I love to read. Lately, I love to write as well. I love the power and creativity of language and words. I love books, paper, journals and pens. I’m yet to purchase a kindle but I think an audio book done well could be good listen!
I’m often asked to recommend Yoga-flavoured books to students staring on their journey toward teacher training and sometimes asked by students where I’ve learned what I share in my classes and retreats, or where they can find out a little more about something that’s piqued their interest when they’ve heard about it in class.
In fact I’ve been asked so many times that I’ve come up with a list, that I’ve emailed around to a few of the students that I’ve mentored so they can begin their own yoga libraries. I love my reference collection and refuse to loan my books!
So here’s a rather long list of books I love and recommend to anyone exploring a the journey of yoga, keen to deepen their self knowledge or just to learn a little bit more about the many different ways of viewing and interpreting the world.
One one caveat to devouring text after text is that Yoga is experiential in nature, it is the art of living, experiencing, learning and reflecting. So dive in and enjoy, but remember that the journey unfolds, off the page… and off your mat as well!
Most basic 200 hour yoga teacher trainings would include required reading of the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s yoga sutras. There are thousands of versions that you could choose from but these are some I’ve used and regularly recommend to my students.
For the old Indian texts (Gita and Sutras) you can either get straight translations or translations plus an author’s interpretation of the meaning of the ancient text.
These are two interpretation versions of the Yoga Sutras:
- BKS Iyengar – Light on the Yoga Sutras and
- Sri Swami Satchidananda – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
There are lots of versions of the Bhagavad Gita but I’ve got:
- Steven Mitchell – The Bhagavad Gita
- Sri Swami Satchidananda – The Bhagavad Gita
Physical anatomy from a yogic perspective:
- Leslie Kaminoff – Yoga Anatomy
- This isn’t a book but I think Paul Grilley’s – Anatomy of Yoga video is a must-watch!
Along with the physical body we also have an energetic anatomy in Yoga. These are a couple of good explorations/comparative studies of how one version of the Chakra system ‘works’:
- Caroline Myss – Anatomy of the Spirit and
- Anodea Judith – Wheels of Life and Eastern Body, Western Mind
Yoga also has a ‘sister science’ called Ayurveda that, similar to Chinese Medicine, offers a framework for managing health. A good introductory explanation of Ayurveda is:
Robert Svoboda – Prakriti: your Ayurveda Constitution
Below are lots of options that explore specific practices, yoga history, philosophy and the endless possibilities available when we begin looking at the body, mind and spirit:
- TKV Desikachar – Health, Healing and Beyond and The Heart of Yoga
- Bernie Clark – Yin Yoga
- Pramahasa Yogananda – Autobiography of a Yogi
- BKS Iyengar – Light on Life, Tree of Yoga, Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama
- Michael Roach – How Yoga Works
- Georg Fuerstein – Tantra, the path of ecstasy
- Ana Forrest – Fierce Medicine
- Peter Levine – Healing Trauma
- Judith Hansen Lasseter– Restorative Yoga
- Bernie Clark– Yin Yoga
- Liz Koch – Psoas, muscle of the soul
Have fun with this and don’t be overwhelmed – the right information will speak to you or fall into your lap at the right time, when you’re ready to hear or integrate its wisdom!