Whether you’re new to yoga, or have been practising for years, these yoga books are essential reads for anyone with an interest in the subject. Covering anatomy, philosophy and history, these books will deepen your understanding and give you an even greater appreciation for this ancient practice.
Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika
by B.K.S. Iyengar
The definitive guide to the philosophy and practice of Yoga–the ancient healing discipline for body and mind–by its greatest living teacher.
Light on Yoga provides complete descriptions and illustrations of all the positions and breathing exercises.
The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice
The first two limbs of the eight-fold path of yoga sutras—the basic text for classical yoga—are examined in this spiritual guide to the practice of yoga. Foundational to all yogic thought, they are considered to be the guidelines to the yoga way of living that free individuals to take ownership of their lives, direct them toward the fulfillment they seek, and gain the skills to choose attitude, thought, and action.
The first five guidelines are referred to as the yamas—a Sanskrit word that translates to “restraints”—and encompass nonviolence, truthfulness, not stealing, nonexcess, and nonpossessiveness. The last five are referred to as the niyamas, or observances—purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender.
The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice
by T.K.V. Desikachar
In The Heart of Yoga Desikachar offers a distillation of his father’s system as well as his own practical approach, which he describes as “a program for the spine at every level–physical, mental, and spiritual.” This is the first yoga text to outline a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to the age-old principles of yoga.
Desikachar discusses all the elements of yoga–poses and counterposes, conscious breathing, meditation, and philosophy–and shows how the yoga student may develop a practice tailored to his or her current state of health, age, occupation, and lifestyle.
The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living
While many Westerners still think of yoga as an invigorating series of postures and breathing exercises, these physical practices are only part of a vast and ancient spiritual science. For more than three millennia, yoga sages systematically explored the essential questions of our human existence:
What are the root causes of suffering, and how can we achieve freedom and happiness? What would it be like to function at the maximum potential of our minds, bodies, and spirits? What is an optimal human life?
by Pema Chodron
This book is about saying yes to life in all its manifestations—embracing the potent mixture of joy, suffering, brilliance, and confusion that characterizes the human experience.
Pema Chödrön shows us the profound value of our situation of “no escape” from the ups and downs of life.
Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing
by Timothy McCall
Beginning with an overview of the history and science of yoga, Dr. McCall describes the many different techniques in the yoga tool kit; explains what yoga does and who can benefit from it (virtually everyone!); and provides lavishly illustrated and minutely detailed instructions on starting a yoga practice geared to your fitness level and your health status.
An indispensable guide for the millions who now practice yoga or would like to begin, as well as for yoga teachers, body workers, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Prince Arjuna asks direct, uncompromising questions of his spiritual guide on the eve of a great battle.
In this best-selling and expanded edition of the most famous –and popular — of Indian scriptures, Eknath Easwaran contextualizes the book culturally and historically and explains the key concepts of Hindu religious thought and the technical vocabulary of yoga.
by Stephen Cope
Stephen Cope, a Western-trained psychotherapist who has lived and taught for more than ten years at the largest yoga center in America, offers this marvelously lively and irreverent “pilgrim’s progress” for today’s world. He demystifies the philosophy, psychology, and practice of yoga, and shows how it applies to our most human dilemmas: from loss, disappointment, and addiction, to the eternal conflicts around sex and relationship.
He shows us that in yoga, “liberation” does not require us to leave our everyday lives for some transcendent spiritual plane—life itself is the path.
by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews
From breathing to inversions to standing poses, see how specific muscles respond to the movements of the joints; how alterations of a pose can enhance or reduce effectiveness; and how the spine, breathing, and body position are all fundamentally linked.
Whether you are just beginning your journey or have been practicing yoga for years, Yoga Anatomy will be an invaluable resource—one that allows you to see each movement in an entirely new light.
Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life
by Judith Hanson Lasater Ph.D.
If you think that you have to retreat to a cave in the Himalayas to find the enlightenment that yoga promises, think again. In this second edition of Living Your Yoga, Judith Hanson Lasater stretches the meaning of yoga beyond its familiar poses and breathing techniques to include the events of daily life—all of them—as ways to practice.
Using the time-honored wisdom of the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita to steer the course, she serves up off-the-mat practices to guide you in deepening your relationships with yourself, your family and friends, and the world around you.