As you might imagine, I have shelves filled with yoga books. I’ve noticed that with many of them, I’ve dipped in and out over the years depending on what topics are calling me, vs. reading cover to cover. I’ve also noticed that I’m much more interested in asana technique and the holistic health care component vs. philosophy. But it’s all good, and I feel that I’ve got a lifetime to explore all sides of yoga. Different things speak to us at different times. For some reason I find it comforting that you’re never “finished” with your study of yoga, like you might be with a degree. I like the concept of a lifetime of learning being available. Like yoga’s always there for me.
So all that said, I’ve narrowed it down to my top 3 fave yoga books:
If I could only choose one yoga book, I would have to go with Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul. Jivamukti was my first yoga love; it’s the style I practiced when I first discovered yoga in NYC. The best thing about this style is that it incorporates everything: history and philosophy, asana, chanting, pranayama, cool music. Every class is a well-rounded experience. The book is a thorough overview of the many aspects of yoga without being overwhelming or hard to understand. Unlike with many of the more esoteric yoga volumes on bookstore shelves, you won’t be sitting there saying ‘huh?’. I’ve read it more than once and refer to it all the time if I have a burning yoga question.
Number 2 is another Jivamukti book. It is a picture book called The Art of Yoga, filled with stunning photographs of Jiva founders Sharon Gannon and David Life demonstrating (mostly) advanced asanas. The photographs are accompanied by wonderful quotes. The combination is super inspiring, and I peruse this book often to breathe new life into my own practice, and refresh my dedication to the process of unfolding both body and mind. And yeah, on a less serious level it’s also fun to ooooo and ahhhh and say, I wish I could do that.
The other side of my yoga roots can be found in the Ashtanga practice, and one of my very first yoga books ever was David Swenson‘s Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual. Even if you are fortunate to have a good Ashtanga teacher, this book is indispensable for learning the Primary Series (Second Series too), the modifications, and breaking it all down in a practical way. I was lucky enough to take David’s teacher training; that experience plus having this book be there for me from the beginning of my yoga practice makes it one of my all-time favorites.
If you have a fave yoga book you would like to share, please post a comment. I would especially like to hear suggestions for non-dense, accessible yoga philosophy books that don’t lose me after the first few pages. Namaste.