good reads from the community

Seek knowledge, never give up being curious

Reading is one of the greatest sources we have in our search for knowledge. It is a gift to ourselves and provides us with new information to process and to apply. I love reading. Books were already my best friends when I was a small child. This resulted in to a love for writing. It is natural, I consider it as a mindful practice, to completely be in tune with the words that create phrases and the phrases in this case a blog. 

This time around, I have invited some friends within my community, who I know love to read as well and asked them to share a short story about a book they really enjoyed reading or was of great help in their personal path. Both are yoga and meditation teachers; Luca with his origins from from Italy, the land known of course for the great food and wine, but not to forget the artists Dante, Michelangelo and Da Vinci (to name a few). And Emma, she is from the UK, from where the list of writers is endless. 



luca bellucci

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He and I met in The Netherlands a few years ago, where we both worked for the same yoga studio in Rotterdam and The Hague. You can find out more about him, his thoughts, teachings and more on his Instagram profile, @mindselasticity. He classes are mostly in the Netherlands (Rocket Yoga, Vinyasa and some Yin as well, during the summer some festivals throughout Europe and beyond.

His choice of book is outstanding, I remember reading this book on one of my first journeys to Asia, picking up random books in local shops and home-stays. Here is what he writes for you:

The Teaching of Don Juan by Carlos Castanada

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This book, written in 1968 by Carlos Castanada, an American author (1925-1998), wrote a series of books. This book was the debut of his experience, where he meets Don Juan Matus, who was a shaman, during his anthropological studies at California University. He leads him into a journey through the secrets of the ancient Mexican shamanism. Starting as a conventional researching method, his journey ends up in a “no mans land” where matters are neither anthropological, sociological, philosophical or religious and through the Don Juan’s teachings, Castaneda interiorise the cognitive processes of the shamanic tradition which will lead him towards a radical transformation, a form of intellectual devotion where the only valuable thing is the encounter with the universe and its energy. Through the guided consumption of sacred mushroom and plants faces the “4 enemies of the learning process”: Fear, Clarity, Power and Ageing. These will appear in a circular path during his experience and they will prove his deepest beliefs and convictions. 

This book is not just the simple sum of Castaneda’s psychedelic experience, but the story of a journey of a sceptical academic and his struggles to connect with his Inner Self and Universe. His journey resonates to me; to my Ashtanga Yoga and meditation practice, the struggles experienced to learn acceptance facing the same enemies as in Castaneda’s learning processes. I recommend the book, from me as a person and being a yoga & meditation teacher, to use as a tool to better understand the complex vastness and ductility (resilience) of the Yoga philosophy. It is a book to realise how ancient cultures can fuse to enhance the personal growth in practice and its sharing as a teacher in these modern times. 


Emma Saunders

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We met at the beginning of last year, at a yoga teacher training in India. She was a student, I was one of the teachers. From Student-teacher, I can definitely say we have become friends since. She is a beautiful person with a wonderful energy, on Instagram you can find her as @emyogadevon. I remember her notebooks and homework during the teacher training, always pieces of art, she could not resist the urge of drawing...the choice of her book she wanted to share with you, is absolutely no surprise! There are a few catch phrases in that book that I still remember and often remind myself of: ideas are coming to you with a purpose: see them, feel them, work with them!

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Creative Living Beyond Fear… For the fourth time I have turned the final page of Gilberts ‘Big Magic’ and immediately I find myself excited by endless possibilities and projects I wish to wrangle. Within Big Magic Gilbert addresses the idea of creativity and inspiration and how to infuse it into our lives. But let me stress that Gilbert views creativity and inspiration not just as the high art forms of painting and sculpture, of poetry and verse, but as any little thing that makes your soul sing. Whether that be gardening, or ice skating, she encourages each of her readers to ask their soul ‘What do you want dear one?’

 Gilbert reminds us that outcome does not matter, and this is a favourite book of mine to reignite not just creativity and inspiration but to move from living via my ego, to experiencing life via my soul. Always remember: ‘You are worthy dear one, regardless of the outcome.’

Step into fierce trust, and come home to creativity


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The Book of Joy

The last book I wish to share with you here is a treat for each and everyone, I can not stop telling people that they need to read this. It is the meeting in 2015, between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, who have been friends for many years. To celebrate the eightieth birthday of the Dalai Lama, the Archbishop travelled to Dharamshala, where they discussed over the course of one week only one single question: how do we find joy in the face of suffering? The transcript has become this wonderful read. They share stories and insights; two men from such different worlds, radiating both with compassion, humour and joy. 

The Archbishop has never claimed sainthood, and the Dalai Lama considers himself a simple monk. In this unique collaboration, they offer us the reflection of real lives filled with pain and turmoil in the midst of which they have been able to discover a level of peace, of courage, and of joy to which we can all aspire in our own lives.


If you have a book that you would like to share, that you think other people should read, write me a message so we can see when it can fit in the next blogs that I will publish. Send me an email is the easiest way: alexandra.vanschaik@gmail.com