100 books like The Wisdom of Yoga

By Stephen Cope,

Here are 100 books that The Wisdom of Yoga fans have personally recommended if you like The Wisdom of Yoga. 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 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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā

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

From my list on the philosophy behind yoga.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

The Bhagavad Gītā is the main teaching of The Mahābhārata, an early epic of Indian thought. It’s about a warrior going into battle and not wanting to fight. His charioteer Krishna becomes his spiritual advisor, and the conversation shifts from the physical battlefield to the battle each of us fights within to figure out how to live a worthwhile life. Krishna answers the fundamental questions of existence and explains why we resist, what it means to be spiritual, and how to use karma (right action) and dharma (duty) as our armaments. The text is about acting and not retreating, about doing what is in front of us to do with awareness and heart.

Many other philosophy texts can be contemplative, quiet, and heady, but The Bhagavad Gītā is exciting, dynamic, and resourceful. This translation is the one my philosophy teacher recommends, and it is true to the Sanskrit and…

By Swami Dayananda Saraswati,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The reading of the Bhagavad Gītā verses with meaning should be looked upon as a part of one's daily prayer. One can easily cover one chapter in a sitting, daily. This inspiring routine will make this book your unfailing companion."Swami Dayananda Saraswati


Book cover of Embrace Yoga's Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice

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

From my list on the philosophy behind yoga.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Susanna Barkataki is a teacher, inclusivity promoter, and yoga culture advocate with an active social media presence who compassionately and playfully nudges the West to honor the original tradition of yoga. Her book takes many of her teachings and presents them in one place. Her wisdom is essential for anyone who wants to understand what yoga is beyond the physical practice. For Westerners, her book is a generous offering and necessary to ensure we are being reverent with the practice of yoga and not appropriating it.

By Susanna Barkataki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Embrace Yoga's Roots as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you want to be on the cutting edge of the future of yoga?

If you desire an authentic yoga practice embracing ancient yogic philosophy and traditions but don’t know how to embody that knowledge with integrity in today’s modern yoga culture, Embrace Yoga’s Roots is your guide to honor and not appropriate yoga.

"When we mistake yoga for a workout routine, reduce it to physical fitness or even do some of the deeper aspects of yoga without an eye to the whole system of liberation it offers, we rob ourselves and each other of the potential of this practice,"…


Book cover of Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World

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

From my list on the philosophy behind yoga.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Michelle Cassandra Johnson knows yoga is both a personal practice to ease suffering and one that calls on us to lessen the suffering of others. She connects the philosophy to social justice so well, it’s as though she sat alongside the original scholars of the Sutras. Her book is packed with quiet wisdom, prompts, meditations, reflection, and so much heart. It’s both a workbook and a philosophy text, a resource, and an awakening. If you can study the book with her, do. She has many online offerings. Her presence is comforting, affirming, bold, and her book reflects these qualities.

By Michelle Cassandra Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skill in Action as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THIS IS THE 2nd and LATEST EDITION OF SKILL IN ACTION.
Transform your yoga practice into a force for creating social change with this concise, eloquent guide to social justice tools and skills.

Skill in Action asks you to explore the deeply transformational practice of yoga as a way to become an agent of social change and work toward a just world. Through yoga practices and philosophy, this book explores liberation for ourselves and others, while asking us to engage in our own agency--whether that manifests as activism, volunteer work, or changing our relationships with others and ourselves. To provide…


Book cover of Yoga Sutra of Patanjali

Stephen H. Phillips Author Of Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy

From my list on yoga philosophy and psychology.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professional sanskritist and academic, I have travelled to India well more than twenty times, for fellowships, conferences, and (fortunately) months of study with a traditional Sanskrit pundit, the great N.S. Ramanuja Tatacharya. But my first trip was when I was twenty, dropping out of college and travelling from a kibbutz in Israel to India (overland no less, after a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul in 1971) where I was graciously admitted into a yoga-ashram school. There I began learning Sanskrit as well as various yoga techniques. I stayed that time for two years. “All life is yoga,” says Sri Aurobindo, and I have long wished my life to be that since “yoga” is for me practically a synonym for “right living.”

Stephen's book list on yoga philosophy and psychology

Stephen H. Phillips Why did Stephen love this book?

There are many translations by Feuerstein, Satyananda Saraswati (Four Chapters on Freedom, my favorite, a free, tantric rendering), Woods, Iyengar, Bryant, myself (as an appendix in Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth). The most scholarly: Michel Angot, Le Yoga-Sūtra de Patañjali, le Yoga-Bhāṣya de Vyāsa (about 800 pages with footnotes citing tons of contemporary and classical literature—the references in the footnotes are mainly to works in English though the translation is in French). Some say the classical commentary by Vyāsa is essential; others disagree.

The Yoga-sūtra, which borrows much from the Gītā practice-wise but endorses a different view of reality, is the second great classic of yoga philosophy and psychology. In large part, it is a “how-to” book, but there is also much philosophy and psychology. It outlines presumed results called “siddhis” for specific practices such as an “Eight-limbed Yoga” it popularizes: (1) yama, “ethical…

By Patanjali,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are in themselves exceedingly brief, less than ten pages of large type in the original. Yet they contain the essence of practical wisdom, set forth in admirable order and detail. The theme, if the present interpreter be right, is the great regeneration, the birth of the spiritual from the psychical man: the same theme which Paul so wisely and eloquently set forth in writing to his disciples in Corinth, the theme of all mystics in all lands.


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Yoga Revolution: Building a Practice of Courage and Compassion

Dianne Bondy Author Of Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body

From my list on revolutionize yoga by how you practice and teach.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an author, movement coach, and yoga teacher. I've been practicing yoga on and off for about 48 years. I was introduced to yoga by my mom through a really old book called Be Young with Yoga at 3 years old. Yoga has been a part of my entire existence in one way or another. I have had the honour and privilege to study with yoga teachers and educators for the past 30+ years and it has been life-changing. I have been a yoga teacher and movement coach for 30+ years, I have watched yoga make sad people feel better, injured people get strong, and shy people become leaders in their communities around equity and diversity. 

Dianne's book list on revolutionize yoga by how you practice and teach

Dianne Bondy Why did Dianne love this book?

I love this book so much I wish I wrote it. It speaks to creating equity not only in yoga spaces but out in the world. This book features quite a few yoga rebels that are changing the game and are my friends and colleagues. Yoga Revolution teaches the world how to apply yoga philosophy to help the world be a better place for all of us. It is about healing our communities. Rebels are about the revolution; knowing the rules so you can break them. Breaking the rules that need to be broken.

By Jivana Heyman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is time to address the dissonance between the often superficial way yoga is currently being practiced and the depth of yoga’s ancient universal spiritual teachings. In this clarion call to action, Jivana Heyman offers a blueprint for cultivating a practice based in the ancient wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras in service of those experiencing exclusion and oppression.

Heyman illuminates the yogic mandate of seva—or acts of service that see, care for, and uplift those around us—as a way to serve the world without losing your way. Through pose sequences, practice prompts such as “Embracing Failure,”…


Book cover of Yoga: Immortality and Freedom

Stephen H. Phillips Author Of Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy

From my list on yoga philosophy and psychology.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professional sanskritist and academic, I have travelled to India well more than twenty times, for fellowships, conferences, and (fortunately) months of study with a traditional Sanskrit pundit, the great N.S. Ramanuja Tatacharya. But my first trip was when I was twenty, dropping out of college and travelling from a kibbutz in Israel to India (overland no less, after a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul in 1971) where I was graciously admitted into a yoga-ashram school. There I began learning Sanskrit as well as various yoga techniques. I stayed that time for two years. “All life is yoga,” says Sri Aurobindo, and I have long wished my life to be that since “yoga” is for me practically a synonym for “right living.”

Stephen's book list on yoga philosophy and psychology

Stephen H. Phillips Why did Stephen love this book?

This book provides a historical overview of yoga philosophy and psychology and is a great introduction to the study of yoga. It was originally written in French by Mircea Eliade, who became the dean of Religious Studies all over the world, for decades training graduate students at the University of Chicago. The book is now a little dated on certain topics such as tantra and the yogic practices of Buddhism. Nevertheless, it stands as the preëminent classic in the field of yoga studies. It has a bouncy but elegant style and has been a favorite in the courses I have taught on yoga at the University of Texas at Austin.

While a student in India in his early twenties, Eliade had an affair with the daughter of his Sanskrit teacher, the renowned and august scholar, Surendranath Dasgupta. There is apparently a novel by Eliade in Romanian about this and another…

By Mircea Eliade, Willard R. Trask (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this landmark book, first published in English in 1958, renowned scholar of religion Mircea Eliade lays the groundwork for a Western understanding of Yoga. Drawing on years of study and experience in India, Eliade provides a comprehensive survey of Yoga in theory and practice from its earliest antecedents in the Vedas through the twentieth century. A new introduction by David Gordon White provides invaluable insight into Eliade's life and work, highlighting the key moments in Eliade's academic and spiritual education, as well as the personal experiences that shaped his worldview. Yoga is not only one of Eliade's most important…


Book cover of Thoughts and Aphorisms

Stephen H. Phillips Author Of Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy

From my list on yoga philosophy and psychology.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professional sanskritist and academic, I have travelled to India well more than twenty times, for fellowships, conferences, and (fortunately) months of study with a traditional Sanskrit pundit, the great N.S. Ramanuja Tatacharya. But my first trip was when I was twenty, dropping out of college and travelling from a kibbutz in Israel to India (overland no less, after a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul in 1971) where I was graciously admitted into a yoga-ashram school. There I began learning Sanskrit as well as various yoga techniques. I stayed that time for two years. “All life is yoga,” says Sri Aurobindo, and I have long wished my life to be that since “yoga” is for me practically a synonym for “right living.”

Stephen's book list on yoga philosophy and psychology

Stephen H. Phillips Why did Stephen love this book?

This is a tiny book but chock full of yoga wisdom in pithy statements by Sri Aurobindo. It was first published in 1914-1920 in a journal of “yoga and speculative philosophy.” Along with Swami Vivekananda (who brought Vedānta to the West, according to a prominent statue and inscription at India Gate at the port of Mumbai), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was president of India in the nineteen-fifties, and the revolutionary Mahatma Gandhi, the master yogi Sri Aurobindo is a leading philosopher of “neo-Vedānta” in the modern era and beyond a doubt the most original. Neo-Vedānta draws on ideas of the Upanishads and the Gītā to attempt a modern spiritual worldview.

Aurobindo’s philosophic magnum opus, The Life Divine, is long and complex, a difficult read. But Thoughts and Aphorisms, about a hundred small pages, is easy, the brief statements delightful, little yoga wisdom poems in prose. The aphorisms are arranged…

By Sri Aurobindo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Profound Thoughts and Aphorisms on the paths of Knowledge, Works and Devotion. Truths expressed in succinct sentences for contemplation and meditation.


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