The best yoga books for serious yogis and meditators

Who am I?

I was born in New York, live in London, have an Indian name, and a Polish grandmother. I’ve lived and worked worldwide, running yoga centers in New York, London, New Delhi, and the Himalayas; I’ve also worked as a spice merchant, magazine editor, and pilgrimage leader. My incentive in writing is to inspire people to practise yoga and meditation – and my books tend to be practical as well as theoretical. In addition to teaching and writing, I’ve spent extensive time doing personal practice in the Himalayas, and I hold an MA degree in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London.

I wrote...

Sitting Comfortably: Preparing the Mind and Body for Peaceful Meditation

By Swami Saradananda,

Book cover of Sitting Comfortably: Preparing the Mind and Body for Peaceful Meditation

What is my book about?

Sitting Comfortably is a complete guide to setting up an enjoyable long-term meditation practice. It is the only book to focus on the physicality of meditation, providing a valuable tool that can aid in bringing the mind and body into synchronicity. Whether you are a student of mindfulness, Buddhism, a yoga practitioner, or simply wishing to boost your well-being through meditation, this book will help you to overcome obstacles to your practice.

Sitting Comfortably illustrates stretches, simple yoga poses, and breathing techniques to help you sit more comfortably; it also outlines diet and lifestyle tips and much more. With evocative artwork, serene photography, and step-by-step guidance, it is the ultimate guide for preparing for a sustainable meditation practice.

The books I picked & why

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Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization

By David Dr Frawley,

Book cover of Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization

Why this book?

This is my go-to book whenever I need to clarify yoga concepts in my mind, for the purpose of my own personal practice and/or for my teaching. I find that it guides and connects me to subtle inner energies that most other books only mention. Dr. Frawley explains complex terms in simple, but precise language. He seems to really know what he is writing about from first-hand experience, as well as in theory.

The Unadorned Thread of Yoga

By Salvatore Zambito,

Book cover of The Unadorned Thread of Yoga

Why this book?

I constantly refer to this book in my teaching and personal study of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. The word ‘sutra’ means ‘thread’ and Zambito definitely helps me to untangle the webs that many books on the subject seem to weave.

This book expertly defines and delineates the technical, meta-psychological, and meditative premises of the classic text on yoga. It breaks down each verse, explains each word, and also gives 12 well-known translations for each individual sutra.

Bhagavad Gita

By Swami Sivananda,

Book cover of Bhagavad Gita

Why this book?

I purchased my original copy of this text many years ago; it has been my constant companion ever since. I’ve since learned that the Bhagavad Gita was the one book that Thoreau had with him during his time at Walden Pond – and this was back in the 19th Century.

Written prior to the commercialization of yoga, Sivananda's translation of the Gita is pure and traditional. He caters to serious yoga practitioners; the text is not watered down nor does it push any sectarian agenda. The comments are filled with deep insights from a person who is widely acknowledged to have been one of India's great spiritual teachers of the 20th century.

Tools for Tantra

By Harish Johari,

Book cover of Tools for Tantra

Why this book?

I have a special interest in yantras, and this book is the best and clearest explanation I’ve found. It inspired me to include yantras in a Teach Meditation course that I give to yoga teachers – and also to write my Master’s dissertation on the Sri Yantra.

In case readers are unfamiliar with the term ‘yantra’, it refers to precise geometric constructions that have been used by yoga practitioners for centuries as visual tools for the attainment of inner peace. Johari explains their forms, associated practices, and spiritual applications. Until he wrote this book, this information was mostly unavailable to modern practitioners.

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing

By Christiane Northrup,

Book cover of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing

Why this book?

Although technically not a yoga book, I have included it on my list, as the majority of modern yoga practitioners are women. I found this book to be both groundbreaking and inspirational. Northrup is a holistic physician who explains not only the physical workings of the body, but also how many health problems can relate energetically to such yoga concepts as the chakras.

This is a very large book that is obviously not meant to be read cover to cover. I keep it on my shelf and dip into it from time to time to get a deeper understanding of the chemistry, anatomy, and physiology of the human body.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in yoga, health, and Ayurveda?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Eat Feel Fresh, The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita, and Yoga Revolution if you like this list.