Our 2017 Summer Reading List

By Amy Elizabeth Mareno, M.T.S., RYT-200

The Ramayana as Retold by Krishna Dharma – Historical Epic

One of the greatest ancient Sanskrit epic poems of all times tells of the cosmic battle between good and evil abounds with timeless wisdom, heroic feats, and loveable characters. Attributed to the sage Valmiki (circa 500 BCE), the events are said to have taken place during the Age of Tetra Yuga (the Silver Age, we are currently living in the Age of Kali Yuga or better known as the “Age of Quarrel and Strife”).

The Ramayana is the story of Prince Rama (an avatar/incarnation of Lord Vishnu) who is born during the age where the evil ten-headed super demon Ravana is terrorizing the world. Under the tutelage of the sage Vishwamitra, wise, virtuous, and kind young man as well as a gifted archer. Just when Rama is about to ascend to his father’s throne, he is exiled to the forest with his beautiful wife Sita for fourteen years. In the forest, the demon Ravana becomes entranced by Sita’s beauty and kidnaps her, taking her prisoner far away in his palace. Desperate to find Sita and rid the world of Ravana’s terror, Rama and his brother Lakshman build an army with the help of Hanuman, the king of the monkeys, and Jabhavam, the sagacious old bear. Armed only with sticks and rocks, Rama’s army of monkeys and bears is poised to fight Ravana and his heinous multitude of demons. The fate of the Cosmos and his bride Sita comes down to Rama’s strength of will and spirit in the face of overwhelming evil.

This tale of devotion, adventure, and whimsy is resplendent with timeless philosophy, quick wit, and inspiration. Originally composed as a 24,000 line epic poem, Krishna Dharma’s retelling of this story into a delightful prose format is  a superb subway ride companion to have as you journey through the urban jungle.  (Buy now on Amazon)


The Fingerprints of the Gods: Evidence of the Earth’s Lost Civilizations by Graham Hancock – Alternative Archeology

When British reporter and best-selling author, Graham Hancock, first published his thesis in 1995,  an uproaring shock scandalized the foundations of established textbook archeology. Though written off by his academics peers as “wildly speculative psuedo-science”, Hancock’s work sold 7 million copies worldwide.

After years of on-site archeology, extensive astronomy research, and comparative ancient mythology, Hancock articulates a compelling thesis that suggests the origins of human civilization are far older than we were previously taught in school. Hancock presents evidence of  technologically and culturally advanced civilizations in Central/South America and Egypt that existed before recorded history. In this fascinating work, Hancock investigates such puzzling inquiries as to how ancient Egyptians and Mayans have the technology to build pyramids AND align these structures with the position of stars in Orion’s Belt.  Hancock also suggest why hundreds of unrelated cultures all over the world have a common “Great Flood” myth.  Fingerprints of the Gods is a captivating opus that expands upon the wonder and mysteries of the ancient world. (Buy now on Amazon)

Indigo Adults: Understanding Who You Are and What You Can Become by Kabir Jaffe and Ritama Davidson – Self Development  

Have you always felt different? Maybe even feel as if you never easily fit into a group or a system? Often feeling separate, alone, dissatisfied with the “normal” world? Perhaps introspective and misunderstood even by those who are close to you?

Kabir Jaffe,  a master energy trainer who has pioneered the field of energy-based psychology and spirituality, postulates that a new type of person has been coming into incarnation since the late 70’s/early 80’s. These people are referred to as “Indigo Souls” because clairvoyants notice that the color indigo is prominent in their energetic aura (indigo is the color of the 6th Chakra/ Third Eye). Individuals that have Indigo Souls are highly intuitive and have unusual sensitivities. Indigo Souls are deep thinkers who have a powerful longing and driven purpose to heal as well as  create a better world.

Jaffe’s enlightening work can help you identify if you are an Indigo Soul as well offer insight to better understand your nature and mission here on Earth. This work also presents the larger scope of how visionary adults with Indigo Souls are here to assist humanity’s conscious evolution and to break down the established paradigms.

If interested in changing the condition of the world, it is imperative to understand yourself. Indigo Adults engage you into a journey of self discovery as well as self-realization. (Buy now on Amazon)


The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel – Non-Fiction Memoir

Journalist Michael Finkel writes of the remarkable true story of Christopher Knight who at the age of 20 in 1986 renounced all association with humanity and disappeared into the forests of central Maine, living in complete solitude of 27 years.  Venturing into the woods with just the clothes on his back and a small nylon tent. Without ever lighting a fire (even in the winter), Knight survived through his sheer determination and powerful wits for almost three decades before his reclusive tenue came to an involuntary end in 2013 when he was caught and arrested for stealing food from a summer camp facility.

Based on extensive interviews conducted with Knight during his incarceration, Finkel details the intricacies of Knight’s secluded life. Finkel also takes time to explore the historical phenomenon of hermits and how the allurement of living in seclusion can be found in cultures throughout the world. In this work, Finkel examines the value of solitude, the role community, and the pitfalls of our over-stimulated culture.

A truly profound and moving exposition on the human condition in the modern world, The Stranger in the Woods is an intriguing insight to the life of a man who was ingeniously committed to living in the complete absence of human contact. (Buy now on Amazon)

Amy is a wellness enthusiast, spiritual seeker, and lifelong student who believes that Yoga is more than a physical practice but a positive means of calming the chaotic nature of the mind and becoming the best, most authentic version of yourself off the mat. Drawing inspiration from the world’s wisdom traditions as well as her studies of Biology and Anatomy, Amy is committed to creating a light-hearted atmosphere in her classes where her students can experience a safe space that fosters healing, growth, exploration, reflection, and learning. Amy encourages self-study through anatomy focused Vinyasa alignment practice and traditional yogic philosophy.