FEEDING MY SOUL
When I started my spiritual quest in college, my appetite for spiritual insight, wisdom and inspiration was insatiable and I devoured all the spiritual books I could get my hands on. Reading about saints, yogic philosophy, and recipes on living a yoga-inspired life was like nectar to my soul.
Over the course of the past 20 years, I have read MANY books, but these ten classics are the ones that have a special place on my bookshelf and that I still turn to often. Each book is a touchstone, that reminds me of the magic and beauty of yoga & meditation and just how grateful and I am for my practice.
SHAPING MY WORLD
If you get a chance, I would highly recommend checking out some…or all of these recommendations :). They have each played an integral role in shaping my world, and continue to provide much light, direction, warmth and nourishment through the deep valleys and windy mountains that my life adventures take me on. I hope that they can do the same for you. So, without further ado, here’s my list…
Top 10 Yoga-Inspired Spiritual Classics:
- This House is on Fire, as told by Shri Anandi Ma
This biography of Shri Dhyanyogi, the kind of Indian saint who only exists in legend, provides tales of his exploits—at 100 years old he could walk faster than any of his followers—that are intertwined with his spiritual teachings. After 80 years of solitude in rural India, Dhyanyogi came out from seclusion to teach in India and the United States. Tales of the gentle yogi facing down tigers, battling hunger and thirst, and traveling through the treacherous mountains and scorching deserts of India are all told here. In his unending desire to be a resource to followers, Dhyanyogi is known to have said to his followers, “This house is on fire—loot all you can!”—referring to the wisdom he had and how little time he had on earth to impart it.
- The Living Gita, by Swami Satchidananda
The Bhagavad Gita tells the story of how Arjuna, the great warrior, is seated in his chariot about to engage in battle, when he sees his own kinsmen and his revered teacher arrayed in battle against him, and feels that he cannot fight. It is then that Krishna, the Cosmic Lord, comes to counsel him. Arjuna represents the human soul seated in the chariot of the body and Krishna is the inner Spirit, the God within, who is there to consel him. Today we see humanity divided against itself and threatened with nuclear war and mutual destruction. No political means are adequate to deal with this problem, and many are driven to despair. It is then that the message of the Gita comes to teach us that it is only when we rise above human schemes and calculations and awake to the presence of the indwelling Spirit that we can hope to find the answer to our need.
- Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda
This book is a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. Profoundly inspiring, it is at the same time vastly entertaining, warmly humorous and filled with extraordinary personages.
- The Himalayan Masters: A Living Tradition, by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
In a nutshell, this book describes the lives of 8 saints who lived in the Himalayan mountains. The struggles they went through and eventually attaining Self-Realization is truly a source of inspiration for all those souls embarking on the spiritual path. It gives new hope to thousands of people who have decided to embark on the yogic path. And answers common experiences faced by spiritual novices.
- Shakti: An Introduction to Kundalini Maha Yoga, by Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudhandas
Describing the nature of the universal divine energy of Kundalini and its relationship to spiritual growth, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji, a great saint of India and a master of Kundalini Maha yoga, explains how to awaken this dormant energy in spiritual aspirants. In this new edition, Shri Dhyanyogiji shares his energy, wisdom, and technical knowledge of this sacred tradition, making it accessible to both the beginning and the more advanced student of yoga. Featuring helpful charts and diagrams of the chakra system and the 18 major nadis, questions and answers about meditation and the spiritual path, as well as encouraging experiences from students, this guide brings together knowledge that had been formerly unknown outside of this yogic lineage.
- The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, by Vasant Lad
Based on the ancient healing tradition from India that dates back thousands of years, The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies offers natural alternatives to conventional medicines and treatments with practical advice and easy-to-follow instructions.
- The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
The only fiction novel on my list, this magical book combines magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery. Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
- Light on Meditation, by Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudhandas
In “Light on Meditation”, Shri Dhyanyogi explains how meditation transforms body, mind and spirit. In his simple down-to-earth voice, he clarifies the meaning of Kundalini, the spiritual energy within us. This vibrant book provides a map for the spiritual seeker, offering clear guidance about how to deal with the victories and challenges along the path.
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by Swami Satchidananda
This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. This new edition of these timeless teachings is a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path. The classic Sutras (thought-threads), at least 4,000 years old, 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. In this classic context, Sri Swamiji offers practical advice based on his own experience for mastering the mind and achieving physical, mental and emotional harmony.
- Raja Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda
This book is a little bit of a hard read, but is packed with such an abundance of wisdom on the practice of Raja Yoga. The method has been called the soul of all the yogas. The emphsis here in on the control of the mind through concentration and meditation. Raja yoga is also called the yoga of meditation. It is regarded as the psychological way to union with God. Rousing the Kundalini is the one and only way to attain Divine Wisdom. The rousing may come in various ways: through love for God, through the mercy of perfected sages, or through the power of the analytic will of the philosopher. Wherever there was any manifestation of what is ordinarily called supernatural power or wisdom, there a little current of Kundalini must have found its way into the Sushumna. Thus, what most people worship under various names, through fear and tribulation, the Yogi declares to the world to be the real power coiled up in every being, the Mother of eternal happiness, if we but know how to approach her. And Raja Yoga is the science of religion, the rationale of all worship, all prayers, forms, ceremonies, and miracles.