100 books like Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

By Stephen Cope,

Here are 100 books that Yoga and the Quest for the True Self fans have personally recommended if you like Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. 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 Autobiography of a Yogi

Kathryn E. Livingston Author Of Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace

From my list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path.

Who am I?

Nearly 20 years ago, I awkwardly stumbled into a yoga class after a therapist informed me that I needed to do something about my anxiety issues (“Take your pick,” she said, “I’ll prescribe pills or you can try yoga.”) From the very first class, I was drawn not only to the physical practice, but to the sense that yoga could lead me deeper into my own heart and soul. I wrote a memoir about my journey—and about how yoga helped me later face and conquer breast cancer. I now teach yoga, and I love reading about how yoga changes lives—as it almost always does. 

Kathryn's book list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path

Kathryn E. Livingston Why did Kathryn love this book?

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. 

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…


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

Kara-Leah Grant Author Of Forty Days of Yoga

From my list on support your home yoga practice.

Who am I?

My journey into home yoga practice began in 2004 when I moved to a small mountain town with no yoga classes. I started practicing for the health of my mind and body and kept practicing because it became an integral part of my identity. In 2006, when I began teaching yoga, I committed to practicing yoga every day so that I could be the best possible teacher for my students. These were the books that helped me keep that commitment. Many of them I’ve read multiple times, and all of them helped me show up to the mat, and understand both my bodily and psychological experience of home yoga practice.

Kara-Leah's book list on support your home yoga practice

Kara-Leah Grant Why did Kara-Leah love this book?

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…

By Ram Dass, 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.


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

Kara-Leah Grant Author Of Forty Days of Yoga

From my list on support your home yoga practice.

Who am I?

My journey into home yoga practice began in 2004 when I moved to a small mountain town with no yoga classes. I started practicing for the health of my mind and body and kept practicing because it became an integral part of my identity. In 2006, when I began teaching yoga, I committed to practicing yoga every day so that I could be the best possible teacher for my students. These were the books that helped me keep that commitment. Many of them I’ve read multiple times, and all of them helped me show up to the mat, and understand both my bodily and psychological experience of home yoga practice.

Kara-Leah's book list on support your home yoga practice

Kara-Leah Grant Why did Kara-Leah love this book?

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.

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.


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

Kara-Leah Grant Author Of Forty Days of Yoga

From my list on support your home yoga practice.

Who am I?

My journey into home yoga practice began in 2004 when I moved to a small mountain town with no yoga classes. I started practicing for the health of my mind and body and kept practicing because it became an integral part of my identity. In 2006, when I began teaching yoga, I committed to practicing yoga every day so that I could be the best possible teacher for my students. These were the books that helped me keep that commitment. Many of them I’ve read multiple times, and all of them helped me show up to the mat, and understand both my bodily and psychological experience of home yoga practice.

Kara-Leah's book list on support your home yoga practice

Kara-Leah Grant Why did Kara-Leah love this book?

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…

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.


Book cover of The Holy Science

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?

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.

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…


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

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?

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.

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.


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

Julie Schooler Author Of Rediscover Your Sparkle: Revive the Real You and Be Rebelliously Happy Every Day

From my list on self-help memoirs on making the most of your life.

Who am I?

I have read a ton of self-help books. A ton. I have a whole library of them – a bookcase of "shelf-help." And I have now written 7 of them as well! I love it when a little or a lot of the author’s story is woven into a self-help book as it demonstrates the author’s personal growth. I don’t need more self-help tools or trite suggestions. I want to feel emotionally connected and moved in a way that encourages me to reflect on and enhance my one precious life. For me, reading a well-written self-help memoir is one of life’s greatest joys. 

Julie's book list on self-help memoirs on making the most of your life

Julie Schooler Why did Julie love this book?

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.

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…


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

Ralph Lamson Author Of Emergence In All Seasons

From my list on self-realization, curiosity, exploration, struggle, and the magic of success.

Who am I?

During an intensely productive period as a licensed clinical psychologist, I invented virtual reality immersion therapy described in US Patent 6425764 and authored Virtual Therapy: prevention and treatment of psychiatric conditions by immersion in virtual reality environments. UCSF Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Lawrence Lurie wrote: “Ralph’s vision is of the whole world, the context is history from the beginning of time. The author quotes Emerson, Dante, Chaucer, Jung and many more from before and after the invention of the printing press. The originality, language, and world view make this book interesting reading. The story is well told in verse, pictures, quotations, and more. I enjoyed the vast expansiveness of the story and the details of many people’s lives.”

Ralph's book list on self-realization, curiosity, exploration, struggle, and the magic of success

Ralph Lamson Why did Ralph love this book?

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." 

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.


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

Norman Farb Author Of Better in Every Sense: How the New Science of Sensation Can Help You Reclaim Your Life

From my list on overcoming stress and getting unstuck in life.

Who am I?

I am a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto who studies the social neuroscience of the self and human emotion, with a focus on how biases in self-representation shape emotional reactions that determine well-being. I am particularly interested in how cognitive training practices such as mindfulness meditation and yoga foster resilience against stress, reducing vulnerability to disorders such as depression. I’ve always wished we had better ways of communicating fascinating and important discoveries in neuroscience and mental health to a wider audience, so we combined our teaching experience in the fields of mindfulness, yoga, sports, and clinical psychology to write this book.

Norman's book list on overcoming stress and getting unstuck in life

Norman Farb Why did Norman love this book?

There is this myth that with a perfect system, strategy, or set of habits, you can live a stress-free life; the trouble is, we adapt to any situation and still find ways to become stressed when the world inevitably changes around us.

I love this book because it starts by acknowledging this point rather than promising that we will never find ourselves overwhelmed. The author, Susan David, does a masterful job in providing practical and engaging anecdotes and advice for learning to pivot with life’s changes, acknowledging the inevitable upsets that occur, and then being intentional about how we can channel our efforts into activity that gets positive emotions flowing once more.

It is a great read for anyone feeling overwhelmed and stuck by the everyday.

By Susan David,

Why should I read it?

3 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…


Book cover of Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person

Shaun McNiff Author Of Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul

From my list on art healing.

Who am I?

By chance, just over 50 years ago, I became an art therapist in a state hospital on the Northshore of Boston where I have always lived. With support from Rudolf Arnheim at Harvard University and others, I committed myself to furthering personal and community well-being through art. In my mid-twenties I established a graduate program at Lesley University which spawned an international community of expressive arts therapy. I have worked worldwide in advancing art healing and art-based research. Now University Professor Emeritus, and for the first time without a full-time position, I am trying to embrace the unpredictable ways of creation, and as I wrote, Trust the Process.

Shaun's book list on art healing

Shaun McNiff Why did Shaun love this book?

This is a poetic masterwork with the potter’s wheel as a metaphor for creating our lives as “an ongoing process” in which every act integrates all of life. In our current era there is a tendency to cry cultural appropriation when we look beyond our immediate context and study art healing principles within the whole human community and find ourselves in others. Mary Caroline Richards offers good art medicine for this myopia in demonstrating how ideas are not the property of persons “but live in the world” as people and all of nature do. “The deeper we go” in the contemplative process of centering, the more separations “dissolve.”

By Mary Caroline Richards,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A flowing collection of poetry that is also a guide for life.


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