Last week we looked at four essential yoga reads:
- The Untethered Soul – Michael A. Singer
- Light On Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar
- Meditations From the Mat, Rolf Gates
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sri Swami Satchindananda
If you missed that post, check it out here! I mentioned that I am a book nerd, especially when it comes to books about yoga and spirituality, and there are so many great options out there! It can be hard to tell, just by reading the book’s description, whether it will be helpful for where you are on your journey and what you’re interested in learning. In this two-part series, we’ve broken down eight of the most helpful yoga/spirituality books you can find. Find one that resonates with you or research the author to see if their style is helpful to you, and to see other great books they have written. Happy reading!
Yoga Book #5 – Eastern Body, Western Mind, Anodea Judith
Eastern Body, Western Mind weaves together the Eastern concept of energy systems with Western psychology. It goes into detail about the attributes of each chakra and how they are related to our mental health, and how imbalance can manifest as self-destructive personality traits. Judith explains how and when each chakra is developed, and how trauma, abuse, and confusing situations contribute to a chakra’s underdevelopment.
This is a very detailed book, and offers specific methods to heal an excess or deficiency of energy in the chakras. Most of the things she suggests focus on healing whatever core beliefs we developed incorrectly as a result of whatever our experience was at that time of our development. Although this is a lengthy book, its’ layout makes it perfect to refer to for specific guidance if you feel like something is off balance in your life. Her relatable examples make it easy to identify where we might have energy blockages, and how we can free ourselves from them.
Yoga Book #6 – Yoga Anatomy, Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews
As the name suggests, this book is about how the asana (the physical poses) affect our physical body. A required read for most yoga teacher trainings, Yoga Anatomy goes over how postures affect the muscles and joints, and how breathing and alignment are related to the health of our systems.
It talks about how prana, or life force energy, helps move energy through otherwise stagnant systems, as well as the science of the breath. There are several chapters about the asanas, broken down into categories like standing, supine, and kneeling poses.
Yoga Anatomy is a very technical read, as its purpose is to educate the reader on the biological health benefits of a regular practice. This book is ideal for someone who wants to learn about how yoga improves our bodies in a detailed and scientific manner, and how proper alignment and breathing patterns can optimize our systems. It is broken down into chapters about breathing, the spine, and the specific muscles/joints/systems that are activated in specific poses. The book emphasizes performing postures safely and without pain and offers modifications for many of the poses.
Yoga Book #7 – The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra is an amazing writer and philosopher in the field of spirituality. Anything you pick up from Chopra is bound to be an insightful read, and he has written books on multiple spirituality concepts and practices like meditation and plant medicine. In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Chopra references the natural laws he wrote about in a previous book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, and how they are applicable and necessary for the yogic path to enlightenment.
The seven spiritual laws that provide the framework for this book are pure potentiality, giving, karma, least effort, intention and desire, detachment, and dharma. Chopra explains what these mean in detail, and how practicing yoga helps us adhere to these natural laws that govern our world. He shows that by surrendering to the natural flow of our lives can make us live a more abundant, peaceful life. All of Chopra’s books are insightful, but this one is particularly fit for someone wanting to deepen their yoga practice.
Yoga Book #8 – Perfectly Imperfect: The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice, Baron Baptiste
I love just the title of this book; ‘perfectly imperfect’. It implies that although things might not be what we would consider perfect, they are exactly as they were meant to be. We might not be perfect, but we are exactly where we are meant to be.
This book is about the concepts of acceptance and surrender (read our post about surrender and gratitude here!). It talks about how our limiting beliefs often keep us stuck in cycles, and how yoga can be used as a tool to break free.
Baron Baptiste is the teacher of an author on our previous list, Rolf Gates who wrote Meditations From the Mat. Baptiste is a renowned yoga instructor and teacher trainer who developed his own style of yoga so popular you can become certified in it. He talks about what happens to our minds and bodies after we’ve settled into a pose and says that’s where the transformation happens. This is an engaging read that even has a little humor thrown in and would be a great read for beginners as well as experienced yogis.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this book list; if you missed the first four books click here to go back to our blog page! Do you have a favorite book about yoga, or another aspect of spirituality? If so, leave a comment below and let us know what it is and why you love it! At Inspiring Actions, we know that learning about yoga is helpful for deepening our practice and connection to the reason we came to the mat in the first place. Check out our full list of classes and events and sign up for our Inspiring Actions newsletter to receive yoga info directly in your inbox. Thanks for reading!