The Ultimate Wellness Reading List: 11 Books You Won't Be Able to Put Down
Claire Fountain—celebrity yoga teacher, personal trainer, and wellness expert—founded #TrillYoga with her unorthodox approach to break stigmas and stereotypes in the yoga and wellness space. After getting into yoga for depression and anxiety, she has always been a mental health advocate beyond all her fitness endeavors. She also has an e-book series called Built and Bendy that promotes strength training and flexibility, mindfulness, and leading your health goals from a positive place.
I might read too much, but when is reading a bad thing? I’m often asked for book recommendations, and even though I have book lists on my blog, I wanted to bless THE/THIRTY with some of my favorites. There are so many books that are worthwhile and wonderful, but this short list is a sample of books that have touched my life along the way.
You might think a wellness book list will include things about dieting, working out, and “clean” eating. In my own life, as well as what I see with my clients, so much of wellness is not just the familiar topics. Your relationships, your spirituality, and your mindset are just as important. The same goes for sleep and self-care practices, which are necessary for true wellness. Amazing things can happen when our thoughts align and our actions follow.
Look over these topics and titles, and see if anything speaks to you.
If you want to attract or lead a more purposeful life
I read and listened to this as an audio book probably 40 times, and I can quote most of it. It was recommended by a therapist, and I remember the first time she said “intention” to me. It’s over a decade later, and I’m still trying to live by that principle. “With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”
If you're intrigued by yoga but don't know where to begin
Marlynn Wei, MD, JD, and James E. Groves, MD The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga ($14)
This yoga guide covers eight weeks of workouts and offers a structure for the beginner who wants to learn about yoga in a thorough way. It also includes meditations, mudras, and plenty of knowledge. I’m a big fan of the four to five full pages of why yoga is beneficial, complete with data.
If you want a detailed glossary of every yoga pose
This is a reference I use when I need to remember all the components of a specific pose, and it’s great for those who aren’t quite sure what’s going on after a class. Broken down by asana, there is also a back section with poses for certain conditions or issues. It’s helpful when you want to know what might help migraines or back pain.
If a J.Lo-worthy butt and strong curves are your goal
Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis Strong Curves ($20)
This book was penned by Bret Contreras, aka the Glute Guy. I not only look up to his methods, but I know firsthand how great his programs can be. This book not only has strength training, but it also has plenty of information. An important disclaimer: As with any workout book, please read it. Looking at the pictures is great, but reading it will help you be a better lifter, and it will keep you safe.
If you're trying to become the best version of yourself
Matthew Kelly The Rhythm of Life ($17)
This is a good starting place for someone asking: How can I live a more sound and authentic life that connects me to my purpose, makes me feel empowered, and shows me how that is structured? The view offered here is helpful. “A life lived reflectively is a life lived effectively. Slow down, and find the rhythm of life.”
If you struggle with the idea of being "too much"
Anne Helen Petersen Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud ($17)
This book profiles women who are deemed “unruly,” and yet as a woman, I identified with many of the situations and perceptions in this book. It’s refreshing to hear about how women in the public eye navigate the many things we are told to be and told not to be by a society that doesn’t always champion us as we are.
If you want to make smart and conscious food choices but feel totally overwhelmed
Marion Nestle What to Eat ($11)
A favorite from my food days, it’s a great guide to help you make healthy and informed food choices. Yes, every day there is something else coming out about what to eat and what not to eat, but educating yourself about the food industry and food as a whole is a great place to start.
If you're thinking about love
David Richo How to Be an Adult in Love ($12)
This is a grounding and incredible read about love. It’s especially useful if you’re already on the path of universal love, self-love, and the other facets of love, but you need more guidance and reassurance about it. It solidifies my live out of love, not fear approach. Making decisions out of love and not fear continues to make life better, fuller, richer, and more beautiful every day. In David Richo’s words, “When we don’t love ourselves, it is not because we are unlovable but because we were repeatedly taught not to.”
Erich Fromm The Art of Loving ($8)
A classic psychology-type book on love and where you can learn how to achieve a fulfilling life by developing your capacity to love. It’s key for self-improvement through the scope of understanding love and your relationship with it.
If you need some motivation but you're a self-help skeptic
Oliver Burkeman The Antidote ($12)
I’m of the belief that you can get self-help exhaustion, and at some point, the things we are doing to try to be “happy” are the things making us miserable. This witty and refreshing book encourages you to live and let live but still presents a route to elusive “happiness.” (Spoiler: It’s more about acceptance and a stoic mentality, but read to learn more.)
If you struggle to open up
Brené Brown, PhD, LNSW Daring Greatly ($9)
You might have seen her TED talks by now, but Brené Brown and her thoughts on vulnerability make for a relatable book that’s an accessible start for those getting into work on the self. “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
Next up: Check out seven wellness podcasts we’re loving right now.