100 books like The Wisdom of Patañjali's Yoga Sutras

By Ravi Ravindra,

Here are 100 books that The Wisdom of Patañjali's Yoga Sutras fans have personally recommended if you like The Wisdom of Patañjali's Yoga Sutras. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying

Eyal Shifroni Author Of The Extended Chair for Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Iyengar Yoga Practice with a Chair

From my list on essential to the study of yoga.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by yoga and the wonderful stories about yogis. When I was in the fourth grade, studying the subject of 'India', I taught myself to stand on my head and fold my legs in the lotus position. I love practicing yoga – every morning, I thank the Gurus and teachers from whom I learned! I've taught yoga for almost 40 years now and strongly believe that the practice and teaching of yoga, done with devotion and love can transform one's life for the good. I wrote 7 books about yoga (the last, Yoga in Nature is forthcoming) I regularly write articles on yoga and have translated two of B.K.S. Iyengar's books into Hebrew.

Eyal's book list on essential to the study of yoga

Eyal Shifroni Why did Eyal love this book?

This is an extraordinary journey book of a yogi who was identified at a very young age as a Tulku - reincarnate custodian of a specific lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Mingyur Rinpoche was taken at a very young age to a monastery to receive a Buddhist education. Since his childhood, he was fascinated by the wandering yogis of his tradition (like Naropa and Milarepa). At the age of 34, when he was a respected authority of Tibetan Buddhism and a renowned master who was teaching around the world, he decided to become a wandering yogi and embark on a solitary journey. He soon encountered many difficulties, including life-threatening situations which he describes with an amazing sincerity. His story shows how even a master encounters mental and emotional upheavals like all of us but then is able to apply his skill in meditation to restore his peace and equanimity.

By Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Helen Tworkov,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked In Love with the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rare, intimate account of a world-renowned Buddhist monk’s near-death experience and the life-changing wisdom he gained from it

“One of the most inspiring books I have ever read.”—Pema Chödrön, author of When Things Fall Apart

“This book has the potential to change the reader’s life forever.”—George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo

At thirty-six years old, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche was a rising star within his generation of Tibetan masters and the respected abbot of three monasteries. Then one night, telling no one, he slipped out of his monastery in India with the intention of spending the next four…


Book cover of Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga...

Eyal Shifroni Author Of The Extended Chair for Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Iyengar Yoga Practice with a Chair

From my list on essential to the study of yoga.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by yoga and the wonderful stories about yogis. When I was in the fourth grade, studying the subject of 'India', I taught myself to stand on my head and fold my legs in the lotus position. I love practicing yoga – every morning, I thank the Gurus and teachers from whom I learned! I've taught yoga for almost 40 years now and strongly believe that the practice and teaching of yoga, done with devotion and love can transform one's life for the good. I wrote 7 books about yoga (the last, Yoga in Nature is forthcoming) I regularly write articles on yoga and have translated two of B.K.S. Iyengar's books into Hebrew.

Eyal's book list on essential to the study of yoga

Eyal Shifroni Why did Eyal love this book?

I first met my Guru, B.K.S Iyengar, in 1988; since then, I kept coming back to his center in Pune, India, every other year for a month of study, until his passing away in 2014. Light on Yoga is ever a source of inspiration for me. I come back to it almost daily when I am on my yoga mat, I read and study the instruction given by Iyengar while trying to perform the asanas shown in the photos. B.K.S Iyengar is a renowned teacher and Guru. Light on Yoga, which came out in the '60s, soon became 'the bible of yoga.' It contains photos of Iyengar demonstrating the asanas (yoga postures) with amazing precision and clarity. 

By B.K.S. Iyengar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive guide to the philosophy and practice of Yoga--the ancient healing discipline for body and mind--by its greatest living teacher. Light on Yoga provides complete descriptions and illustrations of all the positions and breathing exercises. Features a foreword by Yehudi Menuhin. Illustrations throughout.


Book cover of The Tree of Yoga

Eyal Shifroni Author Of The Extended Chair for Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Iyengar Yoga Practice with a Chair

From my list on essential to the study of yoga.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by yoga and the wonderful stories about yogis. When I was in the fourth grade, studying the subject of 'India', I taught myself to stand on my head and fold my legs in the lotus position. I love practicing yoga – every morning, I thank the Gurus and teachers from whom I learned! I've taught yoga for almost 40 years now and strongly believe that the practice and teaching of yoga, done with devotion and love can transform one's life for the good. I wrote 7 books about yoga (the last, Yoga in Nature is forthcoming) I regularly write articles on yoga and have translated two of B.K.S. Iyengar's books into Hebrew.

Eyal's book list on essential to the study of yoga

Eyal Shifroni Why did Eyal love this book?

This book inspires me so much that I translated it to Hebrew (my own native tongue) to make it available for Hebrew readers. Iyengar uses the metaphor of a tree to explain the eight-limbed (ashtanga) yoga of Patanjali. I like this book so much because Iyengar uses simple words to explain the deep concepts of yoga philosophy. He brings many examples and stories that illustrate his ideas in a very lively manner. The main theme of the book is that all of the 8 limbs of yoga (ethics, self-restraint, postures, breath control, control of the senses, concentration, meditation & Samadhi) can be achieved by the dedicated and zealous practice of the 3rd and 4th limbs, namely asanas (postures) and pranayama (breath control).

By B.K.S. Iyengar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Iyengar developed a form of yoga that focuses on developing strength, endurance, correct body alignment, as well as flexibility and relaxation. The Iyengar method integrates philosophy, spirituality, and the practice of yoga into everyday living. In The Tree of Yoga, Iyengar offers his thoughts on many practical and philosophical subjects including family life, love and sexuality, health and the healing arts, meditation, death, and Patañjali's Yoga Sutras. This new edition features a foreword by Patricia Walden, a leading American teacher of the Iyengar style.


Book cover of Under the Banyan Tree: Overcoming Fear and Sorrow

Eyal Shifroni Author Of The Extended Chair for Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Iyengar Yoga Practice with a Chair

From my list on essential to the study of yoga.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by yoga and the wonderful stories about yogis. When I was in the fourth grade, studying the subject of 'India', I taught myself to stand on my head and fold my legs in the lotus position. I love practicing yoga – every morning, I thank the Gurus and teachers from whom I learned! I've taught yoga for almost 40 years now and strongly believe that the practice and teaching of yoga, done with devotion and love can transform one's life for the good. I wrote 7 books about yoga (the last, Yoga in Nature is forthcoming) I regularly write articles on yoga and have translated two of B.K.S. Iyengar's books into Hebrew.

Eyal's book list on essential to the study of yoga

Eyal Shifroni Why did Eyal love this book?

Tich Nhat Hana is a Vietnamese monk and a peace and social activist. His writings reflect beautifully his gentle, kind, and compassionate personality. He wrote more than a hundred books, so choosing one to recommend was difficult. However, Under the Banyan Tree especially appeals to me, since while reading it you can almost hear Tich Nhat Hana's voice talking to you, explaining in simple words the deep insight of Buddhism. I was so inspired by his books and Web-teachings, that I went to study with him in Plum Village – the center he built in France. 

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Banyan Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Under the Banyan Tree: Overcoming Fear and Sorrow


Book cover of The Essential Yoga Sutra: Ancient Wisdom for Your Yoga

Alex Hillman Author Of The Tiny MBA: 100 Very Short Lessons about the Long Game of Business

From my list on for solo founders building businesses.

Who am I?

Alex Hillman is always thinking about the intersection of people, relationships, trust, and business. He’s an author, educator, and community builder. These days, he splits his time between operating Indy Hall, which is one of the oldest coworking spaces in the world; teaching creative people how to bootstrap their own businesses at Stacking the Bricks; and collaborating with people and organizations towards the goal of helping 10,000 people become sustainably independent by 2029.

Alex's book list on for solo founders building businesses

Alex Hillman Why did Alex love this book?

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is how to manage my own fear and excitement. How we react to the world around us is one of the few things we are truly in control of! This is the book that helped me most to shift the way I perceive and react to things, allowing me to live more calmly in my work and my life even in the face of complexity, fear, even success. 

This book is weirdly simple, almost child-like in its cadence, but don’t let the simplicity fool you. I found it valuable to sit with the short parables and examples especially when I’m having an emotional response surrounding a business decision. 

This was the first book based on Buddhist teachings that I ever read and made sense to me in a practical way. The writing style is strange (and the author has a truly bizarre…

By Geshe Michael Roach, Lama Christie McNally,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is a classic Sanskrit treatise consisting of 195 “threads,” or aphorisms, describing the process of liberation through yoga. Although little is known about Patanjali (most scholars estimate that he lived in India circa 200–300 B.C.), his writings have long been recognized as a vital contribution to the philosophy and practice of yoga. This new, expert translation of the original Sanskrit text of Patanjali’s best-known work presents his seminal ideas and methods in accessible, plain-language English.

Patanjali organized the sutra into four parts: Samadhi (absorption), Sadhana (practice), Vibhuti (supernatural powers), and Kaivalya (liberation). Each represents a…


Book cover of The Science of Yoga

Maetreyii Ma Nolan Author Of Living Love the Yoga of Yama & Niyama: Timeless Teachings for Transformation and Awakening

From my list on spiritual awakening and personal transformation.

Who am I?

My passion for spiritual books is a result of my meditation and the love I have for the Divine. I feel that my life has been touched by the grace of the Infinite. My books are from this communion I feel. I have an extensive history of journeys to India to see my guru, being a clinical psychologist, developing and teaching Yoga Teacher Trainings and Yoga Therapy Trainings, being an ordained yogic minister, or Acharya, and of many years of meditation, but all of that is only the outer trappings. The real inspiration for my writings is the Infinite Self, the Divine Beloved in which all that is abides.

Maetreyii's book list on spiritual awakening and personal transformation

Maetreyii Ma Nolan Why did Maetreyii love this book?

This is my favorite version of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Often called the father of yoga, in the yoga sutras, Patanjali lays out the eightfold path of Yoga and goes into detail about how to work with our minds to move from ignorance to self-realization. Most versions of the Yoga Sutras also have commentary by the author on each sutra.

I have found that, except for a few ideas about celibacy, Taimni is very insightful, and many of his commentaries have brought my mind into states of bliss and Divine absorption.

These sutras are powerful readings and a direct scriptural source of Truth and Wisdom.

By I. K. Taimni,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Commentary on Patanjali's sutras. Updated edition.


Book cover of The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali: Translation, and Commentary

Daniel Simpson Author Of The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga's History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices

From my list on the truth of yoga.

Who am I?

I've been studying yoga in various forms since my first trip to India in the 1990s. I began as a curious tourist, attending the world's biggest human gathering (the Kumbh Mela). After working as a foreign correspondent—initially for Reuters then The New York Times—I returned to university, earning a master's degree in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation. I've since taught courses at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, on yoga teacher trainings, and via my website. The Truth of Yoga is the book I wish I'd found when I started exploring.

Daniel's book list on the truth of yoga

Daniel Simpson Why did Daniel love this book?

The most insightful guide to the best-known text about yoga philosophy. Among other things, it explains why yoga isn't all about "eight limbs", since the main technique is one-pointed focus and physical contortions are later inventions. Patañjali’s pithy one-liners are hard to interpret without more context. Instead of filling in the gaps to fit modern assumptions, Bryant draws on traditional commentaries to clarify meanings. 

By Edwin F. Bryant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Written almost two millennia ago, Patanjali's work focuses on how to attain the direct experience and realization of the purusa: the innermost individual self, or soul. As the classical treatise on the Hindu understanding of mind and consciousness and on the technique of meditation, it has exerted immense influence over the religious practices of Hinduism in India and, more recently, in the West. Edwin F. Bryant's translation is clear, direct, and exact. Each sutra is presented as Sanskrit text, transliteration, and precise English translation, and is followed by Bryant's authoritative commentary, which is grounded in the classical understanding of yoga…


Book cover of The Unadorned Thread of Yoga

Swami Saradananda Author Of Sitting Comfortably: Preparing the Mind and Body for Peaceful Meditation

From my list on 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.

Swami's book list on serious yogis and meditators

Swami Saradananda Why did Swami 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 The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Courtney Seiberling Author Of YOGA's YAMAS and NIYAMAS: 10 Principles for Peace & Purpose

From my list on the philosophy behind yoga.

Who am I?

The physical practice of yoga transformed my relationship to my body, but the philosophy of yoga changed my life. When I began to study the Sutras, my mind became calmer; I had a greater capacity to listen and be patient in my relationships, and my quality of life improved. As I studied philosophy more, my perspective shifted from lack and blame to abundance and self-awareness. Knowing there is more to yoga than just the physical practice, I find it important to honor the tradition the way it was intended: as a whole system for the mind, body, and spirit to reduce the suffering of all beings.

Courtney's book list on the philosophy behind yoga

Courtney Seiberling Why did Courtney love this book?

We cannot understand what yoga is without studying The Yoga Sutras. The Sutras are the first documented text of yoga that describes how the mind works and how it gets in our way of seeing clearly. The Sutras tell us how to alter our thought patterns so we connect to the moment, see what’s really happening, and suffer less. They are the manual for the study and practice of yoga — ancient but still useful, concentrated, and meditative. They are a resource I come back to again and again and feel like an advice column from somewhere celestial. I’m partial to this translation because it was used in my teacher training, and after reading others, I find it the most down-to-earth while still honoring the tradition.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. This new edition of these timeless teachings is a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path. The classic Sutras (thought-threads), at least 4,000 years old, cover the yogic teachings on ethics, meditation, and physical postures, and provide directions for dealing with situations in daily life. The Sutras are presented here in the purest form, with the original Sanskrit and with translation, transliteration, and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, one of…


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

Jennie Lee Author Of True Yoga: Practicing with the Yoga Sutras for Happiness & Spiritual Fulfillment

From my list on yoga philosophy for those who want to dig deeper.

Who am I?

As a long-time student and teacher of yoga, I have read extensively on the philosophy and practice of this ancient science. After 25 years, I still discover daily, new benefits as I deepen my understanding of this tradition’s peace-bringing principles. Because I have found so much personal wellbeing through yoga, I made a career as a yoga therapist, coaching others in the yogic practices which help us establish inner peace, balance, and joy. Hundreds of clients have given me feedback in the benefits they too have received by integrating these teachings. Through the embodiment of yoga philosophy, we can truly transform our consciousness and reunite body, soul, and spirit.

Jennie's book list on yoga philosophy for those who want to dig deeper

Jennie Lee Why did Jennie love 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.  

By Nischala Joy Devi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Secret Power of Yoga, world-renowned Yoga expert Nischala Joy Devi interprets Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the principles at the basis of Yoga practice, from a heart-centered, intuitive, feminine perspective, resulting in the first translation intended for women.

Yoga is well known for its power to create a healthy body, but few realize the emotional and spiritual benefits. Devi’s simple, elegant, and deeply personal interpretations capture the spirit of each sutra, and her suggested practices offer numerous ways to embrace the spirituality of Yoga throughout your day.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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