I make no secret of the fact that I am a total bookworm. With the nights now drawing in, is there any greater pleasure than curling up on the sofa under a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book? So I thought I would share some of the best books to read whether you are looking to delve a little deeper into Yoga, have been practicing for some time and could use a little inspiration, or as a gift idea for the yogi in your life!
1. Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
A key text on many Yoga Teacher Trainings, Light on Yoga covers the philosophy of yoga, asana (poses), pranayama (breathing exercises), and bandha (energy locks). There are step by step instructions on how to get into each asana, and its benefits for the body. Iyengar also details which asana are good for certain ailments or conditions in the body. This is a book is a wonderful foundation in Yoga and one that I come back to time and time again for class planning.
2. Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith
This isn't strictly speaking a book on 'yoga' as such; it is a journey through the Eastern-based belief of the chakra system in the body, incorporating Western psychological perspectives. It is definitely a book that prompts a lot of introspection within the reader, and also contains lovely quotes scattered through the pages. An interesting read if you find the chakra system sounds a bit too far-fetched for you.
3. The Bhagavad Gita (translation) by Eknath Easwaran
The Bhagavad Gita (translating as 'Song of the Lord' was written as part of the ancient Hindu epic text, the Mahabharata. The story starts with Arjuna asking for guidance from his charioteer, Krishna. Krishna goes on to explain the three-fold path of Yoga, and covers lots of philosophical ideas within beautiful story-telling. A definite must-read.
4. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda
Sutra in Sanskrit translates as 'thread', and this book is a collection of short Sanskrit sutras on the practice of Yoga from a spiritual perspective (don't expect any instruction on asana here!), which are then followed by an English translation and commentary. My copy of the Yoga Sutras is full of underlining, scribbled notes and stickers. It is a book best taken slow and steady, giving yourself time to fully digest and absorb the words and teachings, but an incredibly thought-provoking and worthwhile read.
5. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar
Son of Krishnmacharya (one of the great Yoga masters), Desikachar as written a beautiful book covering all aspects of the yoga practice without it feeling too heavy. Written from a holistic perspective, it provides instruction on yoga encompassing the mind, body and spirit.
Would make a lovely gift for a yoga-lover.
I am always on the lookout for new books to read, so if you have any suggestions then please pop them in the comments below!
"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me" ~ C.S.Lewis