RESOURCES FOR MENTORS AND MENTEES

Resourceful Info for any teacher, mentor or mentee

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Many yogis find wonderful resources authored by teachers in their lineage and these are a valuable source of information for any teacher, mentor or mentee – whether they come from a particular lineage or not. 

There are also texts and resources which are more eclectic but still deliver a richness of ideas and support. This resource list points to some of these.

Finding our footing in the yoga world – holding the space of yoga – an open heart and business mind – can feel like learning to juggle. It’s easy to drop the balls and become overwhelmed. Often it is required that we have knowledge covering a vast range of skills/areas which are sometimes not highlighted in training or early teaching experience. The following list of resources can fill these gaps. It is by no means complete. It includes texts and sites that can be returned to time and time again that may be helpful for both mentor and mentee.  It also contains links to resources that may be needed only in times of crisis or difficulty.

The aim is to keep the list manageable in size and only have texts which have a wide reach. Texts which are lineage, technique or style specific have not been included. Resources in fundamental topics usually covered in training, such as anatomy, mantra and yoga therapy, are also not included.

The result is this list of treasures that fall loosely under the categories of Mental Health, Communication and Mentoring skills, Yoga and Money, Teaching, Taking Yoga Into the World, Yoga Sutra Interpretations, Bhagavad Gita Translations, Biographies and Autobiographies.  These are resources that are precious to at least one (but probably many) mentors, shared here, with a line or two about the reason they are so valuable.


MENTAL HEALTH:


Mental Health First Aid Training (mhfa.com.au) – This course is one I recommend to every teacher including anyone I mentor. It gives a basic understanding of issues around mental health and gives some helpful advice on knowing what to say and do in different situations. 

Start Where You Are  Chodron Pema  Shambhala Publications 2001 (ISBN: 1570628394)

Pema Chodron is a modern day Tibetan Buddhist nun whose books are recommended to anyone diving into self awareness. Her words bring insight, humour and inspiration to those in need of some down-to-earth guidance. This book shows we can ‘start where we are’ by embracing, rather than denying, the painful aspects of our lives. 

When Things Fall Apart Chodron Pema Shambhala Publications, 1997.

An excellent book for guidance on how to see more clearly our ‘complicated Self’ and love ourselves fully -“Fear is a natural reaction towards moving closer to the truth” and “The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves”

Practical Yoga Psychology, Rishis Vivekananda Yoga Publications Trust, 2005 (ISBN: 978-81-86336-39-7)

This book blends the teachings of yoga with those of psychology and psychiatry and other branches of Western science to give us an overview of the human personality including the chakras as a framework to understand the different physical, mental and emotional expressions. It also outlines different practices to support mental and emotional health.

Hope-How Yoga Heals the Scars of Trauma, Helen Cushing, Swami Ahimsadhara, Published by Ganga Yoga, 2016 (ISBN: 978-0-9808062-1-2)

Hope explores post-traumatic stress disorder and recovery through holistic yoga application. She shows how yoga heals the nervous system and helps regulate thinking, emotion and behaviour, explaining how to use gentle postures to relieve physical tension; breathing and pranayama for calmness and anger management; yoga nidra relaxation for stress and insomnia; simple meditation for mindfulness and inner peace and new mental attitudes for letting go of past pain. Hope also outlines practical lifestyle adjustments for healthy living. Includes an illustrated 4-week yoga plan and detailed instructions for meditations. A clearly written, high-quality book.

The Body Keeps Score: Mind, Brain and Body in Transformation of Trauma, Van Der Kolk, Bessel Penguin books 2014 (ISBN: 978-0-141-97861-1)

This text includes research related to the brain and how trauma appears in our body, mind and emotional states. Most of us have some sort of trauma in our backgrounds and being trauma sensitive in the yoga room is important. This text also contains ideas helpful to facilitate further discussion around the general topic of trauma. It also acts as a bridge between yoga teachers and mental health/human service professionals, given Dr. van der Kolk’s long-term, respected standing and research in the area of Trauma and his advocacy for yoga as an adjunct therapy.   

The Wild Edge of Sorrow – Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, Weller Francis North Atlantic Books 2015 (ISBN: 978-1-58394-976-4)

Excellent resource to help us bring grief and loss back to their natural places in daily life so that our responses can be transformed by understanding, compassion, and ritual (many informed by various indigenous cultures and thus have parallels with yogic practices).


COMMUNICATION AND MENTORING SKILLS:


Basic Personal Counselling- A Training Manual For Counsellors.  

Geldard David  and Geldard Kathyrn.   Pearson Australia 2009 (ISBN: 97814425953- pbk)

This book is designed for counselors but it has lots of tips on listening and being present which are helpful in any relationship.  In my experience, it is often a yoga teacher people will first turn to when they need help. It is beyond a yoga teachers scope of practice to deal with these issues (unless we are a trained psychologist or counselor) but it is helpful to have some basic skills. 


Connecting – Conscious Communication for Yoga Teachers and Therapists

Karani Lucy and Danks Jill.  2018  www.yogacommunication.org 

This book goes over many of the skills needed for clear communication, the development of good listening skills and self-nurturing within the yoga teaching relationship. It also has a whole section on communication-related specifically to mentoring. 


http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/reflective-practice.html

  

http://pcaddick.com/page19.html 

A site containing information on all aspects of building a mentoring relationship. 


YOGA AND MONEY:


Money Matters for Yoga Therapists” Wendy Larkin, M.A.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF YOGA THERAPISTS – No 8 1998.  (Pages 39-44) 

This article is designed for yoga therapists but much of the information it contains is helpful for all teachers. It contains some very helpful advice on working out our own attitudes to money. 


Small Business Skills www.business.gov.au 

Stay up to date with the nitty gritty of the rules and regulations of running a business. This site offers pathways to connect with information, grants, registrations and support to help your business succeed in Australia. 


YOGA AUSTRALIA MEMBERS have, on their dashboard, a link to a range of business resources such as a Business Costing Tool, Small Business Support Resources, Health and Safety and Superannuation information.


ON TEACHING: 


The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life   Parker J. Palmer, Wiley & Son, 1998

Teaching with integrity and authenticity, from our inner space and from the heart, with courage rather than fear.  ‘Thinking the world together’ rather than ‘thinking the world apart’. This is a soul-ful resource for any teacher.


TEACHING YOGA- Exploring the teacher-student relationship. 

Farhi Donna. 2006. Rodmell Press (ISBN:1-930485-17-4)

This book contains information for reflection and discussion on all aspects of the teacher, student, mentor relationship. It covers many topics which will arise for a teacher from ethics to money matters. 

Growing Younger with Yoga Louise Wiggins, Axiom Publishing, 2001, (ISBN: 86476 064 8)

This text is a valuable resource containing the wisdom of a long term practitioner. It is full of yoga stories/anecdotes/inspirational thoughts, as well as some practical advice/short sequence suggestions.  

YatanYoga Therapy – A Natural Guide to Longevity and Vitality Raman Das Mahatyagi, 2009, YatanYoga Ayurvedics, Sydney (ISBN 97890376111 – pbk)

This text is a comprehensive reference for yoga teachers dealing with students with common health issues such as arthritis, stiffness, spinal injuries, lymphedema, asthma, anxiety, and stress, to name a few. Mahayagi includes easy to follow and well-illustrated asana, breathing practices, mudras and lists precautions and contraindications for each condition. With more people being referred to yoga by their doctor, teachers need to modify their programs and this is an invaluable guide. 


TAKING YOGA INTO THE WORLD :


Bringing Yoga to Life- The everyday practice of enlightened living 

Farhi Donna.  2003. HarperCollins (ISBN: 0-06-009114-2) 

This book contains information regarding many topics related to how we live our life off and on the yoga mat. It is formed around different topics from traditional yoga texts and poetry and relates them to our everyday life. 


LIVING YOUR YOGA- Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life

Lasater Judith, Ph.D.,P.T. 2000  Rodmell Press (ISBN: 0-9627138-8-0)

This book is loosely formed around different sections of the yoga sutras. Each section contains discussion and then a series of practical exercises and helpful mantras to bring spiritual practices more into our day to day life. 


Using our practical wisdom”- Barry Schwartz:

http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_using_our_practical_wisdom?language=en

This YouTube talk by Barry Swartz is here as a resource as it will encourage the use of practical wisdom, common sense connection and loving kindness to be the foundation of a yoga practice, teaching skills and mentoring support. Practical wisdom in Barry’s words “gives us the skills to do the right thing by others and ourselves”.


Yoga with Attitude compiled by Swami Vimalratna

 The Yoga Association of Victoria, 2013 2nd edition  (ISBN: 9780987519405)

In Yoga with Attitude, the attention is on developing personal skills that work alongside the physical practices. It includes 18 weeks of daily themes of yogic awareness for everyday life to harmonise and balance thoughts and actions.ᅠThe themes draw from Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas and other positive yogic attitudes.


The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living Cope Stephen 2006 ISBN: 978-0-553-38054-5)

This book contains some profound insights about the vast and ancient science of yoga modern psychology, neuroscience, religion, and philosophy. A bonus in the appendices is an English-only translation/interpretation of the Yoga Sutras by Chip Hartranft.


Think On These Things Krishnamurti Jiddu, Rajagopal, ed. (first pub 1970) New York Harper Perennial. (ISBN:978-0-06-091609-1) 

This book is a written dialogue of Krishnamurti in discussion with his students. It strips life back to its barest bones. It forces us to reassess what is real, what is indoctrination and what is socialisation within us. He asks us to reassess our lives, release what is not important and live in the present. Krishnamurti is an example of a traditional mentor who asks questions which lead the student to a deep inner enquiry. 


Freedom From The Known – Krishnamurti J. 2010 (ISBN: 978-1846042133) 

Krishnamurti’s books will challenge you to look deeper, beyond the superficial mind. The ability to see through the drama and dogma that cloud many yoga teachings is vital for personal development and the ability to assist others on the path. By changing how we perceive the world we can alter our relationships and the structure of society. A valuable resource to help one contemplate detachment and ultimately freedom. 

YOGA SUTRA INTERPRETATIONS:

Different interpretations of the sutras tend to reflect the state of society and what was happening in the world at the time of writing. The personality and concerns of the person doing the interpretation can also be highlighted. Many of the early interpretations in the West have a basis in the interpreter’s Christian views and many see the world as a masculine place.  Sanskrit words can have many meanings in English and some are impossible to define. There are many different interpretations to be found and these are just some that may be useful to use in the mentoring relationship.


How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali Translated with a commentary by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood.  The Vedanta Society of Southern California (ISBN: 13-978-0-87481-041-7)

This is a beautifully written commentary and interpretation of the sutras. Isherwood was one of the era of British writers who came as pacifists to the USA in the 1930’s. 

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Translated and introduced by Alistair Shearer. 1982 Bell Tower, New York (ISBN:0-609-60959-9)

This is a source with some really good commentary on some of the harder to explain aspects of the yoga sutras. It is a very good teaching aid. 

The Secret Power of Yoga- A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras 

Devi Nischala Joy 2007 Three Rivers Press (ISBN: 978-0-307-33969-0)

A wonderful guide which views the sutras from a feminine perspective and reflects on the changes in society since earlier interpretations. Devi also includes practices and meditations which support her interpretations of the Sutras. 

YOGA Discipline of Freedom- The Yoga Sutra Attributed to Patanjali  Translated by Barbara Stoler Miller 1998 Bantam Wisdom Additions (ISBN: 0-553-37428-1)

This text is very easy to access and follow. Barbara Stoller Miller is a Sanskrit scholar and has also translated the BHAGAVAD Gita. 

The Light of the Soul:  It’s Science and Effect, A paraphrase of the Yoga Sutras of Patajali By Alice Bailey 1927 Lucas Publishing  (ISBN 0-85330-112-3)

A discussion of Patanjalis Sutras, attempting to bring them into understandable English whilst conveying their exact meaning. This work draws on various sources and reflects the yogic philosophical approaches of ‘The Tibetan’ as passed on through Alice Bailey. 


BHAGAVAD GITA TRANSLATIONS:


Bhagavad Gita – A New Translation Mitchell Stephen 2000 Three Rivers Press New York (ISBN:0-6009-81034-0)

This translation is very poetic and beautifully presented.


The Song of God Swami Venkatesananda 1972 The Chiltern Yoga trust.

This reference is a day book with each day of the year dissecting one part of the Gita with a translation and thoughtful commentary. 


Bhagavad Gita – As It Is Swami Prabhupada 1972  The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 

(ISBN:0-912776-80-3)

This is a very popular translation and contains very informative comments and reflections.


 BIOGRAPHIES AND AUTOBIOGRAPHIES:


Autobiography of a Yoga Yogananda Paramahansa 1994 Random House  (ISBN: 0-7126-7238-9) 

This was first published in 1946 and tells the story of the first great Indian Master who lived in the West for an extended period. 


At The Eleventh Hour:The biography of Swami Rama  Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Ph.D. 2001 The  Himalayan Institute (ISBN: 0-89389-211-4 HB) 

Swami Rama of the Himalayas brought the practices of Yoga to the West and started the Himalayan International Institute. This is his story as told by his successor Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. 


I am A Yogi: An album of reflections, stories, quotes and philosophies from the life of Margrit Segesman, Lucille Wood 2011, Gita International (ISBN 978-9872215-0-6) 

Creative views into the remarkable life and teachings of the woman who established Yoga in Melbourne in 1954. Historical and biographical insights into the beginnings of yoga in Australia that give a broader context for our modern yogic lives. 

Yoga and the Living Tradition of KRISHNAMACHARYA  Desikachar T.K.V. and Cravens R.H.

1998 Aperture Foundation (ISBN: 0-89381-941-7)

This is a biographical profile, told by Krishnamacharya’s son T.K.V.Desikachar, of one of the Indian teachers who was responsible for teaching many of the early Western yoga teachers: B.K.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi, and K. Pattabhi Jois

Initiation: The Story of One Woman’s Spiritual and Psychic Odyssey Through Two Lifetimes,  Haich, Elisabeth 1965 George Allen & Unwin   (ISBN 0 04 133007 2)

This book can be read as a novel, or, if the notion of humans having multiple life-times is intriguing or sits well with you, it can be read as factual recall.  Either way, this book offers explanations of Yogic philosophy, wisdom and practices and also an insight into the essence of who we are as human beings, the nature of our place in the universe and why we are here, with all our wonders and imperfections.

List compiled by Mary Lou Hogarth and the Yoga Australia Mentoring Working Group, August 2109

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