The practice of yoga often starts so small: often it begins as a way to get into shape, heal from an injury, or meet other people. Then something else happens. Suddenly, your yoga is creeping into all aspects of your life. You feel more grounded, more calm, more mindful - both on and off the mat. And even those days where everything is going downhill fast become manageable!
Svadhayaya, self-study, is one of the practices in yoga. Self-study is often understood as understanding the individual self in relation to the infinite consciousness. In ancient times this required study Vedic texts, scriptures, and learning from the gurus who have attained enlightenment. In our modern Western world,there are many wonderful books and resources to read. To make your journey onto the eight limb path more accessible here are three books that may guide you further on your yogic path.
EASY TO READ, FULL OF DEPTH:
Go to any yoga class for an extended period of time and soon you will hear the teacher talk about your chakras. These bodily energy centers are said to be the “master programs that govern our life, loves, learning, and illumination.” Wheels of Life is a “map for the journey of consciousness.” Anodea Judith explains the complexity of the seven main chakras with clarity and simplicity. In each chapter she offers yoga poses and meditations to align with each chakra. This is a great book into the chakras whether it is your first book or your seventh on this expansive topic.
It is rare to come across a Western yogi’s bookshelf and not see The Heart of Yoga wedged between the Bhagavad Gita and B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga. Thistext breaks down the principles of yoga in a clear and systematic way. This is a book that will introduce you to many different elements of yoga. The depth of the book allows a reader to return over and over and find new layers of information to deconstruct and digest.
Yoga is more than holding postures for ninety minutes, it is how you interact with the world and with yourself. In her book, Living Your Yoga, Judith Lasater incorporates wisdom from the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita to provide practical ways to enrich your life with yoga. In each chapter she provides accessible and doable suggestions how to truly live your yoga off your mat. This book is a must for anyone ready to bring yoga into their everyday life.
There are many, many books on and about yoga. Svadhyaya is the process of learning from books, teachers, friends, and circumstances in order to enrich your life experience. Take your time exploring, digesting, and incorporating all that you learn. Do not feel you need to agree or understand with everything – yoga is multi-layered and ultimately trust that everything you need to know is already within you.