FREE READINGS: The 8 Most Important Yoga Authors & Books

With links to free readings from the authors

1. Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga  

by B. K. S. Iyengar

B.K.S. Iyengar’s official site: http://bksiyengar.com

Light on Yoga

Light on Yoga provides complete descriptions and illustrations of all the positions and breathing exercises. Features a foreword by Yehudi Menuhin. It is the definitive guide to the philosophy and practice of Yoga–the ancient healing discipline for body and mind. The book includes photos of Iyengar demonstrating hundreds of asanas.

About the Author: In 1934, his brother-in-law, Sri Krishnamacharya, asked the 15-year-old Iyengar to come to Mysore, so as to improve his health through yoga practice. Iyengar went on to become  the founder of the style of yoga known as “Iyengar Yoga” and was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world until his death in 2014. In 1966, Iyengar published his first book Light on Yoga. It eventually became an international best-seller. It has been translated into 17 languages and sold over three million copies.

Iyengar’s other books include Light on Pranayama, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali  and Light on Life.

 

2. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

by T. V. K. Desikachar

heart of yoga

T. V. K. Desikarchar’s official site: heartofyoga.org

The Heart of Yoga was the first yoga text to outline a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to Viniyoga — yoga adapted to the needs of the individual.

About the Author: TKV Desikachar was the son and student of modern yoga’s founder, Sri Krishnamacharya, and had the privilege of living and studying with Krishnamacharya from 1960 until Krishnamacharya’s death in 1989. Krishnamacharya developed this individualized yoga style, which came to be known as Viniyoga.

The term viniyoga had been used by T. K. V. Desikachar (son of Krishnamacharya) to describe his approach to utilizing the tools of yoga, in particular his conviction that yoga practice should be adapted to fit the individuality and particular situation of each practitioner. Desikachar later distanced himself from the term.

American Gary Kraftsow studied with Desikachar and founded the American Viniyoga Institute. The American Viniyoga Institute has this explanation of the term viniyoga: Viniyoga ™ is a comprehensive and authentic transmission of the teachings of yoga including asana, pranayama, bandha, sound, chanting, meditation, personal ritual and study of texts. Viniyoga ™ (prefixes vi and ni plus yoga) is an ancient Sanskrit term that implies differentiation, adaptation, and appropriate application.

Desikachar’s other books include Freud and Yoga: Two Philosophies of the The Mind ComparedReligiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and PracticeWhat Are We Seeking?, Viniyoga of Yoga, Applying Yoga for Healthy Living

FREE PDF Downloads of Desikachar’s other writings from The Centre for Yoga Studies

My Father’s Yoga,

Sound – A Means Beyond Asana and Pranayama

3. Yoga Anatomy

by Leslie Kaminoff

YOGA ANATOMY

Leslie Kaminoff’s official site: http://yogaanatomy.org

With asanas, vinyasas, full-color anatomical illustrations, and in-depth information, the second edition of Yoga Anatomy provides you with a deeper understanding of the structures and principles underlying each movement and of yoga itself.

From breathing to inversions to standing poses, see how specific muscles respond to the movements of the joints; how alterations of a pose can enhance or reduce effectiveness; and how the spine, breathing, and body position are all fundamentally linked.

About the Author: Leslie Kaminoff is a yoga educator inspired by the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar. He is an internationally recognized specialist with four decades’ experience in the fields of yoga and breath anatomy. He leads anatomy and yoga methodology workshops for many of the leading yoga associations, schools and training programs in the world.

Leslie’s book Yoga Anatomy (co-authored with Amy Matthews), sold out its first print run of 19,000 within one month of its June 2007 release, and has been a top-selling yoga book on Amazon ever since. Leslie is the founder of The Breathing Project, a New York City based non-profit educational corporation which ran highly respected year-long courses in yoga anatomy from 2003 to 2017. Those courses have been available online to a worldwide audience at yogaanatomy.net

Other offerings from Kaminoff: Freeing the Breath: Health, Relaxation, and Clarity Through Better Breathing, (Audio CD)

FREE 20 Minute Workshop with Leslie Kaminoff, Deepen Your Practice

 

4. Key Muscles of Yoga, Scientific Keys

by Ray Long

key muscles of yogas

Ray Long’s Official Site: http://www.bandhayoga.com

This book offers a scientific approach to understanding the practice of hatha yoga. Through four-color, three-dimensional illustrations of major muscles, tendons, and ligaments, Ray Long describes the practice and benefits of hatha yoga. Specific anatomical and physiological descriptions highlight the agonist, antagonist, and synergist muscles that come into play with each pose. Volume I of the series describes the key muscles of hatha yoga and how they are utilized. From beginners to experts, this book will become a constant companion.

Ray continues to release new books in his anatomy series. Other amazing must have anatomy books in the series by Ray Long include:

Key Poses of Yoga: Scientific Keys, Vol 2

Anatomy for Backbends and Twists

Anatomy for Arm Balances

Anatomy for Hip Openers & Forward Folds

Vinyasa Flow for Standing Poses

arm balances  backbends and twists  hip openers  vinyasa flowkey poses

FREE Interactive Sequence to Awaken Your Psoas and Bandha Yoga Image Gallery

 

4. Autobiography of a Yogi 

by Paramahansa Yogananda

autobiography of a yogi

Official site of Yogananda’s Self Realization Fellowship: yogananda-srf.org/

Selected as “One of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century”, Autobiography of a Yogi has been translated into more than 30 languages, and is regarded worldwide as a classic of religious literature. Several million copies have been sold, and it continues to appear on best-seller lists after more than sixty consecutive years in print.

Yogananda was one of the first Indian yogis and gurus to come West. He introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his organization Yogoda Satsanga Society of India and Self-Realization Fellowship beginning in the 1930’s. His influence in spreading yoga across the globe is unparalleled.

Some of his more excellent writings include:

God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita

The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita

There is also an inspiring series, The Voice of Paramahansa, including:

Beholding the All in One

The Great Light of God

Removing All Sorrow and Suffering

Be a Smile Millionare

There is also a CD version of Autobiography of a Yoga, narrated by Sir Ben Kingsley

FREE PDF copy of Autobiography of a Yogi

 

5. The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali

by Sri Swami Satchidananda


yoga sutras of pantanjali

Official Site of Swami Satchidananda: http://swamisatchidananda.org

This invaluable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. These timeless teachings are a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path. The classic Yoga Sutras cover the yogic teachings on ethics, meditation, and physical postures, and provide directions for dealing with situations in daily life. The Sutras are presented here in the purest form, with the original Sanskrit and with translation, transliteration, and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, one of the most respected and revered contemporary Yoga masters.

About the Author: Satchidananda was the founder of Integral Yoga, which he described as “…a flexible combination of specific methods to develop every aspect of the individual: physical, intellectual, and spiritual. It is a scientific system which integrates the various branches of yoga to bring about a complete and harmonious development of the entire person”. He wrote many books of the classics with commentary for the modern reader.

Some of his most famous works include:

The Breath of Life

The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita – A Commentary for Modern Readers

Kailash Journal: A Journey Into the Himalayas

FREE YOUTUBE Talk by Swami Satchidanada: How to Happy Always

 

6. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha

by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

asana pranayama

Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s official site: Bihar Yoga

Asana Prana Yama Mudra Bandha is recognised internationally as one of the most systematic yoga manuals today. Since it’s first publication by the Bihar School of yoga in 1969 it has been reprinted seventeen times and translated into many languages. It is the main reference text used by Yoga teachers and students of Bihar Yoga/Satyananda Yoga within the International Yoga Movement, and many other traditions as well. This comprehensive text provides clear illustrations. step by step directions and details of chakra awareness. It guides the practitioner or teacher from the simplest to the most advanced practices of hatha yoga system. A therapeutic index is provided for use by doctors and yoga therapists incorporating recent information from research into yoga.

About the Author: He was a student of Sivananda Saraswati the founder of the Divine Life Society and founded the Bihar School of Yoga in 1964. Satyananda’s teachings emphasise an “Integral Yoga” with a strong emphasis on Tantra, known as the “Bihar Yoga” system or “Satyananda Yoga”. This system addresses the qualities of head, heart and hands – intellect, emotion and action – and attempts to integrate the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of yoga into each practice

He wrote over 80 books. Some of his most well know include:

yoga nidra  kundalini yoga  bhakti yoga sagar

FREE YOGA NIDRA narrated by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

 

7. Yoga: The Greater Tradition

by Dr. David Frawley

yoga the greater tradition

Dr. Frawley’s official site: American Institute for Vedic Studies

In Yoga: The Greater Tradition, Frawley describes Yoga according to its Indian origins, as not just a physical practice, but an ancient and comprehensive sacred science of right living and higher awareness. This holistic practice encompasses physical health and well-being, psychological and emotional harmony, and general balance in life. Yoga is a spiritual quest to know the inner truth of the universe – the Divine, God, the Absolute or whatever other name one may use to refer to this highest value.  It includes a exploration of different yogas—jnana, bhakti, karma and raja yogas—a thoughtful guide to the eight limbs of yoga, a road map to the subtle body, plus and a discussion of common mantras. This book is a powerful resource for novices.

About the Author: Dr. David Frawley (or Pandit Vāmadeva Śāstrī वामदेव शास्त्री) is a Vedic teacher and educator who is the author of over thirty books in several Vedic and Yogic fields published worldwide over the past thirty years. He has a D. Litt in Yoga He is the founder and director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, which offers on-line courses and publications on Ayurvedic medicine, Yoga, mantra and meditation, and Vedic astrology. He has authored more than 30 books on yoga and Ayurveda, often written for advanced or serious students with a level of depth and insight than few writers can match. At Vedanet.com, he offers online courses in Yoga, Ayurveda, Tantra, Vedic Astrology, Indian history, Literature and more.

Some of my favorite books by Dr Frawley:

Yoga for Your Type: An Ayurvedic Approach to Your Asana Practice

Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization

Vedantic Meditations

Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses (Spiritual Secrets of Ayurveda)

yoga for your type  yoga and aruyveda     vedantic meditation     tantric yoga

FREE ARTICLES from the Knowledge Center of American Institute for Vedic Studies

 

8. The Yoga Tradition

by Georg Feuerstein, P.h.D

the yoga traditions

George Feuerstein’s official site: Traditional Yoga Studies

This is a work of impeccable scholarship by a person who has dedicated his life to the understanding and practice of yoga. The book offers a complete overview of every Yogic tradition, from the familiar to the lesser-known forms. It also covers all aspects of Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina Yoga, including history, philosophy, literature, psychology and practice. In addition, included are translations of twenty Yoga treatises and the first translation of the Goraksha Paddhati. George passed in 2012, and his wife continues to spread his teachings and lead mindfulness trainings.

About the Author: Feuerstein was a German Indologist specializing on Yoga. He authored more than 30 books on mysticism, Yoga, Hinduism, and Tantra. Historian of religions legend, Mircea Eliade, called Feuerstein’s ‘The Philosophy of Classical Yoga‘, “one of the most profound and original contributions to the understanding of classical yoga”. 

His most famous works include:

Tantra: Path of Esctasy

The Encyclopedia of Yoga and Tantra: Over 2,500 Entries on the History, Philosophy, and Practice

The Shambhala Guide to Yoga

Traditional Yoga Studies offers a downloadable $35 Yoga Teacher Training Manual

FREE ARTICLES from Traditional Yoga Studies website: Articles