Yoga Reading

I’ve gotten a few requests for posts about my favorite yoga books.

While I love books that take me deeper into my practice, I’ve found that the books that do this aren’t always necessarily of the “yoga” genre.

At any rate, this list is in no way comprehensive, but here are some of my favorite life-changers:

How Yoga Works – This book (from my teacher training curriculum) rocks my world. It’s a fictional narrative about how a prisoner changes her world and those of her captors by teaching them yoga. You can read one of my favorite excerpts (and an intense Katie-rant) in my post: Flesh or Light. I think about this concept every single day.

Meditations from the Mat – This book was on the floor in the first studio I started practicing in six years ago, and I used to pick it up and flip through before and after class. It’s written by Rolf Gates, an addict turned global yoga celebrity, and features 365 short (in length) but deep (in meaning) passages to be read once a day for one year. I’ve written about it here and here and probably a million other times in my Yoga Archives.

Peace is Every Step – I want to read every Thich Nhat Hanh book ever written. This book was part of a teacher training curriculum I signed up for and then bailed on when I suddenly decided to quit my job and move to Charlotte. In the end, the program I ended up in here was exactly where I was supposed to be. Life works like that. Anyway, it’s a collection of thoughtful little nuggets from a Zen master. We could all use a little of that, couldn’t we? I’ve written about one passage here: Breathe! You Are Alive.

Gregor Maehle’s Ashtanga Yoga – This book is everything because it’s the only copy of the Yoga Sutras I have. The bulk of it is a pose-by-pose breakdown of the Ashtanga primary series, but they threw in the sutras plus commentary at the end, and this was largely our textbook during teacher training. You can get the Sutras just about anywhere, but I think that Maehle’s concise commentary makes them relevant in a very powerful way.

Yoga Anatomy – Sometimes when people talk about wanting to “deepen their practice,” they’re talking about things addressed in the books I listed above. Other times they mean they want to better align their physical practice. And neither one is a more noble venture than the other. If you’re looking for a thorough explanation of the anatomy of primary yoga poses, this is a great read. I wrote about Kaminoff’s breakdown of how inhalation works (because it blew my mind) here: Right Nice.

When it comes to non-yoga-specific reads, the following books have flipped my world (yoga practice included) upside down, burned my conditioned existence to the ground, and built me up as a calmer, kinder, more inquisitive person.

A Course in Miracles

The Fire Starter Sessions

The Desire Map

Let me know your favorites and I’ll drain all my funds into Amazon tonight…

10 thoughts on “Yoga Reading

  1. love that you read. wish i had…well, wish i made…time for that. but on another yoga note: i’ve been looking for an affordable non-slip yoga mat towel, any suggestions/comments?? My hands and feet slip-n-slide like tires on banana peels. OH- and congrats on your plate share endeavors!! hell yes. :)

  2. mmm– this is such a juicy list. love it– am already trying to track down “how yoga happens.”

    would love to hear about your experience with FSS, Desire Map & ACIM… I’m deep into FSS… adore it.

    thanks for all you do.

  3. for yoga anatomy books i really like the illustrations of the Ray Long books (Key Muscles of Yoga I & II).
    Also for my teacher training (Prana Flow) we had to read The Heart of Yoga and Shiva Rea’s MA Thesis.

  4. Thanks Katie, it’s always great to find some new yoga stuff to read. I’m reading Light on Life for my teacher training at the moment and it really helped my practice as well!

  5. I just finished Teacher Training and we used Ray Long’s anatomy books as well as The Essential Yoga Sutra by Michael Roach, Yoga Mala by Pattabhi Jois, The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar…..all of them- great reads.
    Buying How Yoga Works and Meditations from the Mat right now!!

  6. wow, thank you for this list. I found myself getting more and more in love with yoga (thanks to the studio I went to) and wanted to learn more about yoga (since I can’t afford my studio) and these books look like they will hit the spot on my yoga knowledge craving :)

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