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