Since I first published a list of my five favourite yoga books two years ago, it’s been the most popular post on this blog. I’ve kept reading and come across yoga books I love even more. So, here’s my revised top five:
Published in 2012 by this Brighton-based yoga teacher and osteopath, Intelligent Yoga brings Peter’s sound anatomical understanding to bear on some of the classic Hatha Yoga postures. It’s a manual for a safe, mindful practice, and a yoga book for humanists – sharing the beauty and spirit of yoga from a modern, western perspective. Peter argues that you don’t need to believe in any supernatural being or consciousness to experience a profound sense of wellbeing and connection with the universe.
This is the book that got me thinking seriously about training as a yoga teacher some years ago. It’s a personal memoir of a psychotherapist’s own journey into yoga. You won’t learn any asana (poses) but might be inspired by the gradual yet profound healing yoga can bring to hurt minds, bodies and spirits. He’s also got a Facebook page.
Judith is a wonderful yoga elder who has been inspiring teachers around the world for nearly 50 years. This honest, kind and practical book shines the wisdom of yoga onto the mundanities of living: from being stuck in traffic jams to getting the kids out to school in the morning. Each chapter comes with suggested practices and mantras for daily living.
This is the best book on pranayama (breathing) I have ever read. It’s by my antenatal yoga teacher, who co-runs Sitaram partnership, based in south London and Stroud. Don’t worry that it’s designed for pregnancy and childbirth – here are practical and inspirational descriptions of breathing exercises that open up a whole new internal world of the breath. Once I began to explore, my yoga was transformed and I found a new level of awareness and freedom to move and be still.
Being an advanced practicioner of yoga is not about how bendy or physically impressive you are – it’s about a quality of awareness. Here, seven classic hatha yoga poses, such as downward dog, triangle, and warriors I and II – but interspersed with therapeutics to build strength, flexibility and ease. Susi Hately applies a modern understanding of anatomy to the ancient wisdom of yoga and creates a safe and liberating practice free from the aches and pains that plague so many of us – yogis or not.