The YogaToday blog editor breaks down her 5 favorite yoga books, which include poetry, manuals for understanding your physical practice better, and lessons to help you connect with your spiritual heart. Embrace the silver lining of being stuck inside by adding these reads to your library!
The Yogi’s Roadmap by Bhavani Maki
The Yogi’s Roadmap takes the yoga sutras, 196 ancient pearls of wisdom written by the sage Patanjali over 2,000 years ago, and brings them into the modern era. This fun, anecdotal read will help you apply the lessons of the yoga sutras to your own life. When I attended a lecture by Bhavani, she said something along the lines of “the right sutra always finds you at the right time.” I have found this to be amazingly true: the best way to read this book is to flip to a page or pick a certain sutra and dive right in.
Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson
Buddha’s Brain is a fascinating look at how meditation and mindfulness actually affect the brain. Don’t let the word “neuroscience” scare you off– the author does a fantastic job at explaining clearly without diluting the information. You’ll journey through the brains of world-changing leaders like Buddha, Jesus, Mohamed, Moses, Ghandi, and more, exploring how they each became the master of their minds. If you are interested in meditation or have a meditation practice already, you’ll especially love this book!
The Tree of Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
Ah yes, one of the classics. The Tree of Yoga is often found on the required reading list for yogis during teacher training. In my experience, The Tree of Yoga tends to be easier to digest than most technical and/or classic yoga books. B.K.S Iyengar, one of the great modern yogis and father of Iyengar yoga, offers his insights on the yogic lifestyle in elegant, lyrical prose. A must for any teacher, aspiring teacher, or deeply interested student!
Awakening the Spine by Vanda Scaravelli
Scaravelli was a yoga pioneer: she was one of the first western women to study under gurus like B.K.S. Iyengar and T.K.V. Desikachar, and is often credited with bringing yoga to the West. Alongside stunning (and seriously inspiring!) photos of Scaravelli practicing advanced asana well into her 80’s, Awakening the Spine explains how to infuse your own practice with effortlessness and ease. This yoga book highlights the lunar, feminine, and creative aspects of a traditionally male-dominated practice.
The Essential Rumi by Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks
Anyone interested in spirituality and the human experience should own The Essential Rumi, yogi or no. My copy is the most well-worn and dog-eared in my whole library of yoga books! This collection of poems by Rumi, a famous 13th-century Sufi mystic, explores evergreen themes of love, grief, beauty, friendship, the afterlife, and knowing God. His poems can be surprisingly funny, endlessly insightful, and hauntingly beautiful, often all at once. Send The Essential Rumi to a friend as a gift!
The Guest House (taken from The Essential Rumi)
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.