Seated figures by a Christmas tree, quietly reading their mindfulness books

Mindful reading for Christmas & the New Year

Classic & new reads, recommended by the team from The Moment is Now

There are hundreds of mindfulness books out there, so how do you choose which ones to read? Between them, Gillian and her team have made it their mission to read as many mindfulness books as they can. Here are some of their recommendations—from classic texts to the recently-published.

Front covers of mindfulness-related books recommended in this blog post

Bring mindful concepts into movement and health

Craig Ali, guest tutor at The Moment is Now, currently leads our eight-week mindfulness courses. Here’s his recommendation to help you bring mindfulness concepts into movement and health.

Craig read Body, mind and sport by John Douillard over 15 years ago and has read it again several times since. Craig says “It’s an encyclopaedia of wisdom on how to listen to the senses within the body to steer you in the right direction.”

John Douillard is a huge advocate of syncing your breath to whatever movement you do and allowing your ‘edge’ to naturally expand due to the ability to control your mind and body once you get there, rather than stressing them to get stronger. This is an approach we use in mindfulness to build resilience – find your edge of comfort then be with it and turn towards it with compassion, which is exactly what Douillard expresses in this book.

In John’s decades of experience, he has used this compassionate approach to:

  • Transform the health of thousands of people, and
  • Help world-class athletes hit their personal bests.

Craig adds “Douillard also goes into great detail about Ayurvedic methods for health, which I would encourage anyone to investigate as these methods have helped me and many of my clients improve their wellbeing.”

Boost your internal resources

Mindfulness coach Gillian Duncan is a big fan of Rick Hanson. Last year, she was delighted to get her hands on his book, Resilient, written with his son Forrest.

Based on Dr. Hanson’s ‘Foundations of Well-Being’ programme, Resilient is a practical how-to guide you can use to help boost your personal internal resources to develop what the authors call “an unshakable core of calmness, strength and happiness.”

The book has a chapter for each of 12 primary internal strengths identified by Rick and Forrest, such as confidence, courage and generosity. In common with Dr. Hanson’s other books, the tone of this latest guide is warm, encouraging and down-to-earth. At the same time, the practices outlined in the book are firmly grounded in the science of positive neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to change throughout your life).

Try exploring one chapter per month for a whole year of personal growth practices – and you needn’t wait until 1st January!

Gentle mindfulness reminders and a delightful story

If you’re looking for a something that’s a delight to read and supports your practice with gentle and funny mindfulness reminders, The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a novel by David Michie, could be the book.

It tells the story of an abandoned kitten rescued by the Dalai Lama and is told from the cat’s point of view. As the tale unfolds, the cat’s new life at Dharamsala gives the author many opportunities to gently remind us of the benefits of a mindful life. This book is about finding happiness and meaning in the midst of a challenging life, but you’ll maybe not even notice you’re absorbing its messages while you smile your way through it.

The art of breathing

According to author Dr Danny Penman, your breath is the greatest asset you have. In the first chapter of The art of breathing, he writes:

“It’s naturally meditative and always with you. It reflects your most powerful emotions and allows you to either soothe or harness them. It helps you feel solid, whole … while grounding you in the present moment, clarifying the mind, and unshackling your instincts.”

He goes on to say that mastering the art of breathing will help you:

  • Kindle a sense of awe, wonder and curiosity
  • Have the courage to accept yourself with all of your failings
  • Treat yourself with the kindness and compassion you truly need.

Danny Penman writes plainly and clearly, to great effect. The simple exercises are laid out as easy-to-follow charts and the book is crammed with delightful illustrations.

This book is a joy to read and beautiful to look at, encouraging you to return again and again to the exercises.

Top tip: Free audio versions of some of the key meditations are also available from the author’s website.

Mindfulness advice for children

As the Dalai Lama writes in the Foreword to Mindfulness advice for children, “Education on values like kindness and compassion needs to begin from childhood, as these are qualities that can be nourished.”

Created by Eva Cirnu and Dominik Czartoryski, this beautifully-illustrated, large-print book is a great way to introduce children to the concepts of tolerance and kindness. Each double-page spread features a quote from HH the Dalai Lama and a colourful illustration. A useful tool for parents, carers and teachers – and fun for children!

Have a look at some sample pages from the book and read more reviews at

Considering an eight-week mindfulness course?

You can get a good feel for what’s involved before you start by reading Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world and following the guided meditations on the CD that comes with it.

Authors Mark Williams and Danny Penman will give you an excellent overview of mindfulness, including the exercises you’re likely to encounter on an eight-week course.

Top tip: You could also come along to one of our FREE mindfulness introductory sessions to find out about our eight-week courses—there’s one on in Edinburgh on 14th January 2020.

Enjoy your reading and your mindfulness practice over Christmas and the New Year! With all good wishes from the team at The Moment is Now.

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