In my own personal quest to be a better, more evolved yogi and efforts to offer more meaningful yoga training to my students, I am constantly exploring concepts and imbibing knowledge relating to yoga. I feel that delving into this chosen discipline of mine helps me grow as a person and permits me to offer more value to those that trust me to teach them. So I have decided to create a reading list of the best yoga books that will expand and grow your understanding of yoga, and to share it with you.
Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika by B. K. S. Iyengar
Arguably the man who made the biggest contribution to popularizing yoga in the West, B K S Iyengar is rightly thought of as one of the greatest authorities on yoga. This book is one of the definitive works on the subject and has a foreword written by classical musician Yehudi Menuhin. Light on Yoga provides full explanations on aasans and how to perform them along with illustrations. Described as a comprehensive guide to the aasans as well as breathing techniques, the book has been a guide and reference source for beginners.
Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by B. K. S. Iyengar
Since it is the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali that is the source of much of the yoga that we practice today, it makes sense to try and go to the root of yoga practice. Also by one of the world’s foremost authorities in yoga, Iyengar, this is the authentic self help book that helps us understand the origin of yoga. It consists of Patanjali’s hymns translated into English, yoga aasans and suggests physical goals to achieve. The book has been described as the Bible of Yoga.
The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga by Swami Vishnu Devananda
This is a bestselling classic guide to yoga; in an attractive and easy to follow format. While the book is aimed mainly at a western audience that would typically be quite unfamiliar with the practice of yoga, Indian practitioners can also benefit from the lucid style and detailed information about the correct way to perform aasans in this yoga book. The book covers not only practical aspects of yoga but also the philosophy behind it, which many readers find valuable and thought provoking.
The Bhagvad Gita
So many of our beliefs and the way that we live our life, goes back to this one collection of life lessons that Lord Krishna gave to Arjun on the battlefield. It encompasses so much of the Indian way of life that I thought this should be on the essential reading list of every yogi. I too have read snatches from this text at various times in my life, but I would like to revisit it as a whole; to understand fully the philosophy of life that it prescribes.
Prana and Pranayama by Swami S. Nirajanananda
The practice of Pranayam has become rather commercialized in recent times and has become rather simplified to become accessible to everyone. While this is good, some of the philosophy behind the proper control of the life force within all of us has been lost along the way. This book not only examines the concept of ‘prannn’ but also respiratory physiology and yogic concepts such as chakras, koshas, nadis and mantras.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika: Classic Guide for the Advanced Practice of Hatha Yoga by Swami Vishnudevananda and Yogi Svatmarama
This is one of the earliest and most authoritative texts on the subject of hatha yoga and is meant to be for more advanced learners. It is meant to be studied and followed under the tutelage of an experienced yogi and is for committed, serious students of yoga looking to delve deeper into the practice and the theory of yoga.
Apart from the foregoing, if you have any ideas and recommendations for other yoga books, do share those with me as well. I would really appreciate your inputs; you can get in touch with me via my Contact Page.