5 Essential Books for Yogis

Updated: Jul 4, 2018

Reading to inspire your life & practice

There will come a time in your yoga journey when you want to dive deeper into the practice, to get a more in-depth understanding of the postures as well as the other practices of the 8 limb yoga path. A good yoga book has the power to shift your perspective, inspire, and alter your life both on and off the mat. Through my years practicing, I've read many books, the following have been the most inspiring to my relationships, life and personal practice.

Living Your Yoga

By Judith Lasater

As a constant student of self-study, I find myself reaching for this book again and again. Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater bridges the gap between the physical practice and inner transformation of yoga. Through everyday scenarios, as well as her own personal experiences as a teacher, mother, student and business owner, Lasater demonstrates how yoga applies to our daily lives. While the book offers suggestions for off-the-mat practice, the profound takeaway for me has been the ability to notice and reshape my thoughts, feelings and reactions to the world around me. We may not be able to control the world around us but we can learn to react with kindness and restraint.

Get it HERE

How Yoga Works

By C. S. McNally and Michael Roach

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali incorporates the discipline principles of the mind, physical practice, and the introspections and manifestations created by a commitment to the yoga practice as a whole. It's a lot to absorb in such a small book, made even more difficult because the original text was written in sanskrit. How Yoga Works is a fictional story that makes the complex writings of the Sutras more comprehensible. The story is about a young girl named Friday who is arrested in 1101 A.D. as she crosses the border of Tibet and India with a copy of the Sutras. During her imprisonment, Friday shares with her capture, The Captain, the teachings of Patanjali to help heal his mind and his body. The Captain faces many challenges, as many of us do along our yoga journey, but ultimately finds a deeper understanding of the teachings and himself. The book weaves many lessons throughout it's pages, with perhaps the most profound being that nothing has meaning beyond what we create in our own minds.

Get it HERE

The Universe Has Your Back

By Gabrielle Bernstein

The most recent addition to my collection, this book, although not about yoga in the obvious sense, has already had such an amazing impact on my life. The Universe Has Your Back teaches us to relinquish control so we can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. Each story and lesson guides readers through methods of removing the blocks that keep us from experiencing the things we long for most. Change your perspective and when the sadness of the world seems overwhelming this book delivers the tools to take back your sense of power and strength.

Get it HERE

The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation

By Stephen Mitchell

A classic yoga text, the sixth book of the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita teaches us to live with the challenges of making choices even when we are presented with unsatisfying options. The teachings are delivered through the tale of Arjuna, a prince who struggles with his duty to fight on the battlefield when he can't come to terms with the prospect of harming his friends and family. Arjuna's path becomes clear when Lord Krishna offers enlightenment. The classic tale of good and evil in this Bhagavad Gita translation will inspire you to be your best self and a more ethical and kind person. There are many translations of the text. This is the one I've enjoyed the most so far.

Get it HERE

Light on Yoga

By B.K.S. Iyengar

This is one of the first yoga books I ever purchased and it's shed so much light on my practice :-) The yoga "bible" as it's often referred, Light on Yoga provides complete and detailed descriptions of 600 yoga postures. But it's so much more than just a practice manual. It also includes yogic philosophy, breathing techniques and information on how the practice effects the internal body. This is an excellent addition to any yogi interested in a more traditional approach to modern yoga.

Get it HERE

This is hardly an exhaustive list of yoga literature. There are thousands of books, from traditional texts to the new approaches. There are books based around spiritual yoga, those with a focus on asana (postures), others who teach pranayama (breathing), some about dhyana (meditation), and more.

Do you have a favorite yoga book? Share it in the comments below. Happy reading friends.

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