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International Yoga Day: 5 Essential Reads for Your Inner Yogi

With the celebration of International Yoga Day (21st June) on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to delve into the ancient discipline that has garnered worldwide admiration.

Yoga is not merely a series of physical exercises, it’s an all-encompassing practice that unites mind, body, and spirit. It grounds us in the moment and connects us with our inner selves.

And what better way to deepen our understanding of this ancient practice than to curl up with a great book?

As part of this year’s celebrations, I’ve put together my yoga book recommendations – a list of five seminal books that shine a light on the profound wisdom of yoga. Each book provides practical advice alongside profound theoretical insights.

Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or just beginning your yoga journey, these books will enlighten, inspire, and guide you.

1. “Light on Yoga” by B.K.S. Iyengar

International Yoga Day book recommendations

Originally published in 1966, this book is also called the Bible of Yoga, and for good reason.

B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world, shares his wisdom on yoga philosophy, asanas (poses), pranayama (breathing), and meditation.

With over 600 photographs illustrating the postures and breathing exercises, Light on Yoga is an exhaustive guide, making it ideal for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. (Buy here).

2. “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” by Sri Swami Satchidananda

International Yoga Day books

The Yoga Sutras are a fundamental text in the philosophy of Yoga.

They are composed of 196 aphorisms that guide you on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.

Published in 1978, Swami Satchidananda’s translation and commentary are particularly accessible, providing practical advice on incorporating these ancient principles into the modern, hectic life. (Buy here)

3. “The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living” by Stephen Cope

This book is Stephen Cope’s commentary and explanation of Patanjali’s yoga sutras. However, it is not a dry commentary, even though it is scholarly. 

International Yoga Day books

It’s a book for beginners, for those who don’t know what yoga is, and for advanced practitioners at the same time.

It takes the basic principles of yoga, opens them to the understanding of us all, and shows them applicability in different stories of his characters.

The author explores these teachings through modern people’s personal experiences, making this age-old wisdom relatable and digestible for contemporary readers. (Buy here)

4. “The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice” by T.K.V. Desikachar

Yoga book recommendations

Published in 1995, this gem of a book by Desikachar, the son of a renowned yogi, offers a holistic view of yoga.

Besides instruction on asana and pranayama, it discusses yoga’s philosophical aspects, the principles of sequencing, and the use of yoga as therapy.

It also includes a translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, making it a comprehensive resource.

5. “Yoga Anatomy” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews

Yoga Anatomy - Yoga book recommendations

For those interested in understanding the physical aspect of yoga more deeply, Yoga Anatomy is a must-read.

It provides a detailed view of the structures and principles underlying each yoga movement and posture, helping you perform each asana with more safety and effectiveness.

The authors also make sure not to mix up yoga ideas with science, keeping it clear for readers. They pay extra attention to breathing exercises in yoga. They even link these exercises with different yoga positions to help you see how they influence each other. (Buy here)

In a world that’s perpetually fast-paced, yoga provides an oasis of calm, teaching us to breathe, be present, and find balance.

The yoga book recommendations above offer diverse viewpoints to accompany us on our yoga voyage. However, their teachings reach beyond just the yoga mat.

These are guidebooks to a good life. They help us navigate the challenges of our world with grace, compassion, and inner strength.

In the immortal words of B.K.S. Iyengar, “Yoga does not just change the way we see things; it transforms the person who sees.” So this International Yoga Day, let’s embrace the transformative power of yoga, not only in our practice but also through the wisdom encapsulated in these books.

Happy reading, and even happier practicing!

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