reaching a new peak, yoga education is now available in all forms and sizes and at all places. all we need is an eye to look and willingness to learn. apart from classrooms experiences in ashrams and yoga schools, wisdom of yoga can be accessed in the print form like yoga books easily. yogis & adepts with years of experience, pour their heart out in these books, which becomes a window to the true form of yogic learning, their journey and also a pathway for the readers.
in my yogic journey, i have read many books, attended many master classes, personal sessions with different gurus in yoga and stayed in ashrams. and on the basis of my understanding, i am mentioning here some books that can be used by yogis as a guide map.
top 10 yoga books for budding yogis
1. light on yoga by b.k.s. iyenger
a well structured book, light of yoga is like a bible for many. written by the great light of yoga himself, b.k.s. iyenger, student of the great sage krishnamacharya, the books details out yoga poses with perfect alignment and adjustment techniques. the illustrations with props and other material can lead to a great transformation in the yoga journey of the reader. it is best for the budding teachers who are looking for greater emphasis in adjustment & alignment for their students.
2. asana pranayama mudra bandha by swami satyananda saraswati
a complete guidebook for beginner yogis on hatha yoga, this one of the top yoga books is divided into different parts, talking about yoga postures moving to pranayama, chakras, different forms of breathing procedures and detoxification techniques as well. printed first in 1969 by bihar school of yoga, the book is recognized internationally and has been reprinted 13 times and also published in various languages to help people all over the world.
3. yoga mala by shri k. pattabhi jois
a textbook by the father of ashtanga yoga on ashtanga yoga, yoga mala takes the reader through the sun salutation a & b and all the remaining 42 poses of the primary series. with a detailed beginning on ashtanga’s concepts, the postures are explained with illustrations of pattabhi jois himself as he guides the readers into how to engage gaze, breath and locks along with describing the benefits of each pose. another top yoga book especially on ashtanga yoga, it can be held responsible for the advent of the art of the craft in the west and will always be a central book for both teachers and students
4. yoga anatomy by leslie kaminoff
a much talked about yoga book on human anatomy in the yoga fraternity, it is said that if you wish to master what is happening under your skin during yoga poses, approach kaminoff’s book. a clear guide with colorful illustrations of different muscles, bones, tendons etc., this book details out the breathing as well in every pose. also, it outlines ways to stay protected during the poses and when & how to opt for props.
5. yog nidra by swami satyananda saraswati
a beginner’s guide to yog nidra, this top yoga book has been written in simple words that catch your attention in no time. it talks about swami satyananda’s experiences as well as teachings on the path of meditation (pratyahara). the entire procedure of yog nidra, both a short and long meditation has been explained in the book. different symbols and methods to go deeper into the practice is stated & is really helpful to both yogi and yoga teacher.
6. yoga sutras of patanjali by swami satchidananda
the building block of yoga, yog sutras are the reason for yoga philosophy and wisdom to be available to us. the 4,000 years old, 196 sutras details on all the yoga ethics, ways to control the senses, meditation & the poses. the book contains insights of swami satchidananda journey through yoga and how he mastered the art form over the period of time. also, sanskrit texts with translations are used in the books, which were originally mentioned in the sutras.
7. hatha yoga pradipika by muktibodhananda saraswati
hatha yoga is the most traditional and purest form of yoga left and all the other forms have originated from it. hatha yoga pradipika strengthens this point further and talks about how hatha yoga leads to a holistic transformation of not just the outer body, but even the smallest level of our existence. this books is used as a textbook in yoga school and is considered a must read if you wish to progress to a higher level in yoga.
8. anatomy of hatha yoga by herbert david coulter
another really valuable addition to the yoga literature is david coutler’s book, anatomy of hatha yoga. he was swami rama’s disciple and under his guidance & command, he wrote this book, which was revised time & again by him under swami rama’s guidance. the book is an insight into all parts of the body, all systems and what pose should be done when & how to reap maximum benefit. it also talks about the digestive system, the lung capacity, the breathing procedure, chakras and all that there is to the physical body. i would recommend all of those who are treading the path of yoga, to read it & learn from it.
9. prakriti: your ayurvedic constitution, dr. robert svoboda’s
yet another spell bounding book on ayurveda, prakriti clears all the concepts when it comes to ayurveda. detailed descriptions of body types, ayurvedic principles, different tastes, gunas and doshas have been talked about in the book. also dr. svoboda’s personal experience comes to fore with different chapters, only to add to the entire learning process. just as the name suggests, prakriti our true nature, the books opens up insights into true human ways. it can be used not only by yogis, but also by those who wish to lead a healthy & a balanced life.
10. the heart of yoga: developing a personal practice by t.k.v. desikachara
written by the great sage krishnamacharya’s son, desikachara, the yoga book lives up to its name. it truly reflects on the art of yoga profoundly. divided into four parts: the practice of yoga, the understanding of yoga, the yoga sutras of patanjali with commentary by deskiachar, yoganjalisaram with writings by krishnamacharya, each part concludes with the author’s interview on information provided in the preceding text. with so much at hand and also illustrations from father & son duo, makes it an interesting read. also, it is referred to as a guide to practicing yoga at home and the book talks about how one can cultivate the self-practice & be independent.
i recommend these yoga books to all yogis who are aiming at making yoga as their religion. also, it is best that the reader chooses one yoga book at a time that works in their best interest for the time being and gradually progress further, after reflecting upon & integrating the learning received from previous books.