Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory ~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
We’ve had two consecutive snowy days, a rare treat in New Mexico. I have been practicing in my home studio, but I’ve also been enjoying coffee, watching the snow and reading. When it comes to yoga, there are a ton of books available. Below are 5 books I have in my collection that have been essential to my practice.
This is the first yoga philosophy book I started reading. There are so many nuggets of wisdom, quotes to ponder, and layers to this text. It took me many months to read this book, but each time it was like catching up with an old friend; a very wise old friend.
I trained in the Ashtanga lineage, introduced to the west by Guruji in the sixties. Ashtanga is the eight-limbed path of yoga. Guruji explains all eight limbs and gives details on the practice. Each of the asanas in the primary series are demonstrated and described with details about breath and benefits.
The sutras are threads of wisdom, presented in Sanskrit with translation and explanation, detailing the philosophical practice of Ashtanga yoga. Not an easy read, but every time I pick it up, there is something new for me to discover. This is one of those books that may keep you in one place for quite a while, requiring you to to re-read sutras before digesting the information and allowing it to sink in. I suggest keeping a highlighter and notebook nearby when reading this.
Along with my teacher training workbook, this is open beside my mat anytime I practice Mysore style Ashtanga on my own. A detailed description of each asana, including breath and drishti, is combined with large photos, including modifications. It includes the full primary series, intermediate series, quick guides to the sequence and inspiring quotes along the way.
While not yoga specific, the principals of Tao align and resonate with my practice. I like to include meditation with my yoga and this book offers great daily insight. Each page is a new meditation, compiled to correspond with the days of the year, but I also find it beneficial to open at random.
I’m always looking for more great yoga reads, I’d love to hear your suggestions!