At our last yoga teacher training session, each trainee shared a brief review of a book we’d read. Here for your reading pleasure, then, is a yoga book recommendation list! (Please note, I haven’t yet read any of these books myself – my notes and descriptions are based on my colleagues’ reviews.)
The End of Sorrow: The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living, Volume 1, by Eknath Easwaran: This version of the Bhagavad Gita includes Eknath Easwaran’s commentary on each verse. My friend found it to be very relatable.
The Bhagavad Gita with commentary by Mahatma Gandhi: Gandhi loved the Gita and strove to live his life according to its principles. The commentary collected here is very detailed, intellectual, and comprehensive, but written such that it’s understandable for ordinary people too. (My friend noted that her edition was published in India and didn’t seem to have been edited or even glanced at by a native speaker of standard English, but once she got past the typos she couldn’t stop reading.)
The Ramayana: The ancient epic poem of Rama, a story of love, duty, and dharma, was another of Gandhi’s favorites, and was recommended by one of my teachers.
The Pure Heart of Yoga, by Robert Butera: A good overall look at yoga. Topics covered include the eight limbs of yoga, a nice summary of the chakras, and some interesting discussion of yoga psychology complete with case studies.
Job’s Body, by Deane Juhan: This is a bodywork text required by many schools for massage therapy, acupuncture, etc., but the detailed anatomy is also useful from a yogic perspective. My friend was really impressed with this book.
Yoga Bitch, by Suzanne Morrison: A cute and funny memoir about a woman who undertakes a yoga retreat that wasn’t what she was expecting.
Be Young with Yoga, by Richard Hittleman: My friend chose this book to read simply because it had been sitting on her family’s bookshelf for as long as she could remember. Originally published in 1962, Hittleman was ahead of his time in promoting the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga in the US. He wrote many books, and it looks as though some of these are still being reprinted today.
Goddess to the Core, by Sierra Bender: This book explores spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical aspects of the body, particularly in relation to healing. It includes yoga asanas and pranayama breathing but discusses many other tools as well. My friend described this book as intense, deep, and woman-centric.
Living Your Yoga, by Judith Lasater: The goal of this book is to help people live yogically 24/7, in touch with the benefits of yoga not just on the mat but in every moment of life. The book includes practical strategies for keeping up the drive and discipline to practice yoga day to day.
Happiness is Your Creation, by Swami Rama: Two of my classmates happened to read this book, and it’s highly recommended by one of my teachers as well. Swami Rama (also author of The Royal Path) discusses the yamas, niyamas, and meditation here as well. This book teaches that happiness shouldn’t depend on successes or failures but is real and vibrant within each of us. (My friends talked about this book so effusively and enthusiastically that their sheer joy in it almost made me skeptical that it could be that good – as if they’d been drinking the Swami Rama Kool-Aid – especially since I was not all that hot about The Royal Path. However, each person gave several real examples of how the book had helped her in her life, which convinced me enough that I think reading it will be worthwhile.)
God Makes the Rivers to Flow, by Eknath Easwaran: This is an anthology of sacred poetry and prose from around the world. Inspirational in itself, this is also a great book to have on-hand if you’re looking for a meaningful passage to use in meditation.
Inner Quest, by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait: Another one highly recommended by my teacher N.
If you still want more book recommendations, check out this amazon list compiled by the teacher of my friend Rambling Yogini! Some great and completely different selections there! (Personally, I really want to look up The Hindus: An Alternative History, and Donna Farhi’s book on Teaching Yoga has been on my list for a while now.)