Students often ask me if I can recommend any books to assist them with their practice.  Here are just a few of my favourites.  When you’ve read one, write to me and let me know what you enjoyed about it.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Edwin F Bryant (2009)

This translation of the Yoga Sutras is academic whilst remaining accessible to the general reader.  It contains insights from the classical commentaries on the Sutras, as well as outlining their history, and providing a summary of the history of yoga, and the subject matter of the Yoga Sutras.  Definitely a more challenging read than Swami Satchidananda’s translation (see below) but it will help deepen your understanding of the text. Amazon

Yoga Sadhana for Mothers – Sharmila Desai and Anna Wise (2014)

This book is dedicated to the subject of Ashtanga yoga, pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.  As well as personal stories from female Ashtanga practitioners, it contains practical guidelines for practicing whilst pregnant, and tips for postpartum healing and returning to practice.  I always recommend this book to my pregnant students. Amazon

The Bhagavad Gita - Eknath Easwaran (2007)

The Gita was written more than 2000 years ago and is India’s best -known scripture.   It contains many important teachings about the struggle within; and provides us with a guide to living a more meaningful and fulfilling life.  There are numerous English translations of the Gita, however this is one of my favourites because of the clear and poetic writing style of the author.  Each chapter contains an introduction and English translations.  The original Sanskrit is not included. Amazon

The Upanishads - Eknath Easwaran (2007)

The Upanishads are classics of Indian Spirituality.  The Katha Upanisad (5 BCE) contains the first mention of Yoga as a practice leading to liberation so it’s important reading for an aspiring yogi.  Easwaran’s  English translation of the key Upanisads is easy to understand and maintains the wisdom and mysticism of texts whilst making them relevant to the modern reader.  The original Sanskrit is not included. Amazon

The Mirror of Yoga – Richard Freeman (2012)

This may not be the easiest read for someone new to the practice of yoga, but it’s a favourite of mine because Richard gives words to the internal aspects of yoga that are almost impossible to describe. Amazon

Yoga Dharma – Hamish Hendry (2014)

Hamish is my teacher and mentor.  This is his pocket book of yoga philosophy.  It’s practical, easy to read, and contains some simple Sanskrit quotations that can be memorised.  You can pick up a copy at Ashtanga Yoga London and Triyoga. Buy at AYL

Skill in Action - Michelle Cassandra Johnson (2017)

According to the Bhagavad Gita, “yoga is skill in action” (BG 2.50).  In this book Michelle encourages us to use our yoga practice as a tool for social justice.  She defines power, privilege and oppression and invites us to look at changes we can make within our lives and yoga practices to help create a just world for all. Amazon

Yoga Mala – K Pattabhi Jois (2002)

First published in Kannada in 1962 and translated into English in 2002.  This is Pattabhi Jois’ written guide to Ashtanga Yoga and essential reading for any Ashtanga practitioner.  Some of the concepts presented in this text might seem unfamiliar to the modern Western reader, however as always, it’s important to read with consideration of the time and place it was written, as well as the background of the author (in this case a Hindu Brahmin). Amazon

Astanga Yoga Anusthana – R.Sharath Jois (2014)

Sharath Jois is the Director of Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India, and one of my teachers.  As well as photographs of all the asanas from the primary series of Ashtanga Yoga, it contains the correct vinyasa count, dristi and list of asana names making it’s a useful study tool for learning the count. Wodery

Ageless - R.Sharath Jois  (2018)

This book contains simple dietary and lifestyle advice, basic asana sequences and many of Sharath’s personal anecdotes.  Reading it reminds of listening to his stories during my time spent practicing Mysore. Amazon

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Swami Satchidananda (1978)

This was the first translation of the Yoga Sutras I read.  It contains Swami Satchidananda’s own translations and commentary, which are practical and easy to apply to every day living.  If you’re interested in studying this 2000-year-old text, this is a good place to start. Amazon

Ashtanga Yoga Practice and Philosophy – Gregor Maehle (2007)

This book is a great practice tool.  It contains a detailed look at all the asanas of the primary series, with additional anatomical information, as well as a translation of the Yoga Sutras and a look at the history of yoga. Amazon

 

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Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor - Layla F Saad (2020)

I’ve kept this title at the end of my recommendations because it’s not directly yoga related.  I’ve included it because it’s important reading for anyone who’s committed to social justice and equality, which are essential if we’re to live our lives according to the yogic principle of ahimsa (non harming).  I completed the workbook during my most recent trip to Mysore, when it was downloadable from Layla’s website, it required me to dig deep and address my own unconscious bias and the harm this may have caused. As the book’s description says “Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.” Amazon