In your yoga journey, there will probably come a time when you wonder just how some Sanskrit term applies to daily life or how the physical practice of asana relates to yoga’s transformative powers. Or, you could be thinking of a gift for your yoga-loving friends who already have all the mats, blocks, and pants they need. Fortunately, people have been writing books about yoga for thousands of years – and no matter what your question, someone has probably addressed it in writing somewhere.
Arriving at a coherent understanding of this rich and varied tradition takes time and contemplation. Books can become great friends and guides along the path. Many ancient texts are deserving of serious, scholarly study, of course, but there are also plenty of great reads worthy of curling up with on a winter’s eve. Here, we’ve summarized small library of titles reviewed by Yoga Journal that will provide a broader understanding of the practice and a deeper awareness of how yoga can transform your life.
These titles were all published within the past 10 years, which will hopefully make them more relevant to your life right now:
- 1. The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living by Stephen Cope
Stephen Cope takes up the task of interpreting the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, widely recognized as yoga’s primary sourcebook, in The Wisdom of Yoga, chronicling the experiences of several students who spend a year actively applying the practice of yoga to their personal challenges.
- The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras by Nischala Joy Devi
Radically unlike a traditional commentary on the Yoga Sutra, Nischala Joy Devi’s The Secret Power of Yoga interprets the terse, intellectual sutras as a meditation on living with ease. Her explication of the sutras is much different than traditionalists would expect.
- Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell
“The Gita is the sixth book of the Indian epic Mahabharata, which tells the tale of Arjuna, a warrior prince who loses his will to fight on the battlefield; his mind can’t make peace with the idea of fighting his cousins and friends. Fortunately, his charioteer is Lord Krishna, who delivers a treatise on dharma: You must act according to your duty but surrender the outcome of your actions.”
- Yoga: The Greater Tradition by David Frawley
This “mini-encyclopedia” is a simple, straightforward overview that shows what yoga is, where it came from, and where it can take you. “My aim is to provide students with a new vision of the universe of yoga in all its vastness,” Frawley writes.
With Light on Life, Iyengar delivers a why-to book. It is a collection of the musings of a master yogi nearing the end of his life. “I am old, and death inevitably approaches,” he writes. “But both birth and death are beyond the will of a human being. They are not my domain. I do not think about it. Yoga has taught me to think only of working to live a useful life.”
What’s better than a book about yoga? A beautiful place to read it!
You and your yoga-loving friends can join us on the breath-taking beaches of Nicaragua in our Bucket List of Bliss retreat with Cher Aslor, starting in March of 2017.
Read the full original article from Yoga Journal. Feature image from Hampton Artistic Yarns.