Reading and Resources

I often get asked about readings and resources to support my students in their yoga journeys. Here are a few suggestions:

Scriptures

The Yoga Sutras
This would be my most essential read for any yogi. Sutra means thread, or threading, so don’t be dispirited if these short statements don’t reveal themselves to you instantly. They are meant to be thought about, practiced and discussed. Sometimes, you can get versions with helpful commentaries. My favourites are:

  • ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’ by Swami Satchidananda (it is very accessible and quite funny)
  • ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’ by Edwin Bryant (this one is very erudite, with lots of references)
  • ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’ by Chip Hartranft (this is a beautiful translation and commentary, brief and memorable, but it does not have the Sanskrit original, which I like)
  • ‘Patanjala Yoga Sutras with Detailed Commentary (with Transliteration, Translation & Commentary)’. This is the Kaivalyadham edition and I like it because it has word for word translations, as well as commentary.

My philosophy teacher also recommends:

  • ‘Patanjali Yoga Sutras’ by Rama Prasada
  • ‘Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’ by Mukunda Stiles

The Bhagavad Gita
A must read for any yogi, this book goes deep into what yoga is (although not into how it is practiced).

  • ‘The Bhagavad Gita’ by Eknath Easwaran is very easy to read and has commentary at the beginning of each chapter.
  • ‘Srimad Bhagavad Gita’ by Ramesh Menon has the original Sankrit (useful if you chant or want to learn) and a nice, vivid translation.

If you are a serious student of the text, you need a word by word translation, with the Sanskrit transliteration. Here are the two best I have come across:

  • ‘Bhagavad Gita’, translated by Winthrop Sargeant
  • ‘The Complete Bhagavad-Gita: A verse-by-verse self-study guide to master the ancient text with new insights’ by Koti Sreekrishna and Hari Ravikumar. I have the three volume version of this and I love it.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika
This is the classic technical manuals of yoga. Not an easy book, though! The versions I prefer are:

  • ‘Hathapradipika of Svatmarama (Original Text, Transliteration, Translation and Notes) by Swami Digambaraji & Pt.Raghunatha Sahstri Kokaje. Kaivalyadham edition.
  • ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’ by Swami Muktibodhananda.
  • ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika: Translation with Notes from Krishnamacharya’ by A. G. Mohan and Ganesh Mohan.

Gheranda Samhita and Siva Samhita
Beautiful practical manuals on asana and pranayama.

  • David Garrigues recommends this translation (in which you also get the Hatha Yoga Pradipika: ‘The Forceful Yoga: Being the translation of Hathayoga-Pradipika, Gheranda-Samhita and Siva-Samhita’ by Pancham Sinh, Rai Bahadur Shrisha Chandra Vasu.
  • Siva Samhita (A Critical Edition – English Version) by Swami Maheshananda. Kaivalyadham edition.
  • Gheranda Samhita by Swami Kulvalayananda. Kaivalyadham edition.

Books about yoga

  • ‘The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling’ by Stephen Cope.
  • ‘Yoga and the Quest for the True Self’ by Stephen Cope.
  • ‘Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living’ by Donna Farhi.
  • ‘The Eight Limbs of Yoga: A Handbook for Living Yoga Philosophy’ by Stuart Ray Sarbaker
  • ‘The Mirror of Yoga: Awakening the Intelligence of Body and Mind’ by Richard Freeman

Ashtanga Yoga asana manuals

  • ‘Ashtanga Yoga – The Practice Manual’ by David Swenson: my favourite! It has a ring binder format, so it is easy to practice with and it also contains David’s short forms, for when you only have 15, 30 or 45 minutes.
  • ‘Ashtanga Yoga Practice and Philosophy’ by Gregor Maehle: This is a more detailed, very well instructed and for those who want to delve deeper. It also contains a very good commentary on the Sutras.
  • ‘Ashtanga Yoga – The Intermediate Series: Anatomy and Mythology’ (Ashtanga Yoga Intermediate Series)by Gregor Maehle: If you are exploring second series, the extensive detail in this manual will help. The commentary goes onto the reasons for the names of the poses and what we are meant to embody. I love it.
  • ‘Art of Vinyasa: Awakening Body and Mind Through the Practice of Ashtanga Yoga’ by Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor. There are lovely variations here.

Books about pranayama

  • ‘Science of Breath: A Practical Guide’by Swami Rama Rudolph Ballentine & Alan Hymes: A short, powerful introduction, detailing the benefits of pranayama from a scientific and yogis point of view.
  • ‘Pranayama: the Breath of Yoga’ by Gregor Maehle is extraordinarily clear but I would not recommend it unless you practice regularly with a teacher.
  • ‘Essence of Pranayama’ by Srikrishna. Kaivalyadham edition.
  • ‘Pranayama’ by Swami Kuvalayananda. Kaivalyadham edition. A great manual but which you should only use under the guidance of a qualified teacher.
  • ‘One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life’ by Eddie Stern.

Podcasts


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