The best books on yoga philosophy

The Books I Picked & Why

Autobiography of a Yogi

By Paramahansa Yogananda

Autobiography of a Yogi

Why this book?

If I were stranded on a desert island, the one book I would want would be Autobiography of a Yogi. It holds every principle we need for the evolution of consciousness, all within a captivating story of one yoga master’s fascinating life. I have read it 6 times now and every time I find new ah-ha’s and things that will improve my life. Since reading it the first time, I feel my capacity to love has increased exponentially and I understand far more about the purpose of life. 


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The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras

By Nischala Joy Devi

The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras

Why this book?

After reading more traditional versions of the Yoga Sutras and finding them a bit difficult to digest, this book made the classical yoga teachings much more understandable and applicable to my current experience of life. As a yoga teacher, I found new pragmatic ways to explain esoteric concepts to my students. This text was also a big inspiration for my own writing.  


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The Map of Consciousness Explained: A Proven Energy Scale to Actualize Your Ultimate Potential

By David R. Hawkins

The Map of Consciousness Explained: A Proven Energy Scale to Actualize Your Ultimate Potential

Why this book?

Although this book is not a ‘yoga’ text per se, it does outline the transformation of human consciousness in a way that is totally aligned with yoga philosophy. I found the explanation of the vibratory states of various levels of consciousness such as shame, desire, anger, joy to be fascinating, and the practical suggestions for applying theory into daily life have far-reaching effect. He also includes a section on addiction and the consciousness of recovery which is wonderful.


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The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita: An Introduction to India's Universal Science of God-Realization

By Paramahansa Yogananda

The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita: An Introduction to India's Universal Science of God-Realization

Why this book?

The Bhagavad Gita is the most complete text of yoga philosophy. It can however be difficult to understand, as it is presented through an allegorical battle, which represents the inner battle of every human life between the ego and the soul. This version makes the essential teachings clear and very relatable and has helped me in my understanding of my own identity. I refer to this text often when helping my students connect to their divine nature as well as their human personality self.


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The Holy Science

By Sri Yukteswar Giri

The Holy Science

Why this book?

For the serious student of yoga philosophy, this tiny book packs a mountain of wisdom as it establishes the inherent unity between the religious teachings of east and west. I particularly appreciated the explanation of the ‘mean-nesses of the heart’ which impede our spiritual progress. I find it is important to be aware of the obstacles that present themselves on the spiritual path so that I can prepare to overcome them and become a more compassionate and service-oriented person. For those interested in science, he also includes a great explanation of the ‘yugas’ or cycles of human existence.


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