PS is practicing yoga since the age of 11. Her yoga retreats in India have helped her gain deep insights into self-awareness.
It's around 2nd century BCE when Indian sage Patanjali wrote the book Yoga Sutras to spread awareness about the power of yoga. It's a historical proof that many sages have gained wisdom and enlightenment through the regular practice of yoga throughout the centuries. But it was only in the 20th century when Swami Vivekananda visited west to share the knowledge of yoga. Since then, there's been widespread popularity of learning yoga across the globe.
Today, you can find yoga instructors and yoga gurus in every corner of the world. While these people can help you understand the practicality of yoga, it is also equally important to understand the theoretical nature of yoga. You must know why certain yoga poses and practices exist and how they benefit your well-being.
For this reason, here is a list of the top 5 books based on yoga practices. Each of these books is written by well-acknowledged sages and yoga gurus. If you choose any one of these books, then that's perfectly all right. But each of these authors hails from different places and have gone through the process of enlightenment in their own way. Reading different views will help you better understand the varied nature of different lives and how these lives, eventually, unite in one place.
1. Kundalini Tantra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Kundalini Tantra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati is the most enlightening book I have ever read on Kundalini yoga. In fact, most of the yoga schools in India recommend this book to the yoga aspirants.
- Swami Satyananda was a yoga teacher and sannyasin.
- He was highly educated in Vedas and Upanishads.
- He also studied and spoke Sanskrit fluently.
- He used to teach his disciples mainly about raja yoga and kriya yoga and how to begin their path to kundalini awakening.
- Kundalini Tantra discusses also aspects of spiritual awakening.
- It starts from the lowest point in human beings to the highest.
- If you ever found it difficult to believe in the concept of kundalini or have confusion regarding its strength, then this book has all the answers for you.
- The book also mentions the methods to awaken the chakras and how to balance them.
- You will also find the description of the 20 most important kundalini kriyas.
- At the end of the book, there’s also great detail about scientific researches being conducted to prove the existence of kundalini energy.
- It also has an interview section with Swami Vivekananda.
- The book also mentions the possible side effects and changes in you when you start to experience the spiritual awakening.
- It also teaches you the correct method of awakening the chakras and also explains the reasons along with it.
- As per my experience, this book gives you insights on how to live a better life and rise above all your obstacles.
Each of us is curious to know more about higher realms, but rarely any of us knows what it is truly like, so it’s better to hear it from the experts. By the time, you are done reading this book, you’ll know at what stage you are currently living your life and how to upgrade it. Also, you’ll learn how many chakras are currently lying inactive and dormant states within your body.
2. Beyond enlightenment by Osho
Beyond Enlightenment is not basically a yoga-based book. Still, I recommend you to read it.
During his lifetime, Osho has always been a controversial figure, yet his teachings are unparalleled and no one can deny it. His book, Beyond Enlightenment, is the perfect example of it. He was known for spirituality and mysticism as well as for asserting an open attitude towards human sexuality, which was unaccepted by various popular figures. But his teachings always came from his soul. If you read his book, you'll always imagine him as a saint guru.
- The reason why I chose to include this book is that it doesn’t necessarily elaborate any detail about yoga forms, but it clears your pathway to understand the true meaning of spirituality.
- The main aim of yoga is to attain spiritual awakening, which is also called enlightenment.
- Many yoga practitioners, when start to manifest different visions on their journey to perfecting yoga, come up with various life-based questions and other similar queries.
- This book is a perfect solution to such questions and other related mysteries.
- It, in fact, covers the after-effects of successful kundalini yoga practice.
- It clearly describes the meaning of absolute nothingness that exists beyond the realm of human ordinary consciousness.
- You’ll also learn the whole truth about the life of a mystic.
- Irrespective of where you come from, this book is a must-read for anyone who ever paused to think about the life purposes and its ultimate goals.
Enlightenment has become such a fancy word for everyone that it’s important to understand what does it really means. While there are many experts who promise you to make an enlightened being, I recommend you to read this book at least once to know if these experts are really worth it. Take some time out of your busy schedule and dip into its words. This is a perfect opportunity for you to begin the journey of self-exploration.
3. The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
Bhagavad Gita is the most important part of Hindu scripture. It covers Bhakti, Jnana, Karma, and Raja yoga. It is based on the philosophy of Samkhya-yoga. Paramhansa Yogananda, a monk and a yogi, is highly regarded for his teachings on Kriya yoga meditation. In this book, he elaborates on the teachings of Lord Krishna.
- The book describes what it really means to gain knowledge of yoga and what's the best way to procure it.
- Though it is exclusively linked to Hinduism, Yogananda also mentions that it is a birthright of all individuals to attain the state of self-realization / God-realization.
- The book explains the working methods of yoga and how it changes the ordinary consciousness of human beings.
- It will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand the real meaning of yoga and how it's not just some physical exercise, but also the path to inner peace, joy, and divine union.
- Reading this book will help you learn the form of yoga that you follow is just a tiny part of actual yoga philosophy. Hatha and Ashtanga yoga are only the roots, there's a whole tree for you to discover.
- Along with this book, Yogananda has written a book called The Yoga of Jesus. Through both the books, he describes how each individual is worthy of walking down the path of self-realization irrespective of where they come from.
Though born in northern parts of India, Yogananda has spent nearly 32 years of his lifetime in the west to teach the art of balance and yoga meditation. He also emphasized on the unity of the world's great religions. He is said to be among the first few spiritual figures who traveled west to educate people about spirituality. Steve Jobs, the renowned American business magnate, was also a great follower of Paramahansa Yogananda. He adhered to his teachings to attain spirituality. He always mentioned 'Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda' as the best inspirational book he ever read.
4. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Sri Swami Satchidananda
The book is a translation of original Yoga Sutras written by Indian sage Patanjali between 500 BCE and 400 BCE. Sri Swami Satchidananda was a religious teacher, yoga expert, and spiritual master. He is widely known both in western and eastern countries.
- He has remarkably translated this book from Sanskrit to layman's language that anyone can easily grasp its meaning.
- The book primarily focuses on the power of Raja yoga.
- Alain Daniélou, a renowned French historian who ultimately converted to Hinduism, called Raja yoga, 'the royal way to integrate the ordinary being with the divine being'.
- The book mentions the original Sutras in Sanskrit along with their English translation.
- It covers the perfect definition of meditation, ethics, physical postures, and also provides directions to deal with the situations of daily life.
- Using his own experience, Swami Satchidananda has given practical advice on how to bring physical, mental, and emotional harmony and master the complexities of your mind.
Swami Satchidananda is one of the most respected yoga gurus of today's time. His teachings are applicable to current scenarios. Each of his books perfectly covers the problems and different circumstances of today's lifestyle. Anyone who faces addiction or depression issues must definitely read this book. It will give them mental strength to deal with inner conflicts.
5. BKS Iyengar Yoga Path To Holistic Health by BKS Iyengar
BKS Iyengar was the founder of 'Iyengar yoga'. He was one of the preeminent yoga teachers in the world. He was awarded Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan for his contribution to yoga.
- The book primarily focuses on yoga as physical exercise. It is suitable for all age groups and applicable to all types of physical conditions.
- It gives detailed instructions to suit students of all the levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
- This is a must-have for those who have always practiced yoga all by themselves. Through this book, they can validate their technique and improve it.
- There's also a special section dedicated to how to deal with various ailments by certain yoga postures.
- The book also includes a 20-week yoga course that begins from simple exercises to advanced ones.
- If you have ever struggled to decide which yoga postures suite you the best, then this is a perfect go-to guide for you.
- You will not only learn the yoga techniques, but also learn the reasons for why they are performed in a certain manner.
- It is highly recommended for aspiring yoga instructors.
According to several people who have practiced the instructions given in this book say, they have managed to get rid of various ailments without seeking the help of a medical expert.
BKS Iyengar has also mentioned about his early life, family, and education. He has also given a detailed history of yoga. In short, this is a comprehensive yoga guide for anyone who wishes to improve their life and boost their health and mental capacity. The book mainly covers the Hatha and Ashtanga yoga techniques.
All these books don't cover just one but different forms of yoga. This includes Raja yoga, Kundalini yoga, Hatha yoga, Ashtang yoga, and Karma yoga. If you want to acknowledge yourself with the power of yoga, then don't go for one, rather read all these five books to enlighten yourself.
There are many more books but I have hope these five substantially cover the major aspects of a yogic lifestyle.
© 2020 PS Tavishi
Pramodkumar Nair on July 12, 2020:
Thanks for the guiding us though with your valuable inputs.
Rose McCoy on June 13, 2020:
This is a really thorough article—and useful, too! I love yoga. I’ve only recently started practicing it, but it always helps to calm me down and bring be back to my center. Maybe one of these books will help even more! :)