10 books like Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

By Stephen Cope,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Autobiography of a Yogi

By Paramahansa Yogananda,

Book cover of Autobiography of a Yogi

One can’t put together a yoga memoir list without including this classic. So much has been written about it (including that it was George Harrison’s favorite book) but I’ll add my two cents, which is that this memoir helps one believe that there’s a greater force, source, being, or something out there orchestrating some of the uncanny stuff we meet up with in our lives. Yogananda was a revered spiritual teacher, but he was also a human being. When he couldn’t be with his mother at her death, he writes that the “Intervening Hand” arranged his absence because his presence would have been too painful to bear, a profound sharing that helped me face my own guilt about a similar experience. His story is wild, crazy, and so unbelievable that it makes you believe. 

Autobiography of a Yogi

By Paramahansa Yogananda,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Autobiography of a Yogi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Autobiography of a Yogi is at once a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. Profoundly inspiring, it is at the same time vastly entertaining, warmly humorous and filled with extraordinary personages.

Self-Realization Fellowship's editions, and none others, include extensive material added by the author after the first edition was published, including a final chapter on the closing years of his life.

Selected as "One of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century", Autobiography of a Yogi has been translated into more…


Compassion in Action

By Ram Dass, Mirabai Bush,

Book cover of Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service

Compassion, for self and others, can be an overlooked aspect of practicing at home. I found this book when I was awash with judgmental thoughts about people, and feeling spiritually more evolved or spiritually superior to people. And then I was judgmental against myself for having judgmental thoughts about other people all the time!

This book helped me understand and move through this phase in the spiritual journey. In the first half of the book, Ram Dass talks about his journey. In the second half, Mirabai Bush talks about practical steps for being of service in the world. It was Ram Dass’s journey that really spoke to me initially – especially when he tells the story of having to return to his family home at the age of 55 and take care of his aging father. It is a must-read for those wishing to develop more compassion on the yogic…

Compassion in Action

By Ram Dass, Mirabai Bush,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Featuring an eye-catching new cover, this classic guide is for those ready to commit time and energy to relieving suffering in the world. No two people are better qualified to help us along this path than Ram Dass, who has spent more than 25 years teaching and writing on the subject of living consciously, and Mirabi Bush, who succeeded him as chairperson of the Seva Foundation.


Beyond Power Yoga

By Beryl Bender Birch,

Book cover of Beyond Power Yoga: 8 Levels of Practice for Body and Soul

This book, and Beryl’s earlier book, Power Yoga: The Total Strength and Flexibility Workout, were my bibles when I began to build a home yoga practice. Not only do they include step-by-step instructions for Power Yoga, a derivative of Astanaga yoga, but they detail other aspects of the yoga journey including Patanjali’s eight limbs.

In Beyond Power Yoga, Beryl explores everything from her journey into yoga and to India, yoga in action, breathing, meditation, and ‘leap into liberation – bliss’. She is a consummate storyteller and uses real-life experiences from her own life to illustrate yogic concepts like bandhas, vayus, tapas, yamas, and niyamas.

Beyond Power Yoga

By Beryl Bender Birch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Combining the mindfulness of astanga yoga with the high-energy intensity of the work-out routine, this exercise book walks readers through a series of body- and soul-enhancing routines.


Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit

By Donna Farhi,

Book cover of Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness

An American now living in New Zealand, Donna strongly emphasises inquiring your way into your yoga practice. She invites the readers to ask many questions that other teachers don’t even mention – like why practice asana at all?

This book starts where all yoga starts – with the breath. Donna explores letting the breath move you and guiding the breath. From there, it’s a steady step-by-step look at the foundation of any good yoga practice. She invites readers to look at yielding, radiating, centering, supporting, and aligning within their practice. It’s such a delicious way to explore yoga. 

The book also includes an in-depth look into the various systems of the body and how these function within asana. Donna examines the cellular body, the musculoskeletal system, the fluid body, the organ system, and the neuroendocrine system - and all this before she illuminates the asanas themselves. This book will expand…

Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit

By Donna Farhi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work explains the art of hatha yoga from a perspective that enables westerners to experience authentic yoga practice directly. The principles can be applied to other forms of yoga too.


The Holy Science

By Sri Yukteswar Giri,

Book cover of The Holy Science

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.

The Holy Science

By Sri Yukteswar Giri,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This extraordinary treatise explores parallel passages from the Bible and the Hindu scriptures to reveal the essential unity of all religions. Swami Sri Yukteswar is renowned as the revered guru of the great pioneer of yoga in the West, Paramahansa Yogananda (author of Autobiography of a Yogi). In this remarkable work - composed in the year 1894 at the request of the great Indian sage, Mahavatar Babaji - Sri Yukteswar outlines the universal path that every human being must travel to enlightenment. He also explains the vast recurring cycles of history - the yugas that mark the upward ascent of…


Yoga & Ayurveda

By David Dr Frawley,

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

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.

Yoga & Ayurveda

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.


On Being Human

By Jennifer Pastiloff,

Book cover of On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard

The author's story is heart-wrenching yet uplifting, excruciating yet freeing, and extremely personal yet spoke to me in volumes. It is hard to pick out the wisdom I loved the most but from 'doing love' to busting out of 'just-a-box' to 'come back,' it is all that I needed to hear in these banana-pants crazy times. I have put on my bucket list to attend one of the author's retreats one day. Can't think of anything better than yoga, writing, and wine.

On Being Human

By Jennifer Pastiloff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff's years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how hearing loss taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness.
 
Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning.

Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given…


The Observing Self

By Arthur J. Deikman,

Book cover of The Observing Self: Mysticism and Psychotherapy By Arthur J. Deikman

This book lets readers in on a closely held source of power. Medicine established the existence of a brain. Psychiatry and psychology present models of the mind. Religion focuses on spirit. One function of the mind is its capability to observe thinking as it unfolds. Meditation practices have known this for thousands of years. If an action can be modified by observing the intention of the mind, there may be fewer impulsive and destructive acts. There may also be heightened creative acts. Dr. Deikman wrote, "I have written The Observing Self not only for the mental health professional, but also for the general reader interested in a clear understanding of both psychotherapy and mysticism." The Library Journal wrote, "An extremely interesting, thoughtful, and challenging book, highly recommended." 

The Observing Self

By Arthur J. Deikman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Observing Self, noted psychiatrist Arthur J. Deikman lucidly relates how the mystical tradition can enable Western psychology to come to terms with the essential problems of meaning, self, and human progress.


Emotional Agility

By Susan David,

Book cover of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life

Susan David coined the term emotional agility to help crystallize the importance in today’s world of emotional regulation and the cognitive agility it affords. In the face of constant change, being able to learn from – but not be held hostage by – our emotions affords us a competitive advantage and will advance our well-being. 

I’ve been fortunate to know and learn from David over the years. Her insights unlock our hearts and minds to truths otherwise hard to face. Her prose is emotive and her stories are well-chosen. The book is full of essential lessons for today’s worker.

Emotional Agility

By Susan David,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Emotional Agility as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Perfect for lovers of Quiet and The Power of Now, Emotional Agility shares a new way of relating to yourself and the world around you

Every day we speak around 16,000 words - but inside minds we create tens of thousands more.

Thoughts such as 'I'm not spending enough time with my children' or 'I'm not good enough to present my work' can seem to be unshakeable facts. In reality, they're the judgemental opinions of our inner voice.

Drawing on more than twenty years of academic research and her own experiences, Susan David PhD, a psychologist and faculty member at…


The Dark Side of the Light Chasers

By Deborah Ford,

Book cover of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance, and Dreams

Carl Jung has two quotes that I love. First, “the gold is in the dark.” And second, “I’d rather be whole than good.” Both recognize that we’re complicated, contradictory, and gloriously messy beings. Debbie Ford’s book was the first time I felt I could actually do something with the profound wisdom of Jung. One particular exercise pretty much “cured” me immediately of some long-standing resentment I had with a former boss. Even though the language is sometimes a bit too woo-woo Californian hippy for me, it’s a book with some deeply useful exercises to help you become more whole, kinder to yourself, and ultimately more wholly you.

The Dark Side of the Light Chasers

By Deborah Ford,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Dark Side of the Light Chasers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this enlightening guide, Debbie Ford explains that the dark side of our personality should not be hidden. By denying our dark side, we reject these aspects of our true natures rather than giving ourselves the freedom to live authentically. Here she shows that it is possible to acknowledge and accept our so-called weaknesses, proving that these qualities may be important, hidden strengths. For example, perhaps some 'selfishness' can save us from exhaustion and resentment.

Full of illuminating stories and practical exercises, Debbie Ford shows us how to reconcile our darker impulses and find the gifts they offer. Your life…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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