The best Tantra books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about tantra and why they recommend each book.

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The Tantric Way

By Ajit Mookerjee, Madhu Khanna,

Book cover of The Tantric Way

Art can serve as a support for meditation. Ritual brings the spiritual dimension of yoga into action. Mookerjee and Kanna’s breadth of living scholarship portray the ritual arts of the Indian Tantric traditions to be a form of yoga itself, one that reflects the non-dual or Advaita philosophy of Tantric yoga. This book is a practical guide, as well as a deep dive into Tantric symbolism, both satisfying and transformative. If you crave visual support for your practice, pick up this book. 


Who am I?

A writer, yoga teacher, and somatic psychologist, I’ve been passionate about yoga and the sacred arts ever since I encountered, on my parent’s bookshelf, the awe-inspiring art catalogue, The Manifestations of Shiva, an exhibit curated by the late, great art historian Stella Kramrisch. An adjunct faculty member in the Somatics MA program at the California Institute of Integral Arts, I have lived and traveled extensively throughout India, studying yoga there, and teaching in the U.S. In Berkeley, I write fiction and maintain a private psychology practice, incorporating yoga as a tool for nervous system regulation and embodied wellbeing. I also lead local and international yoga retreats. 


I wrote...

365 Yoga: Daily Meditations

By Julie Rappaport,

Book cover of 365 Yoga: Daily Meditations

What is my book about?

365 Yoga is a daily companion for your yoga practice. Filled with thought-provoking and inspiring quotations from the greatest yogic texts and spiritual teachers throughout history, as well as invaluable instruction on specific practices, it is an essential resource for anyone who practices yoga or meditation. A celebration of the powerful practice that is yoga, this book guides readers - day by day - through centuries of philosophy and themes. 365 Yoga infuses yoga practice with a deeper understanding of the intricate connection of mind, body, and spirit.

Tools for Tantra

By Harish Johari,

Book cover of Tools for Tantra

I have a special interest in yantras, and this book is the best and clearest explanation I’ve found. It inspired me to include yantras in a Teach Meditation course that I give to yoga teachers – and also to write my Master’s dissertation on the Sri Yantra.

In case readers are unfamiliar with the term ‘yantra’, it refers to precise geometric constructions that have been used by yoga practitioners for centuries as visual tools for the attainment of inner peace. Johari explains their forms, associated practices, and spiritual applications. Until he wrote this book, this information was mostly unavailable to modern practitioners.


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.


I wrote...

Sitting Comfortably: Preparing the Mind and Body for Peaceful Meditation

By Swami Saradananda,

Book cover of Sitting Comfortably: Preparing the Mind and Body for Peaceful Meditation

What is my book about?

Sitting Comfortably is a complete guide to setting up an enjoyable long-term meditation practice. It is the only book to focus on the physicality of meditation, providing a valuable tool that can aid in bringing the mind and body into synchronicity. Whether you are a student of mindfulness, Buddhism, a yoga practitioner, or simply wishing to boost your well-being through meditation, this book will help you to overcome obstacles to your practice.

Sitting Comfortably illustrates stretches, simple yoga poses, and breathing techniques to help you sit more comfortably; it also outlines diet and lifestyle tips and much more. With evocative artwork, serene photography, and step-by-step guidance, it is the ultimate guide for preparing for a sustainable meditation practice.

The Book of Secrets

By Osho,

Book cover of The Book of Secrets: 112 Meditations to Discover the Mystery Within

The next one on my list of the top 5 spiritual books is The Book of Secrets by Osho. He is my favorite spiritual teacher, and although he never wrote any books, the texts from his speeches were published in several compilations. Everything you read from him can be useful, but this book stands above the rest in its length, depth and practicality.

This book is based on a 5000 year old tantric scripture consisting of 112 meditations to achieve liberation. What Osho basically does is that he adds commentaries and his own experiences to each of the techniques, thereby making them understandable and practical for the modern seeker. If I had to recommend any book on meditation, it would definitely be this one.


Who am I?

Gabriel Dee is a mystic, author, spiritual teacher, and the founder of Immortology. At the age of 26, he became a seeker and became enlightened on the 11th of March, 2011. He experienced most of the spiritual methods of the world and traveled to India to learn more about healing, hypnosis, and meditation. His main teaching is making people face their own mortality, and then going beyond it to realize their immortality.


I wrote...

The Power of Death: A Radical Path to Personal Transformation and Spiritual Enlightenment

By Gabriel Dee,

Book cover of The Power of Death: A Radical Path to Personal Transformation and Spiritual Enlightenment

What is my book about?

Do you want to change your life, but constantly lose motivation? Are you trying to find or transform yourself? Are you seeking spiritual enlightenment? Stop the search, and get the book now! The Power of Death will show you a revolutionary method to reach all of the above and more. This technique was invented by the Buddha, but it has not been widely used, because it seems so contradictory and radical at first. However, the lives of millions of people is the proof that it works. Although it „happened” to them by accident, now you can learn to use it consciously at will.

The Transparency of Things

By Rupert Spira,

Book cover of The Transparency of Things: Contemplating the Nature of Experience

I’ll confess right off the bat that I’m the only person I know who genuinely enjoys reading Spira’s books. His philosophical, highly conceptual, contemplative chapters might not be for everyone. But if you take the time to carefully read and contemplate what Spira discusses, his books can be deeply impactful.

Spira is a “Direct Path” teacher, who conveys some of the deeper teachings of Tantra, Advaita Vedanta, Sufism, and other nondual traditions in a secular, direct, philosophical way. If you want to dive deep into what experience is, what can make life a struggle, and how to experience greater happiness, Spira can be a powerful teacher. The Transparency of Things is a great introduction to his work, but the concepts Spira discusses cannot be understood intellectually. Ultimately, they must be directly experienced to be grasped, and that can take a bit of time, work, and luck.


Who am I?

I’m a creative writing professor and the author of five award-winning YA and MG novels. Nevertheless, for decades no matter what I accomplished, I felt like a failure who wasn’t doing enough. Eventually, I drove myself to a breakdown. Having a breakdown (my lucky break!) gave me an opportunity to reassess what creativity is, and to discover better ways to go about it. I’ve since spent the past 5+ years researching creativity, and how to make creative endeavors more effective and enjoyable. I wrote Breakthrough to share some of the life-changing insights and techniques that helped me. Here are a few books that might prove useful in shifting your creative paradigms and enhancing your life. Happy creating!


I wrote...

Breakthrough: How to Overcome Doubt, Fear, and Resistance to Be Your Ultimate Creative Self

By Todd Mitchell,

Book cover of Breakthrough: How to Overcome Doubt, Fear, and Resistance to Be Your Ultimate Creative Self

What is my book about?

Break free of toxic success myths. Transcend the suffering artist paradigm. Actualize your immense creative potential.

If you've ever struggled with doubt, fear, procrastination, or disappointment while trying to create, this book is for you. Breakthrough goes where no other books on creativity dare to tread—exposing the toxic success myths that hold people back and revealing radical, perspective-shifting solutions. Through concise, friendly chapters that weave together personal experiences with guidance from research and nondual philosophical traditions, readers are given pragmatic ways to turn potential breakdowns into life-changing breakthroughs.

Roots of Yoga

By James Mallinson (translator), Mark Singleton (translator),

Book cover of Roots of Yoga

A compendium of extracts from yogic texts, exploring how practices vary in different traditions, and how they developed over 2,000 years. Encyclopaedically written, with detailed notes, its well-structured format makes it easy to dip into. Each chapter covers one part of practice, from definitions of yoga to specific techniques, with introductory essays providing an overview. An essential reference guide.


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.


I wrote...

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

By Daniel Simpson,

Book cover of The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga's History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices

What is my book about?

Yoga is globally popular, but also often misunderstood. For example, the word “yoga” does not always mean union. In fact, in perhaps the discipline’s most famous text—the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali—its aim is described as separation: isolating consciousness from everything else. And yoga is not five thousand years old, as is commonly claimed; the earliest evidence of systematic practice dates back about twenty-five hundred years. The Truth of Yoga is a clear, concise, and accessible guide to how yoga evolved. Combining scholarly knowledge with quotations from texts, it highlights ways to keep traditions alive in the twenty-first century.

The Life and Teaching of Naropa

By Herbert V. Guenther,

Book cover of The Life and Teaching of Naropa

Naropa was an important figure in Indian Tantric Buddhism whose lineages gained great popularity in Tibet. His life story beautifully embodies many archetypal elements of the spiritual journey in a way that has proved compelling, inspiring, and educational for Buddhist practitioners for well over a millenium. He goes from being a great scholar to a seeker who bears many hardships to an enlightened master. If you yourself are someone deeply committed to a spiritual journey, then it's likely that you'll find moments of your own experience reflected back for you in his remarkable story.


Who am I?

I'm a clinical psychologist who also writes about and teaches Buddhist philosophy, psychology, and meditation. I've had the great good fortune to be closely mentored by a number of elder Tibetan teachers who were educated in old Tibet.  Over the decades, when seeking wisdom and compassion in the midst of life's challenges, I've repeatedly found inspiration, education, solace, and guidance along my own path in the enlightened and enlightening life stories of a number of the great scholar/yogis of the Himalayan Buddhist traditions. 

I wrote...

The Lost Art of Compassion: Discovering the Practice of Happiness in the Meeting of Buddhism and Psychology

By Lorne Ladner,

Book cover of The Lost Art of Compassion: Discovering the Practice of Happiness in the Meeting of Buddhism and Psychology

What is my book about?

Compassion is often seen as a distant, altruistic ideal cultivated by saints, or as an unrealistic response of the naively kind-hearted. But by seeing compassion in this way, we lose out on experiencing the transformative potential of one of our most neglected inner resources.

Clinical psychologist and Tibetan Buddhist practitioner Dr. Lorne Ladner rescues compassion from this marginalized view, showing how its practical application in our life can be a powerful force in achieving happiness. Ladner provides a clear explanation of what healthy compassion is and why it is so essential to our lives. Combining the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism and Western psychology, The Lost Art of Compassion presents clear, effective practices for cultivating compassion in daily living.

Yoga Nidra

By Richard C. Miller,

Book cover of Yoga Nidra: A Meditative Practice for Deep Relaxation and Healing

During his very first yoga class, back in 1970, Richard Miller became enthralled with the final relaxation, a practice called shavasana (the corpse pose)—where you lie on your back, quiet your mind, and surrender your body to the earth. “For the first time in years, I felt free of all conflict, radiantly joyful, and attuned with the entire universe,” writes Miller, who was inspired to study yoga and understand this process of deep rest, which he would later learn as Yoga Nidra. Now a clinical psychologist, researcher, and yoga scholar, Miller presents a step-by-step guide to this deep relaxation, accompanied by a helpful CD that includes six guided Yoga Nidra practices. I’ve downloaded these audios onto my phone and enjoy letting Miller’s calm voice guide me into deep relaxation.   


Who am I?

I'm a yoga therapist, health journalist, and author, and my passion is helping people harness the powerful medicine of movement. In my work with hundreds of yoga students and yoga therapy clients, and in my own life—facing some serious health challenges—I’ve found that taking yoga off the mat and into daily life with these simple practices is a powerful way to relieve stress and find ease in body and mind. In our busy, hectic lives, Yoga Sparks offers a welcome chance to pause, breathe, and connect to our inner wisdom. They will help you pay attention and move mindfully through your own precious life. 


I wrote...

Yoga Sparks: 108 Easy Practices for Stress Relief in a Minute or Less

By Carol Krucoff,

Book cover of Yoga Sparks: 108 Easy Practices for Stress Relief in a Minute or Less

What is my book about?

You only need a minute—or even less—to get the stress-relieving and health-enhancing benefits of yoga. This book is a collection of simple yoga “micro-practices” you can weave into your day to create transformative moments that turn ordinary activities—like answering the phone or waiting in line—into opportunities to stretch and strengthen your body, quiet your mind, and lift your spirits. 

Yoga Sparks arose through my 45 years of yoga practice and two decades of teaching, and they focus on four main aspects of yoga: postures, breathing, meditation, and principles (such as gratitude). No need for a yoga mat or special clothing, they’re designed for anyone, regardless of age or fitness level.  If you can breathe, you can do Yoga Sparks

Speaking of Siva

By Anonymous, A.K. Ramanujan (translator),

Book cover of Speaking of Siva

This book of ancient vacanas- lyric verse of four saint-poets of South India- will seer into your heart. These mystical poems, translated by one of India’s most revered writers, bring the reader into direct experience with the divine, or God, or Shiva, cutting through caste, class, race, religion, and culture. Born of the bhakti (devotional) protest movement, these poems will remind you of Rumi. I’m always surprised that these soulful poems are not better known to Western readers. Read a verse. Sit in meditation. Notice what happens inside your body. 


Who am I?

A writer, yoga teacher, and somatic psychologist, I’ve been passionate about yoga and the sacred arts ever since I encountered, on my parent’s bookshelf, the awe-inspiring art catalogue, The Manifestations of Shiva, an exhibit curated by the late, great art historian Stella Kramrisch. An adjunct faculty member in the Somatics MA program at the California Institute of Integral Arts, I have lived and traveled extensively throughout India, studying yoga there, and teaching in the U.S. In Berkeley, I write fiction and maintain a private psychology practice, incorporating yoga as a tool for nervous system regulation and embodied wellbeing. I also lead local and international yoga retreats. 


I wrote...

365 Yoga: Daily Meditations

By Julie Rappaport,

Book cover of 365 Yoga: Daily Meditations

What is my book about?

365 Yoga is a daily companion for your yoga practice. Filled with thought-provoking and inspiring quotations from the greatest yogic texts and spiritual teachers throughout history, as well as invaluable instruction on specific practices, it is an essential resource for anyone who practices yoga or meditation. A celebration of the powerful practice that is yoga, this book guides readers - day by day - through centuries of philosophy and themes. 365 Yoga infuses yoga practice with a deeper understanding of the intricate connection of mind, body, and spirit.

Mating in Captivity

By Esther Perel,

Book cover of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

What I teach people about sex helps them have a strong tantric base. This creates the sexual bonding and physical foundation that allows us to do the necessary emotional relationship work. However, I certainly don’t feel qualified to give advice on how to make romantic relationships succeed. That’s where famous relationship therapist Esther Perel comes in. In this eloquent book, she admirably tackles the age-old problem of sustaining both a good sex life and a good relationship in the long term. Combine these relationship skills with tantra and you’ll be equipped with some remarkable tools that exceptionally few couples have mastered yet.


Who am I?

I’ve been meditating since I’m 10 years old, constantly inquiring about why humans are suffering. This led me on a very introspective journey into tantra. After travelling the world for over two decades to study tantric lineages and spiritual traditions, I founded The New Tantra in 2010 and developed a range of workshops with ground-breaking sexual practices. Through this crazy, wild, and genderfluid exploration, I’ve taught thousands of people how to improve their sex lives and experience sexuality in a totally different way. I believe that by dealing with our sexual conditioning, we can live more playful, innocent, and happier lives for ourselves and the future generations to come.


I wrote...

50 Misconceptions of Sex: A Modern Tantric Practice

By Alexa Vartman,

Book cover of 50 Misconceptions of Sex: A Modern Tantric Practice

What is my book about?

Are you interested to learn about advanced sex that awaits beyond basic friction-only sex? This down-to-earth and unconventional Tantra manual is a bold proposition for a new sexuality for humanity. By clarifying 50 common misconceptions, the book explains and teaches a simple practice of intimate mastery. It brings the physical and mental effects of esoteric tantra within reach of a modern 21st-century audience.

Tantric practice transcends greed, shame, confusion, stagnation, and frustration by opening a gateway to transformational experiences that otherwise require psychedelics or years of meditation. Be warned: the book is unashamed and outspoken. For adventurous adult audiences with a sense of humor only. Suited for couples and singles regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

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