It sounds like you want to curl up on your yoga mat with a book. Is that true? If so, you’re not alone.
It seems like every week, a new study is released that says yoga is good for your body, mind, and/or spirit. There are more than 20 million people who do yoga in the US right now. In 2015, the UN made June 21, 2015, the first International Day of Yoga. It was a big deal for yogis all over the world because they were excited. Along with the rise in yoga, there has been a rise in yoga-themed books. They will help you start your yoga journey and keep you going after you’ve done it.
Autobiography of a Yogi By Paramahansa Yogananda
This book, which changed people’s lives, was first published in 1994. It is every yogi’s spiritual guide. There is a magical journey through Yogananda’s life in the book. He was born in India and moved to America in the 1920s. He later started a spiritual group that has its headquarters in Los Angeles. He writes with charm and innocence about the miracles that happen when you open your heart to trust, like when a butterfly flies.
Inside the Yoga Sutras By Reverend Jaganeth Carrera
195 threads or aphorisms, called sutras, are in the seminal yoga text, The Yoga Sutras. They help people find inner peace and santosha (contentment) without hurting anyone else. There are many different editions of the text (ahimsa). This version has a lot of detailed commentary that helps beginners and even more experienced yogis understand difficult ideas.
It’s said that Patanjali, the original author of the sutras, first came to life an unknown number of years ago as a small lizard in the hands of his mother, Gonika, as she prayed for a child.
Light on Life By B.K.S. Iyengar
This book by a well-known yoga teacher is a classic. It walks people through the basics of yoga and includes photos and detailed asana instructions. Iyengar, who died in 2014 at the age of 95, taught a type of yoga that can be done by people of all ages. This type of yoga is called “Iyengar Yoga.” He was also the person to go to for the things that make yoga even more fun. A yogi should have a copy of each of Iyengar’s books, which he wrote many of.
The Bhagavad-Gita: A New Translation By Stephen Mitchell
During this spiritual book, the story of Prince Arjuna is told. He is trying to figure out what he wants in life. He learned this from Krishna, who talked to Arjuna on the eve of an important battle that he didn’t want to fight. To find out who you are, follow your dharma, or inner calling. Stephen Mitchell has written an easy-to-read version of this ancient text.
Yoga and the Quest for the True Self By Stephen Cope
This book, written by a psychotherapist and yoga teacher, is called “an irreverent Modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress.” It shows how yoga can help people deal with the problems they face in their daily lives.
Into the Heart of Yoga By Danna Faulds
Faulds, an author and poet, wrote a personal memoir about how yoga helped her find herself. It also tells the story of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence By Matthew Sanford
One of the best memoirs I’ve read is about a young man who uses yoga to get his body, mind, and spirit back after an accident that kills his father and sister and leaves him paralyzed from the chest down. This is a story that will make you cry, laugh, and think. (Also, he’s a great yoga teacher, right?!)
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga By Deepak Chopra and David Simon
As always, Chopra has a deep understanding of all things spiritual, and he leads people to the heart of what yoga means on a very deep level. Chopra and Simon are very good at talking about yoga branches, the chakra system, and the basics of a yoga class.
The Bhagavad Gita
This is a well-known Hindu text, and there are a lot of ways to translate and interpret it. If you want to learn about the real roots of yoga, you need to read this book! They are talking to each other in the form of an epic poem. It’s between the warrior Arjuna and Krishna, who is God. The conversation is about what Arjuna needs to learn in order to change the course of the war he’s about to fight. The book is full of lessons on living well, making decisions, and what it means to live into your true cosmic form.
Light On Yoga By B.k.s. Iyengar
Iyengar lays out the postures, breath work, and mindfulness that are important in yoga. It’s very detailed, and there are a lot of pictures of the physical postures and instructions for pranayama (breath work) that help you connect your body, mind, and breath all at the same time. If you’re new to yoga, don’t be afraid to look at these pictures. Even if you’re an advanced yoga student, they’re intimidating. Iyengar himself is very flexible. When you look at the images, don’t think of them as the only thing you can do, but as a starting point. Light on Life, Light on Pranayama, and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are just a few of Iyengar’s other important books on yoga.
The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali By Sri Swami Satchidanand
This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn how to do yoga’s non-asana work. It gives advice and insight on how to control your mind. Here, the Sutras, or thought threads, are shown in both Sanskrit and English.
If you can keep your mind from changing, you’ve reached the goal of yoga. There are things you’ll learn from this book over and over again, so you’ll come back to this book over time. I think some of the ways these Sutras are talked about or explained are meant to be funny in a way that makes the lessons stick. Think the Four Keys and Four Locks changed the way I interact with other people in general.