Reading about Yoga

Posted by on Jun 11, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Reading about Yoga

Over the last few years, I’ve had the chance to peruse many books about yoga, some much better than others.  There are books about yoga adventures (see Eat, Pray, Love among others), yoga anatomy, yogic philosophy, texts such as the Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, asana, the history of yoga, and personal meditations on transformation.

If you are interested in reading and tuning in more deeply to the methods or philosophy behind the practice, here are some books I’d like to recommend.

1) Light on Life by BKS Iyengar– This is a great place to start if you are new to the full definition of yoga as an eight-limbed practice (asana is just one of eight arms).  Iyengar is probably the most well-known and experienced yogi out there today, and his knowledge on the subject is made accessible to the student interested in going deeper.  It’s quite an inspiring read.  His book Light on Yoga is also very good, but focuses more on the particular poses of the asana practice.

2) Yoga and Ayurveda by Dr. David Frawley– I really loved this book.  It was a great introduction to the nuances of Ayurveda and how the principles tie into yoga practice.  To students interested in alternative or Eastern medicine, this is a good place to start your journey into understand the interconnection between the philosophy of health and yoga.

3) The Subtle Body: the Story of Yoga in America by Stefanie Syman-  This book is a historical account of how yoga came to become the popular (and sometimes overly commercial) beast it is today in North America.  This is a good choice for those interested in digging for the roots of how we got here.

4) Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff- I’ve used this book many times especially when trying to work my brain around the interconnection between muscles in various poses.  It also assisted me in learning about different approaches to opening certain areas of the body and strengthening others.  There are many “aha!” moments and good insights into the body/breath connection.  This is a must-read for those working on adding a more yoga-therapy approach to their home practice.  If you have an injury or problem area, this is also good education to bring to your mat.

5) Inside the Yoga Sutras by Reverend Jaganath Carrera– This was the primary text we used during my 200 hour teacher training to introduce us to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  Here is a book that explores the Sanskrit text and translates the implicit meanings to foster a deeper understanding of the foundational philosophy behind the practice.  I’ve found meditating on particular Sutras to be revolutionary to my way of thinking, and this book is a good place for students to begin their own personal exploration.

6) Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith– This is pretty much the go-to book for those interested in reading about the chakras and how the chakras influence and are influenced by our biology and history.  Each chapter explores a chakra in detail as well as developing how it is formed, how it can become imbalanced, how a person may suffer in a particular way due to that imbalance, and ways to open and stabilize the energy.  This book is not for everyone and it can definitely read a bit “new agey” if you aren’t already familiar with chakra philosophy.  If you have an open mind and feel as if your personality (or body!) is out of balance, this book may offer you new insights.

If anyone has read other yoga related books that they’ve found to be particularly stimulating or inspiring, please share!

All content by Lisa Veronese. Please do not publish or copy my material without my consent.