Reading about Yoga: An Independent Way to Better Practice
In our busy and chaotic life, most of us struggle to find time for ourselves, let alone engage in things that would help us unwind or pursue interests that would help us evolve better or attain wisdom or even broaden our thought process. To that effect, reading regularly is a luxury we clearly steer away from. Reading is not only entertaining in a way but is quite significant for our brain, increasing the blood flow and enhancing brain connectivity. It helps deepen one’s concentration and improves their ability to focus, as also reduce stress. Reading about yoga, in addition to training the mind to focus, also helps cultivate a discipline where you practice conscious breathwork, explore the mind and body connection and focus on your gaze. Reading about the science behind yoga and its practice stimulates mental concentration each time you pick up a yoga read.
Best Yoga Reads: Top 5 Yoga Books You Should Have in Your Library
Every student of yoga is exactly that: a student. Learning more about yoga takes place both on and off the mat. Yoga is more than asana; it’s about the whole of life – words, actions and thoughts. Reading is an essential part of taking yoga beyond simply a physical practice.
Best Overall Read: Light on Yoga - B.K.S Iyengar
Authored by B.K.S Iyengar and first published in 1966, Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika is considered a bible for scores of people who practice yoga daily. Abundant with nearly 200 postures and over 600 pictures, the book is one of the most practical and liberally illustrated guides by one of the world’s leading Yoga Teachers. Light on Yoga is a definitive source and comprehensive read for the initiated, in addition to being a good guidebook for a beginner seeking the health benefits of the discipline for the mind, body and soul. Priced at Rs. 399.20, Light on Yoga is available on bookishsanta.com.
Best for Beginners: The Yoga Beginner’s Bible - Tai Morello
For the stressed, lonely, depressed and anxious lot, who’s constantly dwelling on the past or hyperventilating about the future, for people who want to live a stress-free, productive and happier life, The Yoga Beginner’s Bible is a perfect choice. A book that can help you embark on an inner quest to peace, joy and bliss that we all are naturally attuned to when the chaos is silenced, The Yoga Beginner’s Bible gives you 30 poses apt for a beginner, introduces you to Yoga and provides you with a platform to help form a habit out of it as well as help you recognize the benefits of Yoga and more. Priced at Rs. 1,888 for a paperback read The Yoga Beginner’s Bible is available for purchase on Amazon.
Best with Illustrations - Yoga Anatomy - Leslie Kaminoff
An invaluable resource that presents each posture differently, with clear instructions and detailed anatomical illustrations, Yoga Anatomy is a colourful book that presents the most common Asanas, encompassing everything from breathing to standing, the use of different muscles and an understanding of how slight adjustments can reduce the efficacy or enhance the benefits of a particular posture and how the body stance, breath and spine are all fundamentally linked. Apt for both novices and experienced Yoga practitioners, Yoga Anatomy serves as an ultimate reference for instructors, practitioners and yoga enthusiasts alike. Priced at Rs.763 on flipkart.com.
An all inclusive: Yoga for Everyone - Dianne Bondy
For centuries, yoga enthusiasts have been seen bending backwards to adapt to the physical demands of their bodies. Now, Yoga for Everyone offers the readers an opportunity to do it the other way round! By conforming Yoga to their individual needs. With over 50 illustrations of Yoga poses in the Book, you will find variations to the classic asanas, in addition to performing the 10 sequences which combine varied poses into a single experience and aim on specific mental and physical benefits. Priced at Rs.1,475 plus taxes.
Best Memoir: Poser - Claire Dederer
Unlike any other book about Yoga, Poser is actually a book about life that’s witty, straight from the heart, sharp and cheeky. It is apt for all those people who’ve ever tried standing on their heads while keeping their feet on the ground! The author’s personal journey through the realm of Yoga helped her find her deep connection with herself, the poses she practiced and helped her understand as well as explore her identity as a mother, daughter, friend and wife. Priced at Rs.287 for a Paperback.
Some Other Essential Reads that Can Inspire Your Practice
Mudras of India: A Comprehensive Guide to the Hand Gestures of Yoga and Indian Dance - Cain Carroll
A comprehensive guide that offers over 200 photographed hand mudras with detailed instructions on their techniques, application, historical background, health and spiritual benefits, Mudras of India comes out with an extensively researched ensemble of mudras, and a guide to using them in dance or with yoga to communicate and to heal. The book is ideal for students and teachers of Yoga, Indian Dance and Spiritual Seekers or for anyone who’s interested in India’s rich cultural heritage and the background of Indian Mudras with their transformative healing benefits. Priced at Rs.2,378 on amazon.in.
The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras - Nischala Devi
The Secret Power of Yoga, authored by a world-renowned expert on Yoga, is a book that interprets Yoga Sutra from Patanjali, including the very basics of Yogic principles from a woman’s perspective. With her simple and personalized interpretations, the author has tried capturing the essence of each sutra and offers her recommendations on practices that can help you in varied ways to embrace the discipline of Yoga in your daily life both physically and spiritually. Priced at Rs.499, The Secret Power of Yoga is available on booklane.in.
The Key Poses of Yoga: Scientific Keys - Ray Long
The Key Poses of Yoga: Scientific Keys presents a scientific approach to understanding Hatha Yoga through 3D coloured illustrations of major muscles, ligaments and tendons. Describing the practice and benefits of Hand Yoga, the book reveals the physiological and anatomical truth of the core yoga poses and their unique functionality. It describes how specific muscle groups work in tandem to create an optimal form in a said pose and how that can in turn, deepen and stabilize the posture for optimum benefits. Priced at Rs.2,912 for the paperback version, The Key Poses of Yoga: Scientific Keys is a practical addition for an integrated approach to practicing Yoga and attaining maximum benefits.
Additional Benefits of Reading about Yoga
A transformational practice, Yoga not only changes you internally but also on the outside. Most of our upbringing has been formed on the ability to think and react and respond to situations in a certain way that may or may not be helpful or healthy necessarily. Reading about Yoga can help renew the way we think. It can help us understand the philosophy behind Yoga and integrate its core essence in our lives. It will help express effectively, communicate with others and inspire you to live better both on and off the mat!
Set Your Reading Goals
When you decide which book you want to read you must make sure that you keep it to yourself. After reading halfway through a book you may ask yourself, "Why am I reading this?" Don't worry. It happens to the best of us. In such a situation try to power through a book that you're not enjoying or finding useful you should just put it down and start reading something else.