A question I often get asked from students is what books should they read about yoga. I love it when I get asked this question because not only is it something that I love to research myself but it also means that whoever asked me this question is keen to explore, learn and get curious about their own yoga practice. In my over ten years of practising and learning about yoga, I have barely scratched the surface of books covering the subject. There is so much more to read and therefore, this post will be the first of many as I plan to follow up in the future with further book recommendations for you.
1. The Eight Limbs of Yoga: A handbook for Living Yoga Philosophy by Stuart Ray Sarbacker and Kevin Kimple
This book is the first book I recommend to students. It is short and sweet at less than 100 pages making for a very digestible read but also it eloquently distils the Eight-Limbed system of yoga as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. The system illustrates that yoga is so much more than the physical movement of the body (this comprises only one of the eight limbs of yoga) and it forms the foundation of the modern yoga tradition we know today. The intention of the book is to show the reader how to apply the principles of yoga in everyday life and effectively highlights yoga as a powerful tool that can anchor a yoga practitioner throughout their life.
2. Bringing Yoga to Life by Donna Farhi
Although there is so much more for me to read, I have a feeling that this book will continue to be a firm favourite. This book re-ignited my fire to practise yoga after burning out from teaching whilst dealing with lock-down and the associated lethargy that went along with that. I feel like this book is a love letter to Donna Farhi's life long yoga practice and I encourage you to read if you are interested in nurturing a personal practice that offers stability, self-exploration and guidance. Her writing is accessible and relatable and she interweaves personal anecdotes with information on yoga philosophy. This book is an inspiration!
3. From the Vedas to Vinyasa: An introduction to the History and Philosophy of Yoga by Amy Vaughn
This book manages to condense thousands of years of yoga history into one book that is only 250 pages long and the author, Amy Vaughn, manages to communicate this dense amount of information in an accessible and engaging way. You will not only learn about key dates in the evolution of the yoga tradition but you will also learn about philosophical ideas and concepts developed throughout the history of yoga. This book is the perfect introduction to the history of yoga and reading this book along side The Eight Limbs of Yoga by Stuart Sarbacker and Kevin Kimple will give you a great overview and understanding of the yoga tradition.
4. Deep Listening: A Healing Practice to Calm Your Body, Clear Your Mind, and Open Your Heart by Jillian Pransky
This is the only book in this selection of four that takes you through an at home yoga practice programme. Derived from the techniques that healed the author, Deep Listening invites you to integrate tools like guided meditations, journalling prompts, and restorative yoga poses to allow you to nurture your own well-being. I actually completed my Restorative Yoga Teacher training with the author, Jillian Pransky, and Restorative Yoga is the foundation of the yoga she offers. This practice is simply about slowing down, doing less and letting go of the need to strive for the next goal. I love how this book draws on the science and physiology of relaxation to educate whilst encouraging the reader to listen and recognise that they are their own best teacher.