As yogis, we are constantly expanding our bodies as well as our minds. Constantly learning and educating ourselves as much as we can, whether by trainings, classes, or by picking up a book. The more you delve into this glorious practice physically, the more you’re going to want to want to read about it. The philosophy behind it, the anatomy; anything we can think of. From light reading, to deep down, 5 books to stretch your mind.
How Yoga Works by Michael Roach
This was the first yoga book I ever read, two months into my practice. It changed the way I looked at the world around me, and how I looked at myself. Whether you’re new or old to yoga, this book is a practical explanation on the deep practices of yoga wrapped up in an easy to read book. The storyline covers how to relate to a yoga practice, commentaries on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and how practicing yoga can transform the world around you. It combines psychology, theology, and yoga in a great way. And unlike most books, it doesn’t mention yoga with God. Completely accessible and life changing.
The Bhagavadgita in the Mahabharata by J.A.B. van Buitenen
The Gita is a book any yogi should read. The story of Arjuna and Krishna; the story of yoga. The Gita is one of the most translated books ever, most of the time the writer puts their own twists into the book. This is my favorite translation I have ever read. It is clear, reads elegantly, and gives the reader a version of the Sanskrit text on facing pages. The introductory notes are awesome as well, firmly setting the Gita within the frame and context of The Mahabharata for the reader — this is helpful to no end. There is humility and wonder in the weaving of his translation and he allows the Gita to truly shine and sing out with as little disturbance as possible in the move across into English. As much as possible while moving from one language to another, he lets the Gita sing for itself.
*This is best to be read with Poised for Grace by Douglas Brooks
Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by B.K.S Iyengar
The Sutras are short and to the point – each being only a line or two long. BKS Iyengar has translated each one, and provided his own insightful commentary and explanation for modern readers. This book broadens the Sutras and makes the more understandable to your yoga practice. Yoga and meditation are brought forth by Patanjali in his Sutras, and most modern yoga systems and teachings are based on what Patanjali wrote. As all readers who really delve into this book will find, the sutras are very dynamic, their interpretations changeable, deeper and richer as the reader matures. This is the kind of book that never has to leave your side. You will be surprised how something that you’ve read again and again all of a sudden has new meaning and gives new perspective to your life and hopes.
Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System by Anodea Smith
This book is one of the best books on chakras I have read, but honestly there are TONS out there I want to read. This one was recommended to me by my Reiki, and it was great. Each chapter is dedicated to a particular Chakra. You will learn, the Sanskrit name to each Chakra, it’s meaning, location, element, function, inner state, outer state, body parts, color, mantra sound, Hindu Deity, as well as other deities from other pantheons. Also each chapter has a meditation on that particular Chakra as well as yoga exercises to harness that particular Chakra to your favor. This book for beginners is simple and right to the point. This is a good book, full of a wealth of information.
Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution by Dr. Robert E. Svoboda
I have only recently learned about doshas and ayuervedic medicine in my teacher training last year, but it made so much sense to me when I did. I immediately bought some books, and this one was in my top three. When I first started to read this book, I could instantly relate to the descriptions of the doshas, how they express in people, including myself. This is the first book I’ve come across that spells it out so simply and therefore makes the knowledge applicable. In regards to how food relates to and affects the doshas this book again, quite simply, lays out the information. From the westerners point of view it is a little hard to fully appreciate the aspects of food (taste) and how that affects our doshas but with a little faith you can kind of see how foods do affect us. The book is a quick read, well written to keep you moving through the subjects and understandable. I recommend this book to someone who wants to learn about ayurveda.