Yoga practitioners and experts from many cultures and traditions continue to explaining their understanding of yoga on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. You could spend a lifetime reading these inspirational words and learn so much from new perspectives and shared experiences.
Here are our top 12 choices that we feel will support your training at Kranti Yoga. These are the books that have been read and loved by the team here. They are listed in no particular order.
1. Ashtanga Yoga; Practice & Philosophy by Gregor Maehle
This is the first book of its kind, presenting a comprehensive guide to all eight limbs of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Join author Gregor Maehle, a seasoned yogi and compassionate teacher, as he guides you through the history and lineage of yoga; the fundamentals of breath, bandhas (energy locks within the body), drishti (the focal point of the gaze), and vinyasa (sequential movement); a detailed breakdown of the asanas of the Ashtanga Primary Series, following the traditional vinyasa count; a lively and authentic rendering of the complete Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, yoga's ancient sacred text; and a glossary of yoga terminology.
A copy of this book is provided as part of the course materials for the 200/300 Hr YTTC.
2. The Key Muscles of Yoga by Ray Long
This book offers a scientific approach to understanding the practice of yoga. Through four-color, three-dimensional illustrations of major muscles, tendons, and ligaments, Ray Long describes the practice and benefits of yoga. Specific anatomical and physiological descriptions highlight the agonist, antagonist, and synergist muscles that come into play with each pose. Volume I of the series describes the key muscles of yoga and how they are utilised. From beginners to experts, this book will become a constant companion.
3. Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews
With more asanas, vinyasas, full-color anatomical illustrations, and in-depth information, the second edition of "Yoga" "Anatomy" provides you with a deeper understanding of the structures and principles underlying each movement and of yoga itself. From breathing to inversions to standing poses, see how specific muscles respond to the movements of the joints; how alterations of a pose can enhance or reduce effectiveness; and how the spine, breathing, and body position are all fundamentally linked.
Whether you are just beginning your journey or have been practicing yoga for years, "Yoga Anatomy" will be an invaluable resource, one that allows you to see each movement in an entirely new light. With "Yoga Anatomy, Second Edition," authors Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, both internationally recognized experts and teachers in anatomy, breathing, and bodywork, have created the ultimate reference for yoga practitioners, instructors, and enthusiasts alike.
4. Yoga Mala by Sri K Patthabi Jois
One of the great yoga figures of our time, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois brought Ashtanga yoga to the West more than thirty years ago. Based on flowing, energetic movement coordinated with the breath, Ashtanga and the many forms of vinyasa yoga that grow directly out of it have become the most widespread and influential styles practiced today.
Yoga Mala—a “garland of yoga”—is Jois’s authoritative guide to Ashtanga. In it, he outlines the ethical principles and philosophy underlying the discipline, explains important terms and concepts, and guides the reader through Ashtanga’s Sun Salutations and the subsequent primary sequence of forty-two asanas, or poses, precisely describing how to execute each position and what benefits each provides. It is a foundational work on yoga by a true master.
5. The Heart of Yoga – by T. K. V. Desikachar
The first yoga text to outline a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to Viniyoga, yoga adapted to the needs of the individual. This new edition adds thirty-two poems by Krishnamacharya that capture the essence of his teachings. Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who lived to be over 100 years old, was one of the greatest yogis of the modern era. Elements of Krishnamacharya's teaching have become well known around the world through the work of B. K. S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi, who all studied with Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya's son T. K. V. Desikachar lived and studied with his father all his life and now teaches the full spectrum of Krishnamacharya's yoga. Desikachar has based his method on Krishnamacharya's fundamental concept of Viniyoga, which maintains that practices must be continually adapted to the individual's changing needs to achieve the maximum therapeutic value. In "The Heart of Yoga" Desikachar offers a distillation of his father's system as well as his own practical approach, which he describes as "a program for the spine at every level, physical, mental, and spiritual." This is the first yoga text to outline a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to the age-old principles of yoga. Desikachar discusses all the elements of yoga: poses and counterposes, conscious breathing, meditation, and philosophy. It shows how the yoga student may develop a practice tailored to his or her current state of health, age, occupation, and lifestyle.
6. Asana Pranayma, Mudra, Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha is recognised internationally as one of the most systematic yoga manuals today. Since its first publication by the Bihar School of yoga in 1969 it has been reprinted seventeen times and translated into many languages. This comprehensive text provides clear illustrations with step by step directions and details of chakra awareness. It guides the practitioner or teacher from the simplest to the most advanced practices of Hatha Yoga. A therapeutic index is provided for use by doctors and yoga therapists incorporating recent information from research into yoga. This edition successfully brings the exposition of yoga practices to the standard of a university text. This latest Fourth Revised Edition has been revised and updated under the direction of Swami Niranjananda Saraswati,the successor of Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Since publication of the first edition,interest in yoga has spread widely. Now the book is used in ashrams, centres and yoga schools in many countries as the standard textbook for teachers and students alike. The techniques presented have been assimilated by fields as diverse as medicine, education, entetainment, business, sports and the training of spiritual aspirants.
7. Yoga Meditation: Through Mantra, Chakras and Kundalini to Spiritual Freedom by Gregor Maehle
This book not only gives a precise step-by-step description of the meditation technique at the heart of yoga but also puts it into context with all other yogic techniques and how they contribute to the break- through to spiritual freedom. Yogic meditation derives its power from the fact that it systematically suspends the entire processing capacity of the subconscious mind and diverts it towards meditation. The processing power of the subconscious mind is a multiple of that of the conscious mind. Simply watching breath or watching awareness involves only your conscious mind. For quick and effective concentration the entire power of the subconscious mind has to be harnessed. This is the secret of yogic meditation. You will also find information on the importance of Kundalini as support for meditation and the factors that make it rise, such as chakra and Sushumna visualization, mantra and breath. The text then explains how the chakras represent evolutionary stages of brain and mind development. Chakra meditation, if done in a sophisticated, high-powered way, will propel the evolution of the brain and mind of the practitioner and the awakening of higher intelligence.
8. Pranayama, The Breath of Yoga by Gregor Maehle
In his third book Gregor Maehle aims at bringing about a renaissance of pranayama, the yogic school of breathing. For millennia pranayama was considered to be the quintessential yogic limb, yoga’s main motor for spiritual evolution. To show pranayama’s importance, Maehle supports his findings at every turn with hundreds of quotations from yogic scriptures. With unprecedented detail, the author shows how pranayama is used to connect posture practice to yogic meditation and why it will accelerate progress in both. Gregor Maehle has been practising and researching all aspects of yoga since 1982. He lived for several years in India studying with a variety of yogic masters and sadhus.
9. Four Chapters on Freedom by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Four Chapters on Freedom contains the full Sanskrit text of Rishi Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as well as a translation and an extensive commentary. The Yoga Sutras, containing 196 epithets or threads of yoga, is the most respected treatise on yoga. In his commentary on each verse, Swami Satyananda Saraswati fully explains the text and the path of Raja Yoga. Serious yogic aspirants and spiritual seekers will find invaluable guidance within these pages.
10. God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
The Bhagavad Gita is India's most sacred text: the Hindu "Bible". Yogananda's translation and commentary brings a unique and deeply penetrating insight into this great scripture, which is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive books available on the science and philosophy of Yoga. God Talks With Arjuna explains the Bhagavad Gita's profoundest spiritual, psychological, and metaphysical truths, long obscured by metaphor and allegory. Yogananda takes Lord Krishna's counsel to the warrior Arjuna and applies it to our everyday struggles with the human ego. Our greatest battle he explains, like Arjuna's, takes place within our own minds as we fight our doubts, fears, negative habits, self-defeating thoughts, and erroneous thinking. Appealing to scholar and general reader alike, there is no other Gita on the market as attractive, and comprehensive.
11. Prakriti - Dr Robert E. Svoboda
Dr. Svoboda's original work on the constitutional types in Ayurveda has been considered a classic for many years. His new revision and expansion of the subject comes after much further research and practical experience. Dr. Vasant Lad points out: "The healing science of Ayurveda is based totally upon the knowledge of "prakriti", the individual constitution. If every individual knows his own constitution, then one can understand, for instance, what is a good diet and style of life for oneself. One man's food is another man's poison. Therefore, to make one's life healthy, happy and balanced, the knowledge of constitution is absolutely necessary.”
12. Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy by Mukunda Stiles
Mukunda steers away from an increasing tendency to 'medicalize' yoga therapy by avoiding prescriptive recommendations for specific medical diagnoses. He presents sequences of vinyasa and pranayama suited to the various Ayurvedic body types. Yoga therapists and practitioners using this book can access a deeper level of preventative self-care, attuning to the rhythm of each individual. Enlivened by wisdom teachings, it provides food for body, soul and spirit, guiding practitioners towards fulfillment of their potential.