by Lisette Cheresson
With even more downtime at home than usual, it’s a great season for catching up on those yoga books you’ve been putting off reading. Part of the Yoga Unify mission is to carve pathways for lifelong studentship for all practitioners—and to encourage all yogis to hold themselves accountable for continuing education. Not only does this honor the roots of yoga, by placing emphasis on yoga philosophy and history, it also helps to ensure that the evolution of the practice is focused on more than asana.
Many Yoga Unify Founding Members and Honorary Qualified Professionals are leaders in our community. Here are reading recommendations from ten of them—all perfect for your bedside table.
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I have read the Yoga Sutras translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda countless times. It never gets old. I highly recommend reading that book multiple times.
Sutras 2:1: “Accepting pain as purification, study of spiritual books, and surrender to the Supreme Being constitute yoga in practice.” Accepting pain as a healing process, we stay still in the moment and then alchemize the properties of that pain instead of projecting it onto others. Self-discipline is an aid to spiritual progress, whereas self torture is an obstacle.
My own book! Gravity & Grace, which brings together in one place all the important ideas I have about yoga from over 40 years of practice and study (from books, teachers, and practice notes I collected from experiences on my mat). Other influential books that inspired my writing include:
- Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief, which clearly explains the power and plasticity our minds have to influence our genetic make-up and ultimately our body’s health and homeostasis
- Belleruth Naparstek’s Your Sixth Sense, which lays out in simple language how to awaken and activate our innate intuitive intelligence
- Paul Pearsall’s The Heart’s Code, which describes the scientific possibility of the heart’s intelligence playing a much bigger role in our body’s health and wellness
- Karlfried Graf Durckheim’s Hara—The Vital Center of Man, which describes the intelligence of our belly and the role it plays in our body’s health and wellness, both physically and psychologically
Light on Life by BKS Iyengar changed my life very early in my practice and I regularly reference it along with the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Taravali, and books by Anodea Judith.
The Yogic Way to Cure Disease, because it blends practical living with yogic enthusiasm.
The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga by Swami Vishnudevananda. I love the way it is written, the simple style of the illustrations, and his approach to diet.
Yoga and Veganism by Sharon Gannon and her other books because they discuss the animal rights aspect of nonviolence as an ethical base for yoga. Diet is key, to not eat animals when teaching yoga—in its truth and ahimsa aspects. It really isn’t quite yoga entirely, if people are killing and eating living beings.
Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith. It explains the subtle energetic system through the lens of psychology and childhood development.
Sat Bir Khalsa’s book The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care is an invaluable and comprehensive collection of yoga studies on the benefits of yoga on everything from mental health conditions to cancer.
My favorite resource is Paul Grilley’s Anatomy for Yoga because it demonstrates so well that there is no single ‘right’ way to approach a yoga pose and sends a powerful message that we are all encouraged to maturely accept that our bone structure can and does impact where we can go in an asana.
My favorite books about yoga are The Bhagavad Gita and The Upanishads (both translated by Eknath Easwaran), Anatomy of Hatha Yoga by Coulter, International Journal of Yoga Therapy (IAYT), and Yoga Traditions by Feuerstein.
Looking for more practical advice from our teachers and Founding Circle Members? Join them in the Founding Circle to weigh in and share your ideas, and enjoy a direct connection to your community. Click here to learn more.