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.

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The books I picked & why

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

Swami Saradananda Why did I love 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.

By David Dr Frawley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yoga & Ayurveda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Yoga & Ayurveda together form a complete approach for optimal health, vitality and higher awareness.


Book cover of The Unadorned Thread of Yoga

Swami Saradananda Why did I love 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.

By Salvatore Zambito,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unadorned Thread of Yoga as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Defines and delineates the technical, metapsychological, and meditative premises of the philosophical and practical fields of Yoga. This title provides tools for English-speaking students to immerse themselves in the Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, allowing them to make the path of yoga intimately their own.


Book cover of Bhagavad Gita

Swami Saradananda Why did I love 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.

By Swami Sivananda,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bhagavad Gita as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Bhagavadgita is one phase of the Tripod of Indian philosophy and culture, the other two phases being the Upanishads and the Brahmasutras. While the Upanishads lay the foundation of the loftiest reach possible for humanity and the Brahmasutras logically elucidate the intricate issues involved in the Upanishads, the Bhagavadgita blends together the Transcendent and the Immanent features of the Ultimate Reality, bringing together into an integrated whole knowledge and action, the inner and the outer, the individual and the society, man and God, all which are portrayed as facets of a Universal Operation, presenting entire life and all life…


Book cover of Tools for Tantra

Swami Saradananda Why did I love 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.

By Harish Johari,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tools for Tantra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tantric yantras are precise geometric forms that have been used for centuries as tools for self-realization and the attainment of mystical powers. In Tools for Tantra, Tantric practitioner and scholar Harish Johari has re-created the exact colors and proportions of the primordial yantras along with step-by-step instructions for their accurate construction, coloring, and use.


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

Swami Saradananda Why did I love 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.

By Christiane Northrup,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling guide to physical and emotional wellness for women of all ages—fully revised and updated for 2020
 
“A masterpiece for every woman who has an interest in her body, her mind, and her soul.”—Caroline Myss, Ph.D., author of Anatomy of the Spirit
 
“I recommend Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom to all women and also to all men who want to understand and nourish the women in their lives.”—Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of Ageless Body, Timeless Mind
 
Emphasizing the body’s innate wisdom and ability to heal, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom covers the entire range of women’s health—from the…


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A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

By Nita Sweeney,

Book cover of A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

Nita Sweeney Author Of How to Make Every Move a Meditation: Mindful Movement for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Insight

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a thirty-year meditator, certified meditation leader, and award-winning author, it’s my job to keep up on the latest books about mindfulness and Zen practice. Despite seeing new volumes being published regularly, I return to these books as great sources of solid practice information. Each of these authors explains meditation in accessible terms, easy for readers to follow and understand. I can’t remember who said that a confused reader is an antagonistic reader, but they are right. The books I’ve suggested offer clarity. They help readers begin or continue their practice and understand how and why meditation is worth their time.

Nita's book list on why meditation is worth your time and effort

What is my book about?

Reduce stress, ease anxiety, and increase inner peace—one day at a time—with a year of easy-to-follow mindfulness meditation techniques. Certified mindfulness teacher, bestselling author, ultramarathoner, wife, and dog-mom Nita Sweeney shares mindfulness meditation practices to help anyone break free from worry and self-judgment.

Mindfulness meditation trains you to live in the present moment—the now. Feel calmer. Think more clearly. Respond more effectively and enjoy a more fulfilling life. Even in tiny doses, mindfulness is scientifically proven to enhance physical and mental health, boost creativity, and improve cognition function.

A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

By Nita Sweeney,


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