A dedicated and passionate yoga teacher is always in search of more and more knowledge about the yogic practice. While it is common that most of the yoga teachers neglect the yoga scriptures and books they once studied during their early yogic training, it is always beneficial to re-read the stuff you once studied. The scriptures, books, study materials you once read, or studied may be as an introduction to yoga, during your yoga teachers’ training course, or for any other purpose, the quest for the yoga insights and knowledge must always be alive!
There is always a possibility that you will find something exciting, enlightening, and more insightful every time you read, even though the source of knowledge remains the same. The very same book you read during the beginning of your yoga journey can relate you to another level of spiritual wisdom during the later stage of your yoga journey. This is mainly due to the fact that your level of understanding increases as you progress in your journey, as you gain more and more experience and expertise. So, it is always advisable to keep updating with the new techniques and research work in yoga through new yoga books but at the same time, one must have a bookshelf containing some classic yoga books to keep revising.
Do yoga teachers need to read books?
Yoga is an art to perform. Mere pitching about it is not going to make any difference without actual practice. Then why yoga teachers need to read books? And why do people write books on yoga? The answer is simple – to achieve the knowledge, to share the experience. Yoga is an ancient practice rooted back to time immemorial. Almost every ancient scripture from any country mentions some form of yogic kriyas, meditation, and tantric practices. This knowledge can be passed more precisely and accurately only through the form of some written material without missing any information. So, the basic reason for yoga books is the very common motive of the existence of any other kind of book – to make knowledge available to anyone.
The other reason can be stated as – a platform to share unique experiences, different insights that may vary from person to person. Every person has a unique experience when they perform yoga. Every individual has different perceptions about their mindfulness of meditation. Every yogi attains different insights and wisdom through their independent yogic journey. Their experiences shared through a book can become a motivational, divine force for someone to start their yoga journey or a guiding hand on how to proceed further on the path to enlightenment.
What are the best yoga books to read?
There are so many books available on yoga making you wonder which one you must read. But there are some books that are worth reading again and again. Here we have recommended some books that stick in your mind even after you finish all the pages. Every time you get on the mat it gives you a new outlook. Every cycle of reading these books has the power to bring a pivotal difference in your life.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika – By Muktibodhananda Swamy
This is the book to give you the full picture of what Hatha yoga really is, although you have to put it into a historical perspective. Anybody that wants a deeper understanding of yoga should read this book first. This gives a view of where yoga has come from. The book to be very clear and concise, especially the line drawings and diagrams that illustrate the Yoga positions with accompanying informative text.
Anandyog – By Shrikrishna Vasudev Vyavahare
Published in 1991, by Ghantali Mitra Mandal. The author Shrikrishna Vyavahare also known as Swami Satyakarmanand has been felicitated as “Yogacharya”. He has been accoladed with more than fifty awards and has presented many research papers in the national and international Yoga conferences. Out of which ten papers got a first or second-ranking. The book explains yoga in a very simple way. And is available in three languages – English, Marathi, and Gujarati.
Another notable work of Sami Satyakarmanand includes Yoga for health, healing, and harmony. In this book with his deep insight and Dr. Usha Natu devised S-E-M-H-P-O axis which is the outcome of their long-standing experiences in the field of yoga and medicine respectively. The axis is a beautiful combination of anatomy, physiology, psychology, science, and spirituality the details of which are given with the relevant charts, attractive photos, and informative appendices.
Pranayam Darshan – By Yogacharya Shrikrishna Vyavahare
Pranayam: the most sought after technique of yoga, is explained intricately by the author in the book Pranayam Darshan. The different traditions, techniques, and benefits of each has been explained beautifully. He has also simplified the techniques of pranayama and thereby made pranayama relevant in today’s times.
Mahilansathi Ananddayi Yog – By Sadashiv Nimbalkar
Padma Shri Sadashiv Nimabalkar is an Indian academic, author, Yoga guru, and the founder of Yoga Vidya Niketan, a Mumbai-based Yoga institute, promoting the practice of Yoga. A former physical education instructor and a vice-principal of a junior college, Nimbalkar practiced Yoga under a renowned teacher, Swami Kuvalayananada, one of the pioneers of Yoga research and the founder of Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute. The book depicts the useful asanas especially benefiting the women and treating their health concerns.
Light On Yoga – By B.K.S. Iyengar
One of the best creations from the world’s most respected and renowned yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar, who devoted his whole life to the practice and study of yoga. The book was first published in 1966 in English by George Allen And Unwin with revised editions in 1968 and 1976. The book is an international best-seller and has been translated into at least 23 languages. It is mainly based on the Iyengar style of modern yoga. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com
Bringing Yoga To Life – By Donna Farhi
First published in 2003, it is written by the internationally renowned and best-selling author Donna Farhi. The author moves your daily yoga practice beyond the yoga mat to the philosophical upliftment of your life. Emphasizing the principals of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the author shows the yoga’s transforming power as a life practice, going far beyond its common limitation to mere exercise routine or stress management technique. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com
The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita – By Swami Satchidanand Sarswati
Published in 1988, by Satchinand Sarswati, one of the most revered yoga masters of our time. The book gives spiritual insights abiding internal peace. A great book for anyone or a yoga practitioner who is trying to find his/her purpose and place in the universe. All the shlokas explained well in English with really great examples. This book has the power of changing the thinking of one’s mind. Buy it on Amazon.com
The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali – By Swami Satchidanand
Published in 1978, The book is a commentary on the practice of Raja Yoga, a path of concentration and meditation. It is a treasure to read again and again by the spiritual seekers. The 4000 years old classic sutras by Patanjali are covered by giving yogic teachings on ethics, physical postures, and meditation, guiding how to deal with situations in daily life. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com
Light On Life – By B.K.S. Iyengar
Another masterpiece from the world’s most venerated yoga teacher. Published recently in 2005, it shows how to see life through the yogic prism. It brings readers to the new understanding of the yogic journey, with the depth of Iyengar’s great wisdom, his spiritual genius, a companion to his Light On Yoga. The clear and authentic voice in which he speaks can only arise from someone who has understood yoga not as a scholar alone but as a practitioner. Buy it on Amazon.com
The Yamas And Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice – By Deborah Adele
Published recently in 2009, The book focuses on being good to ourselves and others as well as being present in the moment through 5 Yamas (non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-excess, and non-possessiveness) and 5 Niyamas (purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender). The concepts are easy to understand and the ideas are highly inspiring. They are personally challenging in a great way. Buy it on Amazon.com
Autobiography Of A Yogi – By Paramahansa Yogananda
It is an autobiography of Paramahansa Yogananda first published in 1946 by Philosophical Library. It scientifically explains the kriya yoga. One totally gets lost when reading about the life events of Yoganandaji. We come to the depth of Indian philosophy & scripture. It leaves a deep influence on your mind. Total awakening of yourself. You will remain awestruck by knowing what Yoga can do. If you want to change your life you should definitely read it. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com
There are plenty of other books that are worth any yoga teacher’s collection such as Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff, Hath Yoga Pradipika a Sanskrit manual, Yoga And The Quest For True Self by Stephen Cope and many more. One must keep reading these books to explore more about the divine, and peaceful yogic world.