100 books like The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

By Sri Swami Satchidananda,

Here are 100 books that The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali fans have personally recommended if you like The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. 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 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 The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker's Guide to Extraordinary Living

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?

Stephen Cope is a master at using real-life examples to show how yoga can be embodied. The Wisdom of Yoga follows five friends facing struggles with work and relationships and how they use yoga philosophy to change their perspectives and approaches. Cope is magnificent at explaining Eastern thought to Westerners. His book is easy to read and allows us to look at our own lives as we witness the journeys of others.  

By Stephen Cope,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For modern spiritual seekers and yoga students alike, here is an irreverent yet profound guide to the most sophisticated teachings of the yoga wisdom tradition–now brought to contemporary life by a celebrated author, psychotherapist, and leading American yoga instructor.

While many Westerners still think of yoga as an invigorating series of postures and breathing exercises, these physical practices are only part of a vast and ancient spiritual science. For more than three millennia, yoga sages systematically explored the essential questions of our human existence: What are the root causes of suffering, and how can we achieve freedom and happiness? What…


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 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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

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 The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

Alexandra DeSiato Author Of Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses: A Practical Workbook for Integrating Themes, Ideas, and Inspiration Into Your Class

From my list on yoga teachers who feel stuck in a rut.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for teaching yoga stems from over a decade as a yoga teacher. I’ve taught a variety of populations including college athletes, aging practitioners, and prenatal and postpartum moms and people. I’ve written two books on yoga; one is about how we can use yoga as we age healthily and the other is a helpful guide for yoga teachers who would like to incorporate philosophical theming in their classes. I know what it means to feel stuck in a rut as a yoga teacher, and I have so often counted on these well-loved books to help me find my way out of that rut and into inspired teaching. 

Alexandra's book list on yoga teachers who feel stuck in a rut

Alexandra DeSiato Why did Alexandra love this book?

Desikachar’s clear wisdom in The Heart of Yoga can’t be understated. Returning to this book reminds me of why I love yoga, why I teach yoga, and why I do yoga. Much of the value of this book is in Desikachar’s simple prose and exposition regarding yoga philosophy. He ends many chapters with a Q & A section, answering questions he anticipates readers will have. And while there are translations in abundance of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Desikachar’s translations have real-world applicability. His approach to yoga helps us understand why the practice has endured for so many years—and it reminds yoga teachers that bringing yoga to our students is an undertaking of immense importance. 

By T.K.V. Desikachar,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Heart of Yoga as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who lived to be over 100 years old, was one of the greatest yogis of the modern era. Elements of Krishnamacharya's teaching have become well known around the world through the work of B. K. S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi, who all studied with Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya's son T. K. V. Desikachar lived and studied with his father all his life and now teaches the full spectrum of Krishnamacharya's yoga. Desikachar has based his method on Krishnamacharya's fundamental concept of viniyoga, which maintains that practices must be continually adapted to the individual's changing needs to achieve…


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 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,”…


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