yoga that you can easily incorporate into your spiritual practice, Yoga with Adriene is the way to go.
Rachel Brathen, aka Yoga Girl, started sharing her yoga journey online over six years ago on Instagram. Since then she has amassed millions of followers and taught yoga across the globe. Now she has started her own brand - Yoga Girl, which you can find at yogagirl.com. Here she shares free practices from a variety of experienced teachers, as well as various different articles written to help you deepen your practice and enrich your life.
Do Yoga With Me is a free website offering poses, meditations, instructional anatomy videos, advise on poses and alignment and a whole lot more. There's something for everyone here, from chakra flows to prenatal yoga. Do Yoga With Me is choc-a-bloc full of classes for all levels, all ages and all types of body, with an easy to use website and lot's of expert advice.
Everyone has their preferred style of meditation (and there are many). If you're just starting out however, it can seem overwhelming, so here's three of the best beginner resources for meditation.
Headspace is currently one of the world's leading meditation resources, with hours upon hours of material available through their app. You can start off with a free introductory week of daily 10 minute meditations, and if you like it, purchase a subscription and explore the incredible array of meditations that headspace has to offer, targeting every situation in life. The voice of headspace, former buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, is every bit the dream meditation teacher, with a soothing sonorous voice that will guide you to your inner calm.
Another very popular meditation app, offers guided and non-guided meditations, set to soothing nature sounds. They also offer resources to help you sleep, which is great for anyone who is particularly struggling with insomnia. Soothing meditations, binaural beats and bedtime stories read by the likes of Stephen Fry are all available at the tap of a button to help you drift off.
Not interested in paying any money to meditate just yet? The Honest Guys have got your back. They produce free online meditation tracks, ranging from 10 min quick relaxation meditations to 8 hours of relaxing sleep music. Their meditations are accompanied by beautiful music and relaxing images and are available on youtube, spotify and more.
What does your food have to do with spirituality? Well depending on who you are, a lot or very little, it's up to you. Incorporating certain edible goods such as teas and little snacks can help to further your spiritual practice and keep you full and hydrated. Tea has been incorporated into daily spiritual practices for thousands of years.
Many people like to blend their own teas using herbs like calendula, dennel, hibiscus, lavender, red raspberry leaf and mint. Different herbs will have different properties and different effects on the body, so do your research beforehand to see what suits you best. Alternatively you can buy blends ready made for specific purposes from shops such as the teapalace and buddhateas.
The practice of including food into spiritual and religious traditions is ancient and many modern practitioners like to incorporate food into their spiritual practice, either by eating mindfully or incorporating certain sacred foods into their daily practice time. What you eat and why you eat it is ultimately up to you, it could be anything from oatmeal to lentil soup.
Blogs are a great way to dive deeper into a specific person's views and advice on spirituality, and offer a way to stay connected to a certain person or ideology, with regular updates providing new material to keep you inspired.
Louise Hay is a popuar author and speaker, giving talks around the world on positivity, philosophy and the power of your own mind to heal yourself. She shares her own journey with cancer and healing herself through spiritual practice and therapy. Her blog provides insights into her life and advice for how you can improve your own.
Marianne Williamson is another bestselling author and speaker and the woman behind the book "A Return To Love" which has become so popular and so revered in many spiritual communities that it is practically biblical. She often talks and writes about how we as humans can love and help others, while furthering our own spiritual journey through positivity and self-love. On her website you can not only access courses and books, but also her blog, full of snippets of inspiration.
You've probably heard of Deepak Chopra by now. If you haven't, he is the founder of the Chopra foundation, and a popular spiritual teacher, author and advocate for holistic health, meditation and yoga. He's known for his books "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" and "You are the Universe" (written in conjunction with quantum physicist Menas Kafatos. His website hosts an array of informative articles and guest posts intended to help educate and inspire you to delve further into the realms of personal development and healing.
Want to fill your social media feeds with positive, soul-centered, high-vibrational people? You've come to the right place. Notice that same names keep cropping up? That's for a good reason, there are many spiritual teachers out there for you to find and follow, these are just some of the most popular.
The spiritual gangster is technically a clothing brand for yogi's, but it's also more than that. They share beautiful pictures, moving words and advice on how to deepen your own practice (all while creating some pretty amazing yoga gear).
The spiritualmovement instagram has over 500,000 followers and is a treasure trove of positive affirmations, tips and advice, inspirational quotes and more. Each post is a reminder to treat yourself kindly, and to keep on striving. This is for anyone who's looking for some positivity injected into their feeds.
Yes, even Ram Dass has an Instagram account (although it's probably not run directly by him). Fill your feed with spiritual teachings, lecture clips and inspirational quotes.