Must Read Books On Yoga That Offer Deeper Insights Into The Practice

This International Yoga Day, SheThePeople.TV Books Editor Archana Pai Kulkarni chalks up a list of must-read books on the subject.

Archana Pai Kulkarni
Jun 21, 2019 08:54 IST
yoga day books

Want to connect deeply with your body mind and breath? Here are books that address not just the fundamental principles of yoga but also the specific needs of practitioners. They go beyond postures to offer deeper insights, practical tips and simple to advanced yogic regimens to enable you to lead a stress-free, harmonious life full of high energy and joy. It’s best to learn yoga under the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher. These books are wonderfully complementary companions that will enhance your practice. So, breathe, read, meditate and stretch your way to optimum health.


Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

This veritable bible from the Bihar School of Yoga is recognised internationally as one of the most systematic yoga manuals available today. A comprehensive text that provides clear illustrations and step by step directions, it guides the practitioner from the simplest to the most advanced practices of the hatha yoga system. If you have to choose one book as a reference manual, this is it.

Surya Namaskara: A Technique of Solar Visualisation by Swami Satyananda Saraswati


The Surya Namaskara, or salutation to the sun, is a vital yogic practice of twelve postures which weave together to generate prana (subtle energy) aiming towards the rejuvenation of the practitioner. This book offers an in-depth physiological study of Surya Namaskara, and discusses in detail the full practice, including the surya and bija mantras, points of concentration and extended guidelines.

Nawa Yogini Tantra (Yoga for Women) by Swami Muktananda

Exploring the health needs of women in today’s society from a yogic perspective, this book offers comprehensive yogic advice on its management.


It includes specific practice programmes for menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, depression, backache, weight problems, varicose veins and urinary disorders. It’s a handbook to inspire and guide women to manage life’s wide and varied experiences and integrate them with spiritual growth.

Living at the Source: Yoga Teachings of Vivekananda

Engrossing and enriching, profound yet practical, this wisely selected collection of Vivekananda’s essential writings and wisdom speaks directly to the concerns of contemporary men and women who seek self-knowledge in specific areas and want to live a spiritual life in the midst of everyday activities.


Light on Yoga by B K S Iyengar

This classic work by arguably the world’s greatest and best-known teacher of yoga, this introduction to the philosophy and practice of yoga has reliable and accurate information on the subject of Yoga, detailed descriptions of more than 200 postures, techniques for stilling the mind, a 300-week yoga course progressing from beginner to advanced level, and exercises and postures for specific conditions. This book serves as an introduction for beginners who are looking to learn the unique practice of Yoga.

The Royal Path: Practical Lessons on Yoga by Swami Rama


Whether our goal is improved health, emotional balance, enhanced creativity, or spiritual exploration, this book from the first Himalayan yogi to demonstrate to the Western scientific community the astonishing level of self-mastery by Indian adepts, holds the key. An enduring classic, it is one of the clearest and most inspiring introduction to yoga science.

The Alchemy of Yoga: Commentaries on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Osho

This book is about understanding the essence and origin of Yoga - not the modern physical exercise of Yoga, but the underlying philosophical roots of this popular approach to a health-conscious lifestyle.


It introduces Yoga as a way of meditation and self-discovery. Part one of a 10-part series of talks titled Yoga: The Science of the Soul, in which Osho speaks about Yoga, it has question and answer sessions that deepen the understanding of Yoga as an existential and reality-based spiritual discipline.

Yoga: A Gem for Women by Geeta S. Iyengar

The oldest daughter of yoga guru, B.K.S. Iyengar, Geeta S. Iyengar who has mastered the subtle techniques of this art has presented in this book a variety of asanas known for their physical and curative values, Pranayama with its Bandhas and Dhyana or meditation. It is divided into various sections dealing with simple standing positions, forward bends, lateral movements, backward extension of the spine, correct breathing techniques during performance of the asanas and also the effects of them on the body, nerves and the mind.


Awakening the Spine: Yoga for Health, Vitality and Energy by Vanda Scaravelli

For more than twenty-five years, until her death at ninety-one, Vanda Scaravelli helped transform bodies and lives with her innovative approach to yoga through the proper alignment of the spine. She listened to the body and worked with—instead of against—it. This book offers a gentle way to achieve and maintain overall health and a naturally supple spine at any age. Scaravelli’s lasting message reminds readers that, “if you are kind to your

body, it will respond in an incredible way.”

The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by Desikachar

T. K. V. Desikachar, the son of legendary yoga guru, Krishnamacharya, lived and studied with his father all his life. This book is based on Krishnamacharya's fundamental teaching that practices must be continually adapted to the individual's changing needs to achieve the maximum therapeutic value. It offers a distillation of this system as well as his own practical approach, which he describes as "programme for the spine at every level-physical, mental, and spiritual."

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit by Deepak Chopra and David Simon

The remarkable benefits of yoga include improved flexibility, balance, muscle tone, endurance, and vitality. When adhered to and practised mindfully, yoga can unlock the practitioners’ full creative potential, their capacity for love and compassion, and ability to find success in all areas of their lives. With a wealth of meditation techniques, mantras, breathing exercises, and yoga poses, this book is a portal to yoga’s deeper spiritual dimension and a beautiful step to a happier, more harmonious, and more abundant life.

Yoga in the Workplace by Shameem Akhtar

Research has proven that exercise relegated entirely to one part of the day is not very effective, if the rest of the day is spent largely in a passive manner. This book rectifies that lacuna. With a simple and efficient way of using yogic practices at the work station, this book ensures that your body combats the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras by Nischala Joy Devi

A renowned Yoga expert who has been teaching internationally for more than thirty years, here, Devi interprets Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the principles at the basis of Yoga practice, from a heart-centred, intuitive, feminine perspective.

Devi’s simple, elegant, and deeply personal interpretations capture the spirit of each sutra, and her suggested practices offer numerous ways to embrace the spirituality of Yoga throughout your day.

The Heartfulness Way: Heart-Based Meditations for Spiritual Transformation by Kamlesh Patel, Joshua Pollock

As we manoeuvre the many demands of relationships, career, property and health, we often sense a void, a feeling of alienation from our true selves. Heartfulness proposes a balanced, integrated existence, where life's spiritual and material aspects can harmoniously coexist. From reflecting on the essence of prayer and yogic transmission to demystifying the act of meditation through practical tips, this book enables us to live beyond the filters of our sensory limitations and discover unity within ourselves.

The Power of Posture: Mindful Alignment for a Pain-free Life by Dr Renu Mahtani

Dr Mahtani’s holistic approach towards health and lifestyle incorporates customised breath therapy, yoga and Pilates techniques, not just for aches and pains but also for chronic diseases, low immune conditions, anxiety and depression. Here you will find: answers to weight loss issues, ways to boost flexibility and metabolism, solutions to aching neck, shoulders and back, the key to pain-free legs and knee joints, and much more.

The Woman’s Yoga Book: Asana and Pranayama for All Phases of the Menstrual Cycle by Bobby Clennell

In this book, senior Iyengar Yoga teacher Bobby Clennell offers a comprehensive programme of asana and pranayama designed to support menstrual health from menarche to menopause, along with nutritional and lifestyle information for those times off the yoga mat. With over thirty years of teaching experience, she encourages women to draw on the strength that comes from practising women’s yoga.

Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness by Donna Farhi

This user-friendly book sets forth the tenets of this gentle yet rigorous exercise. Integrating the teachings of every tradition, Farhi outlines the seven simple movement principles that underlie all human motion and provides exercises to help practitioners understand how they can achieve all yoga postures. She also discusses the ten ethical precepts that are the foundation of all yoga teachings and explains how to incorporate them into a spiritually and

emotionally rewarding inner practice.

The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality through Essential Breathwork by Donna Farhi

A refreshingly simple and practical guide to re-establishing proper breathing techniques that will dramatically improve your physical and mental health, the book also offers a thorough programme that you can tailor to your specific needs.

Whether you need an energy boost or are seeking a safe, hassle-free way to cope with everyday stress, you’ll find the answers here. The safe and easy-to-learn techniques can also be used to treat asthma, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, arthritis, chronic pain, and other debilitating conditions.

Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Mathews

The ultimate reference for yoga practitioners, instructors and enthusiasts alike, this book provides you with a deeper understanding of the structures and principles underlying each movement and of yoga itself. From breathing to inversions to standing poses, to knowledge of how specific muscles respond to the movements of the joints, to how alterations of a pose can enhance or reduce effectiveness and how the spine, breathing and body position are all

fundamentally linked, it’s all here.

Breath, Mind, and Consciousness by Harish Johari

Modern scientists are just now beginning to understand what yogis have known for centuries- that the life force animating our physical bodies is regulated by breath, and that the breath energy is controlled by the mind. The esoteric and practical science of Swar Yoga, teaches conscious observation and control of breathing patterns to maximise energy and vitality. Johari explains the sensory network of the nose and its effect on the subtle channels of energy throughout the body, discusses the phases of the five elements in the breathing cycle and exercises for physical and psychic healing.

Archana Pai Kulkarni is the Books Editor at SheThePeople.TV.

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