I’m often asked "What Yoga books would you recommend?" I have more than a few favorites, but first a caveat.
Jnanna Yoga is the pursuit of knowledge. However it can be a trap. When we approach our Yoga studies like the rest of our modern lives we ‘collect’ Yoga knowledge. We stuff ourselves with the facts and figures and leave no room for clear understanding. Our culture is about more. Yoga is about less.
There are acres of ancient texts available, ancient maps to liberation, We’re fortunate that the modern masters have translated them for us. As usual in our culture, we can drown in our abundance.
Paramahansa Yogananda taught that once we integrate a single sentence into our lives, only then should we move on to the next line. A book would last a while huh?
When we approach our practice from the point of less is more, then we can appreciate the subtle. No need to run after every workshop, or fill your schedule with classes. Honor the space between things. This practice of space shows up in our lives, doing less, needing less, making some space for the unfolding. Pour a cup of something. Sit and sip. That’s enough.
I was brought to this most amazing Puja, (fire worship) for Chamundi, a form of the Mother. Very complex. All sorts of Mudras, Mantras, songs, and offerings to the fire. It took 4+ hours to conclude. At the end my teacher handed me a mala, and whispered a mantra in my ear. "Condensed" he said. The entire 4 hour ceremony contained in 7 words. Yes, the rituals are sacred and important, but balance is key.
You’ll never learn all the mantras. No need to, they are all contained in our sacred sound ‘Om.’ Can you really feel Om? It’s no surprise that we need to approach our Yoga Studies in a Yogic mindset of balance. Can we practice that most ancient Mantra of ‘enough?" Okay. here’s the short list:
I have a well used, and often referred to copy of the Jivamukti book:
and you’ll need a copy of the Sutras:
and perhaps a translation of the Bhagavad Gita:
Start there. Savor them, a page a day. Let me know what you think. The teachings are vast, give up the idea of absorbing them all this time around.
Om Shanti, I’ll see you in class.