In this world of chaos, we often find ourselves in search of peace and sanctuary. For me, there can be no greater joy than turning off my phone and losing myself in a good book. Over the years I have followed the tales of mythical creatures, dived the depths of the oceans and learned how to repair my bicycle. From fictional tales to philosophy, there is something in print for everyone. I have found some of my greatest teachers talking from beyond the void on the pages of my favourite books.
My path to yoga has been blessed with some wonderful reading material. Yoga talks to all aspects of our humanity: the physical, vital, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual. Needless to say that over the past few hundred years, there has been a lot written about the subject. So, here is my list of recommended reading for anyone interested or already practicing yoga.
Light on Pranayama – B.K.S. Iyengar
Iyengar is one of the most well respected yoga teachers of the modern age. This is his definitive guide guide to Pranayama – the yogic art of breathing. Separated into two parts, he deals with everything from the theory, art and techniques of pranayama, offering insights into meditation and relaxation.
This authoritative and practical guide is an indispensable tool for every yogi from beginners to experienced teachers.
Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Since it’s first publication in 1969, this internationally recognised manual has been translated into dozens of languages and influenced many of the yoga teachers practicing today. It is the primary reference for the postgraduate MA/MSc Courses in Yoga Psychology and Yoga Philosophy.
The book is beautifully illustrated and guides the yogi from the simplest to the most advanced practices of the haha yoga system. It’s approach is not philosophical but treats yoga as a science that has the potent means to restore and maintain physical and mental health. This is the perfect book for yoga students, spiritual seekers and health professionals.
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Sri Swami Satchidananda
This was the first book I received on my yoga teacher training. Sri Swami Satchidananda shares his insights into the Sutras as only one of the most revered Masters of our time could. His commentaries on the verses are practical and down to earth. His advice on mastering the mind and achieving physical, mental and emotional harmony is more relevant today than ever.
This book has undoubtably influenced my own path to Yoga. In times of doubt, I can find solace in it’s simple clarity and thoroughness. It avoids being philosophically heavy and focuses on the practical, so every time you pick it up you can absorb a little more for your growth.
Ashtanga Yoga – David Swenson
This book is a manual in every sense of the word. It is a practical guide to developing personal practice. Based on the teachings of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, it is an in-depth catalogue of the Astanga Primary Series. This style of yoga, with it’s deep, rhythmic breathing and powerful linking of postures aims to purify the body on a cellular level while it’s enhanced levels of concentration relax the mind and strengthen the nervous system.
I will never forget meeting David Swenson. He taught me that the path to Yoga is a celebration that can be done with a smile, not the somber supplication to things unknown.
Yoga Nidra – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Satyananda Yoga Nidra is a simple yet powerful technique adapted from the tantric practice of Nyasa. As asana is a practice for the body, yoga nidra is a practice for the mind, aiding in not only deep relaxation and stress management but it enhances the learning process and harmonises the deeper unconscious, awakening inner potential.
The book touches on the whole process of training the mind and the secrets to transformation. The transcripts are highly educational and perfect for any new practitioner or experienced teacher looking to deepen their classes.