07 Nov Recommended Books
I am constantly reading books on yoga, meditation and consciousness. This is a list of books with brief review that I’ve read or am reading which I’ll update regularly. (Click on the titles to go to Amazon.com, where you can purchase them.)
This book by Mark Stephens is indispensable for yoga teachers, and could be useful for yoga practitioners in general (though may be a little too much info). While I haven’t gotten through the entire book yet, it really is like re-reading my yoga teacher training manual. It covers a brief history of yoga, different branches of yoga, an overview of anatomy, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Highly recommended.
This is the anatomy book I received in my teacher training. This book is indispensable for understanding how muscles work and interact with one another. A must for yoga teachers and maybe beneficial for the serious yoga student who would like to have a deeper understanding of their body.
This book by Swami Vivekananda may be older, but I liked getting a perspective of yoga from one of the first yogis to visit the United States. It’s a good basic overview of the 8 limbed path of Raja Yoga and also includes his translation and commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. I would suggest it only for serious yoga practitioners.
I read this book almost three years ago and it really started my path into yoga. I had regularly looked for guided meditation mp3s and meditation techniques, but hadn’t done yoga or developed a regular meditation practice until I read this book (and a few other things). This book really came to me at the right time and helped open my eyes to how I perceive and respond to the world.
I’m only about halfway through this book. Overall it’s good but it’s very dense so I had to break off onto something else for a while. Richard Rosen goes back to three of the main Hatha Yoga texts, the first places where asana meant poses and not just the seat you took or position you sat in for meditation, and creates a practice that’s an updated version of what is taught in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, and the Shiva Samhita. For someone like me who’s knees can’t be pushed too far and lotus pose is a pipe dream I’m not sure how applicable the posture practice is, but he also covers pranayama (breathing), mudras (locks), and various other aspect of yoga practice. And there are plenty of precautions for the postures and practice included. Probably the most interesting aspect of this book is when he mentions the original meaning of certain sanskrit words that differ from what they mean in modern yoga practice.
This book is the definitive guide to Yoga Nidra. Often called yogic sleep, it refers to a conscious state between wakefulness and sleep. There are numerous sample scripts and tons of information about the positive health effects from relaxation in general as well as from the deeper states of consciousness associated with Yoga Nidra. It’s worth it for the sample scripts alone.
Books by Roy Eugene Davis:
I ran across Roy Eugene Davis in one of my regular scourings of the internet for all things meditation. His language can be fairly heavy at times, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every book of his I’ve read and gotten so much out of them. And his books are all very affordable.
This was the first book of Mr. Davis’ that I read and I cannot recommend it enough. It really caused me to look at what I wanted out of life. I read it right before deciding to become a yoga teacher, it had that much of an effect on me. If you read just one book by Mr. Davis this is the one to pick up.
This book I would suggest if you read and liked The Spiritual Basis of Real Prosperity. It goes into depth on the Kriya Yoga tradition in general, but the meditation techniques accompanying each chapter are useful, enjoyable and worth the price alone.
I’ve only read the first half of this book, the Yoga Sutras, and haven’t gotten into the second half which is a translation of one of the many Upanishads. The commentary is very thick and I probably would recommend a different translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras for anyone wanting to get into the Sutras and hold off on this until you’ve read some of Mr. Davis’ other books.