Practicing yoga and seeing it improve their lives makes people more interested in reading about yoga and meditation to widen their horizons. And if you’re someone who likes to read, today I’m bringing you a list of my favorite books about yoga and meditation
that I have loved reading and found fascinating, informative, and helpful. We have mentioned a variety of books in this list some of them are about the science of yoga, others about the practice, and about meditation.
1. LIGHT ON YOGA BY BKS IYENGER
This is a great introductory book for students of yoga. Having about 600 pictures and 200 postures, it is the most practical and comprehensive book on Hatha Yoga (we’ve talked about different yoga types in the previous blog ). It is aimed at beginners as well as advanced practitioners. It will be useful for you if you practice asanas every day and are interested in learning new asanas or information about the benefits of the Asanas that you already practice. You can treat it as a guide or reference book for your practice.
2. AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI BY PARAMHANSA YOGANANDA
This is a special book and has been recommended by many popular figures like Steve Jobs and one of the best cricketers in the world, Virat Kohli. As the title suggests, this book is an autobiography of Paramhansa Yogananda. He was brought up in an Indian family and had a deep urge to follow the spiritual or yogic path. This book recounts his encounters with spiritual figures of both the eastern and western world. It also introduced many readers to the teachings of Kriya Yoga. What makes it even more interesting is that it was one of the favorite books of one of the greatest innovators of our time. Steve Jobs popularly picked this book as a gift for all the attendees of his memorial service.
3. NO SELF NO PROBLEM: HOW NEUROPSYCHOLOGY IS CATCHING UP TO BUDDHISM BY CHRIS NIEBAUER
This book is especially fascinating if you’ve been regularly meditating for some time. It’s about how neuroscience is catching up with Yoga and Buddhism and how they affect your brain. It’s also an interesting read for scientifically minded spiritual seekers. The brain’s left hemisphere is where the language is processed. It is also responsible for categorizing and interpreting reality and recognizing patterns. To reduce the left brain’s chatter and lessen mental suffering, we can tap into our right brain consciousness by engaging in meditation. You will learn how yoga and meditation help the right brain and how the world looks like when the left brain goes offline.
4. YOGA APHORISMS OF PATANJALI
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a collection of 195 aphorisms on the theory and practice of yoga. Patanjali is also known as the father of yoga as he was the first to document the knowledge of ancient sages who formulated the methods of yoga, this book is a compilation of everything he learned. It talks in detail about Ashtanga yoga (eight-limb yoga) which has 8 steps: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharna, Dhyana, Samadhi. Most people only know about just few aspects of yoga mainly Asana and Pranayama. The book is a must read for you if you want to deeply understand the all aspects of the original yoga.
5. FLOW BY MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI
This book might seem a little odd to be on this list but I find it is actually very relevant. Flow is a positive psychology book about the psychology of optimal experience. The author analyses how we have given up the control of our experience to society and biology (the tendency for seeking instant gratification), we are driven by rewards and punishment from outside. The author suggests that we need to “reclaim experience” by performing activities by which we can reward ourselves and find meaning in
life. This book also has a small section on Yoga. The author says that Yoga, specifically Patanjali’s Yoga, is a well designed “flow activity”. Flow is a psychological state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the activity. He also talks about how yoga was used in ancient times to achieve complete control over consciousness and thus experience itself. Yoga is ultimately about enhancing your well-being through physical practices but if you are also interested in the psychology of well-being you will enjoy this book.