You’ve found the path of yoga and you want to know more about the practice? Most books are about the physical practice of asana and consist out of pictures of the asanas and cues for proper alignment, as yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory. Even though I can flip through those books for hours, like Iyengar’s Light On Yoga and Asana Pranayama Mudra Bhanda, what really inspires me is to read about people’s personal yoga stories and the philosophy behind the practice.
The books on this list really kickstarted my yoga journey because they either
inspired me to step on my mat
blew my mind about what yoga is really about
or taught me something profound.
The Adiyogini’s essential book list:
- 7 spiritual laws of yoga by Deepak Chopra
- Yoga mala by Pattahbi jois
- The only way out is in – Prem carlisi
- Meditations from the mat – Rolf Gates, Katrina Kenison
- The Shambala Guide to Yoga – George Feuerstein
7 Spiritual Laws Of Yoga by Deepak Chopra
When you are ready to transform your yoga practice from a physical practice to a spiritual practice that gives your life form and meaning, Deepak Chopra is your friend. This Ayurvedic doctor has a really profound vision on the practice of yoga and presents it in a clear and accessible way. The 7 laws correspond with the principles of the universe and may help you on your journey in life.
Yoga Mala by Pattabhi Jois
What I love about this book is that it’s barely a cm thick and explains everything you need to know about the ashtanga yoga path. Patthabi Jois once said that yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory and this book reflects that. I often see people falling into the trap of reading a lot about meditation and yoga but never actually practicing. Yoga Mala walks you through the 8 limbs of yoga and the Ashtanga yoga primary series. I got a good understanding from the book about what vinyasa ashtanga yoga is and how to do the poses in the right way with the gazing, breath, bandhas etc
The Only Way Out Is In by Anthony “Prem” Carlisi
I had to read this book for my yoga teacher’s training as Prem is my teacher’s teacher. He’s part of the OG ashtanga yoga crew together with Richard Freeman, Tim Miller, etc. These people were the first who went to India to study with Patthabi Jois in Mysore and spread the method across the world. It’s so cool to read that Prem was just this stoner LA surfer dude who got invited by 2 hot girls to a mysore class and he was mesmerised by the sweaty people with strong bodies doing these crazy poses. Quickly he became hooked and explored ashtanga yoga, ayurveda and tantra.
This book is a super easy read in the sense that Prem has written it like he would tell his story to you in a bar or something. I love the rock n roll and down to earth vibe of the book. No esoteric mumbo jumbo or ego guru talk, just Prem’s story and experiences which will help you gain a better understanding of yoga.
Meditations From The Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
I think this was the first book of yoga that I read that really made an impression on me. It’s compiled of 365 short essays, one for every day and split up in the 8 limbs of yoga. They are reflections about the yoga practice, the method and how it impacts your life. You can read one essay before your practice or if you’re like me, read like 30 essays in a row. I’m now reading the book for the third time, meaning that you get something out of it with every read.
The Shambala Guide to Yoga by George Feuerstein
It might be hard to get your hands on this book but it’s totally worth the search. I found this book in the library of the ashram where I stayed at in Rishikesh. I feel like this is the most accessible book that will help you deepen your understanding of the basic elements of yoga and the history. Very well-written and clear.
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