Svadhyaya: Study of Sacred Scriptures
Enlightening, Interesting, and Educational Reads
In the "Yoga Sutras" of Patanajali, one of the most read ancient Yoga texts, we are offered Yogic disciplines called Yamas (restraint) and Niyamas (observance) which help to channel the energies of the organs of actions and the senses of perception in the right direction. In other words, they keep us heading in the right direction towards the goal of Yoga.
One of the five practices suggested to spiritual aspirants is called Svadhyaya or study of the sacred scriptures and of one's own self. According to modern master Yogi B.K.S Iyengar in his book, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, "Svadhyaya enlightens the practitioner with the knowledge of his inner immortal being".
While I strongly believe that the truth of Yoga is most effectively realized when we have a direct and intimate experience of it within ourselves (not dependent on any outside means), it is also a neccesary part of the practice to spend some time studying and reading both the ancient scriptures and texts to become more familiar with the direct roots of the tradiition, and more modern renditions or more recently written yoga books.
I have been compiling a list of some of my favorite, most potent Yogic reads over the last 20 years that I would like to share with those interested in developing the intellect and knowledge body. Some of the suggested books are translations of ancient, sacred scriptures, and others are very modern personal experiences written by western practictioners from varying faiths and traditions. I found them all to be inspirational and powerful sources that have helped my in myriad ways along my journey to the Self. This list is very small compared to the vast amount of amazing texts and books available to us today...so please just take them as suggestions!
In no particular order:
"The Radiance Sutras" by Roche
“The Journey Home” by Radhanath Swami
“The Four Desires” by Rod Stryker
“Heart of Yoga” by Mark Whitwell
“The Splendor of Recognition” by Swami Shantananda
“Living Your Yoga” by Judith Lasater
“The Living Gita” by Sri Swami Satchidananda
“Easter Body, Western Mind” by Anodea Judith
“Shakti Mantras” by Thomas Ashley-Farrand
“The Red Book” by Sera Beck
“Ganesha Goes to Lunch” by Kamla K. Kapur
“Tantra Illuminated” by Christopher Hareesh Wallis
“Spiritual Nutrition” by Gabriel Cousens, MD
“The Way of the Superior Man” by David Deida
“The Yoga of Everyday Life” by Donna Fahri
"Spanda-Karikas, The Divine Creative Pulsation" by Jaideva Singh
"The Yoga Traditions" by Georg Feuerstein
"Shakti Awakening" by Sally Kempton
"Yoga, the Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness" by Erich Schiffmann