Books that change our lives

I recently read two amazing books, although they are not self-help books I found they challenge me both physically and spiritually. I’ve learned about self discovery and evolving new potential on a personal level.

kill usThe first book is, What Doesn’t Kill Us by Scott Carney.  The author, an anthropologist and reporter, truly takes experimental journalism to a new level. Carney initially and skeptically investigated a Dutch mountain climber, Wim Hof for his ability to control his body with breathing techniques and by exposing himself to harsh conditions. When we subject ourselves to extreme cold, heat and meditation our bodies can evolve and survive beyond the ordinary.  He backs it up with case studies and science.

I decided to dabble in this method myself.  As a yogi, I already practice meditation and expose myself to extreme heat in hot yoga.  So I decided to add cold therapy to my routine.  Since I can’t run naked in the snow in Florida, I found a cryotherapy chamber within a ten-mile drive. I despise the cold, so I was nervous.

It’s only two minutes at minus 200° fahrenheit, I reminded myself over and over during the drive.

It was a very low-key place attached to a gym.  A single girl sitting behind a desk handed me paperwork explaining the risks and in case of death, it’s not their fault. My palms sweated.  She took me to the chamber.  It looked cold.

I glanced at the petite girl and thought, you’re running the chamber?  What if something goes wrong?  Luckily I brought my Herculean husband to rescue me in case of a malfunction.  

cryotherapy.jpgWearing only socks and gloves I entered the chamber.  It was chilly and a lift raised my head above the cold air.  Every 15 seconds she asked me to turn a quarter of a turn.

“So, how’s your day going?”  She asked.  “Any big plans.”

What you want small talk?  I answered my day plans to the best of my ability while turning and analyzing my condition.

“Right now your legs should begin to shake and your extremities will lose feeling.  This is normal and your core should be hot.”

My legs shook, I felt as if they would collapse. I was surprised by the amount of heat my stomach radiated.   I figured I could only handle another few seconds.

“And you’re done.”

She released the door and warm air immediately rushed in.  I felt my thighs, they were frozen.  My core, on fire.  I dressed and stood on a board that shook my body for a few minutes and then I was done.

For the next few days I had increased energy levels and less muscle ache.  I felt great and added cold showers followed by another cryotherapy session a month later.  I’ll continue to include cold therapy into my physical evolution, but for now onto my inner evolution.

book of joyThe Book of Joy, is a journey into the minds of two spiritual leaders, a meeting and discussion between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.  Their interaction is funny, inspirational, and for me a life altering experience to examine my own thoughts, perspectives, actions and beliefs.  It is not preachy. They simply share their stories, and they are both amazing at that alone.  But in the process I learned quite a bit by just listening without judgement. They seem like best friends from completely different cultures, but they get it and just relate to being human. Even when faced with the most difficult times, they both have compassion, respect, enjoyment, fascination, love, peace and forgiveness.  These are the people who change the world.  A must read, over and over in sometimes disconnected universe.

If I’m asked the common question,”If you had a chance to have lunch with anyone dead or alive who would it be?”  Hands down, Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama together.  What fun we’d have.


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