15 Best Yoga Books You Should Read July 28, 2016

You would have seen many people practicing yoga, but did you ever wonder why anyone does so? Are you aware of the ways you can heal and strengthen your mind through yoga? Most of us think that we know a lot about yoga, but in reality there is much more to yoga then we can ever think!

So, if you are looking forward to knowing the vast range of techniques that constitute yoga, and the ways yoga can profoundly benefit you, there are certain books you can consider reading. Go ahead and read this article to know more about yoga and the top books that deal with it!

What Is Yoga?

Before we talk about the most popular titles on Yoga, let’s take an in-depth look at the practice itself. Yoga is, among many other things, a physical, mental and spiritual practice aimed at transforming the body and mind. Today, yoga represents different forms, different disciplines and different schools of thought. However, all of them have a similar aim.

Yoga is said to have originated in 500-600 BC. Initially yoga was a form practiced solely in India. However, with the acclaim and success of Swami Vivekananda, attitudes towards yoga changed and it became a popular exercise in the western world as well. This form of exercise is usually called Hatha yoga (1).

[ Read: Power Yoga Workouts ]

What Is Yoga’s Goal?

Although many people perceive yoga as a physical activity, and one that promotes spiritual well being, Yoga’s chief goal is liberation or ‘moksha’. Moksha has varying definitions, differing on philosophical or religious systems (2).

According to renowned professor Knut A. Jacobsen (3), yoga has five key representations:

  1. It is a disciplined method that you can harness to attain a goal.
  2. It is an effective technique that helps you control the body and the mind.
  3. It is the name of one of the philosophy systems (darsana).
  4. It is used in conjunction with other terms like hatha, laya, Bikram, which refer to certain forms of yoga.
  5. It is supposed to be the goal of practice of yoga.

What Are The Benefits Of Yoga?

We know what yoga is; how it is represented and interpreted. Now, let’s look at one of the most important fact about yoga – its benefits. We know that yoga is mooted to treat most ailments that the human body suffers from, and it has other physical and mental benefits (4).

  1. Many long-term yoga aficionados report better muscle and bone movement, while many others speak about mental health improvement and reduced asthmatic symptoms (5).
  2. Evidence has pointed out that regular yoga helps increase the brain’s GABA levels. Yoga is a more effective mood enhancer and anxiety suppressor than other exercises, like walking, that offer the same level of physicality (6).
  3. Many studies on the effects of yoga on heart disease have pointed out that yoga helps reduce high blood-pressure, removes heart failure symptoms and enhances cardiac rehabilitation, all the while lowering cardiovascular risk factors (7).
  4. Yoga has been found to eliminate chronic back pain and other disorders like sciatica. A clinical trial conducted concluded that specialized, concentrated yoga, can help lower back pain significantly (8).

Popular Yoga Books:

Now that we know what yoga is, how it helps us and what people aim to achieve from yoga, let’s address some popular sources of yoga literature. Without further ado, let’s look at the fifteen most popular books on yoga in the market today!

1. Light On Yoga: Yoga Dipika,B. K. S. Iyengar:

This is one of the best books on Yoga you can read. It is compiled by the founder of Iyengar Yoga, Bellur Krishnamachari Sundaraja or B.K.S. Iyengar. This book provides illustrations and contains many easy-to-follow instructions on performing exercises. This book is available on many online portals for around $7.80 (9).

2. The Circle Of Fire: The Metaphysics Of Yoga, P.J.Muzumdar:

This book is an introspective book that dwells on spiritual and philosophical questions like ‘What is God?’ and ‘What is the purpose of life?’ among many others.

P.J. Muzumdar’s book also talks about the differences between Western science and Indian schools, detailing answers from various sources in Hinduism and Buddhism. The book is available on many online portals for around $18.80 (10).

3. Yoga: The Iyengar Way, Silva Mehta And Shyam Mehta:

This is a comprehensive and practical guide to performing Yoga. Based on the principles of Iyengar yoga, with a foreword written by B.K.S. Iyengar, this book contains many detailed instructions on 100+ postures with illustrations. The book is available on many online portals for around $18.00 (11).

[ Read: Beginner, Intermediate And Advanced Yoga Asanas ]

4. Yoga And The Quest For The True Self, Stephen Cope:

Yoga is a superb form of exercise. Not only does it provide us physical exercise, it’s also an effective stress buster. Stephen Cope, a trained psychotherapist has penned this best book on Yoga. It talks about the philosophical, psychological and physical benefits of yoga. He speaks about how yoga helps heal our suffering. This book is available on many online portals for close to $16.00 (12).

5. Yoga: The Spirit And Practice Of Moving Into Stillness, Erich Schiffmann:

Popular yoga practitioner and master, Erich Schiffmann has penned all his methods and techniques down. He is one of the first to combine Hatha Yoga and meditation. This book is one of the popular options out there, and is available on many online portals for close to $15.00 (13).

6. Anatomy Of The Spirit: The Seven Stages Of Power And Healing, Caroline Myss:

Dr. Caroline Myss’ book takes an in-depth look at the body’s chakras and shows you how to tap your own latent powers to further personal and spiritual growth. This is one of the most popular books on energy medicine and is favored by practitioners and masters alike. It is available for around $11.00 on most online portals (14).

7. A Systematic Course In The Ancient Tantric Techniques Of Yoga And Kriya, Swami Satyananda Saraswati:

Mooted as one of the most comprehensive yogic texts ever, Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s book is probably the most expansive and elaborate manual to be published. It features more than 35 lessons on the practices of yoga. You can order this book online for around $42.00 (15).

8. The Heart Of Yoga: Developing A Personal Practice, T.K.V. Desikachar:

One of the modern classics, Desikachar’s book is the first to outline step-by-step sequences to help you develop and practice Vini yoga – yoga that is based on the individual’s needs. This amazing book is available for $11.00 on most online bookstores (16).

9. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology And The Chakra System As A Path To The Self, Anodea Judith:

This book talks about how the ancient chakra system, essential to yoga and yogic practices, is adapted by the author using Jungian psychology. This is one of the most comprehensive and in-depth reads on the chakra system (17).

10. Yoga Mind, Body And Spirit: A Return To Wholeness, Donna Farhi:

This illustrated book by yoga instructor Donna Farhi takes a look at how yoga can help you enhance the connection between the mind, body & spirit. The book features seven movement principles that form the essence of human motion. This book is available for $18.00 on most online portals (18).

11. Light On Life: The Yoga Journey To Wholeness, Inner Peace, And Ultimate Freedom, B.K.S. Iyengar:

Another masterpiece by the founder of Iyengar Yoga, this book speaks about the importance of yoga for spiritual and mental balance in yoga. Described by BBC, as ‘the Michelangelo of Yoga’, Iyengar delves deep into the journey of Yoga. The book is available on many online portals for around $14.00 (19).

12. The Wisdom Of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide To Extraordinary Living, Stephen Cope:

Another one of Mr. Cope’s books to feature on this list, this book concentrates more on Yoga for the mind and how the yoga wisdom tradition is followed. Stephen Cope is one of the most recognizable names in Yoga today. The book is available online for around $15.00 (20).

13. Yoga Mala, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois:

Yoga mala, or ‘the garland of yoga practice’, is one of the most popular yoga texts of our times. It talks about the practice of Yoga and describes more than 40 positions, how to perform them and their targeted benefits. This comprehensive book is available online for as little as $ 3.00 (21).

14. Shambala Guide To Yoga, Georg Feuerstein:

This yoga book by Georg Feuerstein covers the essentials of yoga and also speaks about the spiritual importance of yoga, talking about yoga wisdom and other spiritual aspects that general guides on yoga don’t talk about. This book is available online for around $40.00 (22).

15. Inside The Yoga Sutras: A Comprehensive Sourcebook For The Study & Practice Of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Jaganath Carrera:

This book is one of the best modern day renditions and rewritings of the classic text on Yoga theory and practice. This book features commentary for each sutra, cross-references, study guides for practitioners and masters alike (23).

These are some of the best yoga books for you. So, why wait? Order one of these books today and explore the spiritual calming world of Yoga. If there are any other books that you want to us include here, leave a comment below.

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