Friday, January 11, 2013


Here are a couple books I've read in the last year that I've liked.

This is mostly yoga-related, and excludes my other reading, which includes, non-fiction, comic books, graphic novels, and genre fiction (which typically includes literary fiction, science fiction, mysteries, fantasy, and pulp).

Awake in the World
Michael Stone
I really liked this one. Speaks directly to the experience of the Hatha Yogi without being obnoxiously Buddhist.

Yoga and the Luminous
Christopher Chapple
Yo Chapple dawg, you picked seriously the worst cover for your book in the world. My hyperbole aside, this is one of my favorite books on the Yoga Sutras. You can read it straight through, or essay by essay. It includes background on the historical and social context of the Sutras, as well as discusses thematic developments. It also includes a line-by-line translation.

The Yoga Body
Mark Singleton
A great exploration of the social and historical development of posture-related Yoga practice.

Yoga in Practice (ed.); Tantra in Practice (ed.); Sinister Yogis; The Alchemical Body
I read a lot of David Gordon White books last year. They're dense but rewarding. Sinister Yogis,
Samuel's The Origins of Yoga and Tantra, and Singleton's book present a compelling story of the development of contemporary Western Yoga practices.

A History of Modern Yoga: PataƱjali and Western Esotericism
Elizabeth De Michelis
Maybe too academic for the casual reader, still a very compelling look at specifically how the story of Patanjali and the Sutras have been and continue to be retold.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Chip Hartranfft
Another of the most compelling and readable versions of the Sutras; from a more Buddhist perspective.

Bhagavad Gita
J.A.B. van Buitenen
Van Buitenen's version is one of my favorites because he renders the text in prose form, which really let me trace the thematic and tonal shifts and developments, which for me was a bit harder to absorb in standard verse form.