As our brand new year turns a month old, it’s time to look back on our resolutions and check that our goals and our journey is on track. If yoga was on your list and you haven’t fallen off the wagon, take a moment and pat yourself on the back. Now would probably also be a great time to reflect and ask yourself, “Can I deepen my experience, delve further, and reap richer rewards?”
If the answer is yes, look no further. Yoga is all-too-easy a topic to explore. In fact, with yoga, the deeper we go, and wider we look to expand our horizons, the vaster the subject seems to be! Well documented, with a history reaching back into a past tinged by golden mists, yoga is full of mysteries and legends waiting to be deciphered and understood. For there, amidst the right pages, in the right books, from the right sources, is a spotlight on the real and true potential of yoga – a life-transforming practice that can change the way we breathe, the pose with which we stand and sit, even the very cellular structure within our bodies. Let’s look at just a few of these precious finds, and choosing any of them will take you the distance during your next yoga sadhana.
Yogasutras by Patanjali – The single-point source of all documented yoga, the Yogasutras are a sequence of 196 verses, attributed to a legendary figure – Patanjali. Aiming to carry the reader past the workings of the mind, this tome has been re-written by countless others to make it understandable to all types of readers. Out of these 196 verses, only 3 mention the word “asana” – imagine how much more richness of meaning is held within this text! One of the most popular and accessible translations/commentaries of this is the version by Swami Satchitananda, trained by Swami Sivananda in the Raja Yoga tradition.
The heart of yoga – Developing a personal practice – Penned by one of the most famous names in modern yoga – T.K.V.Desikachar, this book takes the fitness regimen of yoga-asanas and turns it on its head – making it personally relevant and philosophically meaningful. Helping the casual practitioner to delve into the intricacies without overwhelming us too much, it is invaluable in helping us join the dots to use yoga, not just to change, but to transform into beings of far reaching potential and ability.
Samadhi: the highest state of wisdom – Swami Rama, a rather controversial figure, gained world-wide fame for his Living with the Himalayan Masters, but it is this book, based on his lectures on the subject, that help us dive into the abstract concepts of Yoga. Samadhi refers to an absorptive trance-like state that the meditator can attain through Dhyana, and it is in this state that the deeper meanings and mysteries may be revealed, or at least experienced. The path to the ultimate yoga or “union” is a veiled and confusing one, but the words in this book hold up a few candles, in the slender beams of which some of this path may be seen, understood, and crossed.
This is part one of a two-part series on books that help us dive into Yoga to understand its deeper meaning and possibilities.
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