With so many options out there, it’s tough to know which books on yoga are genuine in their attempt to move beyond simple explanations of asanas (poses) while still remaining true to the spiritual roots of authentic yoga.
The majority of these yoga picks (four out of five) came highly recommended to me by my guru in India.
I hope you love them as much as I do!
Raja Yoga- Swami Vivekananda, 2014
This book is one of the definitive works on the subjects of Raja, Ashtanga and Kundalini Yoga.
The book can really be broken into two parts. The first part of the book is comprised of several lectures delivered over 50 years ago by Swami Vivekananda to his classes and the second part is a "free translation" of the Aphorisms of Patanjali. A great book to read to gain some insight into the yoga sutras before picking up Patanjali. A must-read for any serious practitioner of the more spiritual aspects of yoga.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Swami Muktibodhananda, 1998
This book offers a direct line back to a rich history of Hatha unscathed by "new age" ideas. A must for yoga practitioners who want to move beyond simple asanas and delve deeper into the roots of authentic yoga. This is a wonderful guide to hatha yoga's foundation as a holistic system as it focuses on classical postures, breath control and purification techniques.
Bhagavad Gita, Translated by Easwaran, Eknath, 2007
“Be fearless and pure; never waver in your determination or your dedication to the spiritual life. Give freely. Be self-controlled, sincere, truthful, loving, and full of the desire to serve… Learn to be detached and to take joy in renunciation. Do not get angry or harm any living creature, but be compassionate and gentle; show good will to all. Cultivate vigor, patience, will, purity; avoid malice and pride. Then, you will achieve your destiny.
~ Krishna from The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita is awesome.
It was one of the texts that served as inspiration to Gandhi. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend adding it to your list for 2016.
Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, 2008
If you're looking for a distillation of authentic yoga knowledge, this is a book to have by your side.
This book combines a comprehensive overview of asana; while at the same time giving clear explanations of the deeper aspects of yoga, including breathing (pranayama), body attitudes (mudra), energy locks (bandha), energy centres (chakra), and yogic cleansing (hatha yoga).
A book to read and re-read for many years to come…It is an amazingly concise and complete resource for the yoga practitioner.
The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition, Translated by Coleman Barks, 2004
Although not your typical yoga text, I had to add this to the list.
This is simply one of the most beautiful books of poetry I have ever read.
Rumi's poetry explodes in the soul with a beautiful force that pulls down the wall between the individual and the Divine…incredibly similar to the inner journey we take every time we come to our yoga mats.
His poetry resonates with a truth and wisdom so earnest that it becomes impossible not to be swept away by a flood of pure spiritual longing and fulfillment. This is a book for anyone ready to see and fall in love all over again with all that is divine in the ordinary.