Less stress, better sleep, and more energy are just a few of the benefits associated with meditation and mindfulness. Yet, if you’ve never tried meditating before, it can be difficult to know where to start. This is where meditation books come in. Packed with detailed insights and straightforward exercises, books on meditation can be a wonderful resource.
Some meditation books focus on a particular philosophy, others describe personal stories, and some are purely practical. To help narrow down your choices, we’ve chosen six of our favorites. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced meditator, you’re sure to find a book here to help you on your journey.
1. How To Meditate: A Practical Guide by Kathleen MacDonald
What is meditation? How do I start? If you’re new to meditation, this helpful book will answer all of your questions. Written by Kathleen Macdonald, a Western Buddhist nun, How to Meditate is a straightforward and down-to-earth book. As an experienced meditation teacher, Macdonald offers practical advice on various meditation techniques. As well as explaining fundamental philosophies, the book outlines visualization exercises and accessible meditation methods. For someone who wants to begin and maintain a strong meditation practice, this is an excellent book to start with.
2. Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg
If you want to try meditation for the first time or brush up on your existing practice, Real Happiness is the book for you. Author Sharon Salzberg, meditation teacher and spiritual teacher, outlines a 28-day program that’s easy to follow. The book covers almost every element of meditation, from the basics (breathing and posture) to more advanced aspects of meditation (dealing with distractions and achieving calm). Instead of focusing on the spiritual side of meditation, the author examines its scientific basis and practical benefits. Salzburg references various techniques throughout the book, such as mindful walking, so you’ll come away from with a greater understanding of meditation. The 28-day program is also a great jumpstart for anyone looking to develop a consistent practice.
3. Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates
Exploring the mindfulness of yoga, Meditations from the Mat is an inspiring book. With 365 daily practices, the book encourages the reader to practice mindfulness every day of the year. Gates describes yoga as a practice for the mind, as well as for the physical body. Through his reflections, he uses yoga as a means to cultivate health and happiness. Readers can make the exercises part of their morning routine, try them during yoga practice, or in the evening. Reading Meditations from the Mat is a wonderful way to both enhance and deepen your yoga practice. Also, by committing to mindfulness every day for a year, you never know what benefits you’ll experience.
4. The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe
Aimed at busy people, The Headspace Guide is a practical introduction to meditation. Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk and meditation expert, explains why meditation doesn’t need to take up much time and why it shouldn’t be seen as an inconvenience. As the book explains, anyone can take 10 minutes out of their day to meditate. Whether it’s during the work commute or before lunch, meditating for a short amount of time can make a big difference overall. The simple, but effective, techniques in this book are designed to positively influence both physical and mental health. With the aim of reducing stress and expanding headspace, Puddicombe brings the ancient practice of meditation into today’s world.
5. 10% Happier by Dan Harris
Less of a practical how-to guide and more of a personal account, 10% Happier is the story of Dan Harris’ meditation journey. After suffering from a panic attack, while live on TV, Dan decided to make changes in his life. His search for inner calm led him to discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, which he recounts in this engaging book. Harris delves into everything from the neuroscience of meditation to the spiritual scene. If you’re a self-help skeptic, don’t worry, because this lighthearted book won’t tell you how to live. Instead, it’ll take you along for an inspiring ride, while Harris embraces meditation and changes his life.
6. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
First published in 1994, Where You Go, There You Are has sold over 750,000 copies to date. Written by Jon Kabat-Zinn, known for his work as a scientist, meditation teacher, and writer, the book is an accessible guide to mindfulness. In his straightforward style, Kabat Zinn explains the fundamentals of mindfulness. The chapters are short and the language never gets too complex or technical. However, it’s not a basic step by step guide. Instead, Kabat Zinn writes about the principles behind mindfulness and how to incorporate these principles into everyday life. Whether you’re new to mindfulness or looking for a refresher, this is an informative read.
Bonus Book: Autobiography of a Naked Yogi by Yogi Aaron
Although not technically a meditation book, Autobiography of a Naked Yogi is a must-read for anyone hoping to make positive changes in their life. Yogi Aaron, owner and yoga director at Blue Osa, shares empowering life lessons through his poignant style of storytelling. However, Aaron never takes himself too seriously – each chapter brims with humour and authenticity. From coming out as a gay man to launching his impressive yoga career, this book charts Aaron’s inspirational progression through life.
By reading meditation books, you’re already taking a positive step towards better mental and physical health. However, putting what you read into practice is often a different story. If you’re interested in learning how to incorporate meditation into your daily life, our morning routine course can help. Over a series of engaging videos, our course shows you how to maintain a consistent meditation practice and how to make time for what’s really important in your day.
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About the author:
Casey Siemasko is a content marketing consultant, travel blogger, and wandering yogi. An entrepreneur at heart, she is the co-founder of the award-winning travel blog A Cruising Couple. Besides yoga and travel, she enjoys wine tastings, being outdoors and taking on new hobbies. Follow Casey on LinkedIn and Google+.