yoga nerds unite!

*stolen from http://namastebookclub.blogspot.com/

*stolen from http://namastebookclub.blogspot.com/

I love yoga and I love books, so I’m very excited that some brilliant yogis have started an on-line reading group, Namaste Book Club. It’s a loosely structured club that will discuss books related to yoga via Ning social networking.

The first book up for discussion is TKV Desikachar’s Heart of Yoga ~ a very good choice! The book is Desikachar’s examination of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, and it’s more than a translation with commentary. He looks at how the classical sutras can permeate every aspect of our yoga practice. I’ve had this book on my shelf for a number of years, but really haven’t sat down and read it from cover to cover. Now I have a reason to!

And I better get reading fast, because the discussion starts on Sunday, July 5 with a real-time chat between 5 pm and 10 pm CST. There is already a lot of activity in the forums, so I predict that we can expect some lively conversation (and hopefully some debates!). From what I’ve seen, the club “leaders” are doing a good job of providing structure and letting things be organic, and the participants are very enthusiastic.

This whole process has got me thinking about the role of books in my yoga practice (my entry to yoga practice came through writing and editing, of course), and I’ll post about that later. But here are my top 5 most influential yoga books (in my life, of course):

Kundalini Yoga for the West – Swami Sivananda Radha

Yoga and the Quest for True Self – Stephen Cope

How We Live Our Yoga – Valerie Jeremijenko, ed

Teaching Yoga – Donna Farhi

Between East and West – Luce Irigaray

And since no list of yoga books is complete without the two cornerstones of the literary tradition of the practice, I also love Eknath Easwaran’s translation of the Bhagavad Gita, and Chip Hartranft’s translation of The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Georg Feurstein’s Deeper Dimension of Yoga is an invaluable resource, and for any questions about asana, I turn to Iyengar’s Light on Yoga and H. David Coulter’s The Anatomy of Hatha Yoga.

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  1. Luce Irigaray? I remember reading her in a literary theory class in grad. school (I think she came up with the idea that novels by women can have multiple climaxes since…y’know…). I had no idea she’d written about yoga, but will check that out…

    P.S. I’m a yoga hipster, not a yoga nerd, by the way…really, despite what I just said about taking literary theory classes in grad school…I go to yoga classes in a faded, ripped Sonic Youth t-shirt for chrissake…okay, maybe that makes me a nerd, too…

  2. Thanks so much for the shout out Roseanne! So glad you joined us! YogaforCynics… you are always welcome. (i also do yoga classes in rock shirts.. ;-). Love the recs, will add them to our growing list later today.

  3. I’m glad that I’m not the only person who wears beat up old rock T’s to yoga class!

    Dr Jay, you are *totally* a yoga nerd! Especially if you’re wearing Sonic Youth shirts to yoga.

    Luce Irigaray is better known as a literary theorist and psychologist, but she is also a secret yogi. She even studied with Krishnamacharya in India during the 60s. ‘Between East and West’ is her only full-length publication on Eastern teachings, and it’s a delightful read – not really philosophy, not really memoir, but beautiful and poetic. She always comes back to the breath…

  4. What a great idea. I will definitely check out the namaste book club.

    Your blog got me thinking about my own top ten list (in order of importance to my Yoga life):

    1) “Bhagavad Gita” Mitchell

    2) “Upanishads” Easwaran

    3) “Yoga Sutra” Hartranft

    4) “Bhagavad Gita” Schweig

    5) “Yoga and the Quest for the True Self” Cope

    6) “Kripalu Yoga–A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat” Faulds

    7) “Yoga–The Greater Tradition” Frawley

    8) “Path of Fire and Light” Swami Rama

    9) “Will Yoga and Meditation Really Change My Life” Cope

    10) “Effortless Wellbeing” Finer (not Yoga per se, this is my favorite book on meditation)

    I would love to see everyone else’s list, too! Maybe you could make this new blog–“request for everyone’s top ten list.”

    Bob Weisenberg