My Favorite Yoga Reads

by | Apr 23, 2014 | Living Yoga | 4 comments

A fair amount of my reading is in the “yoga” category (is it really a category?) and within this grouping, I read a fair amount with respect to the sacred texts of the tradition, but really, you’ll find and read these as you are drawn to them.

What I want to share with you are the books written by both learned teachers and yoga practitioners of today.  They are living yoga’s wisdom in our complex world and share it’s gems generously.

Together these favorite reads have inspired me, touched my soul, made me laugh out loud, opened me to life’s mystery even more and helped me get through the day. There’s something for everyone here as the message in each one of them is universal, I think… How do we know ourselves more deeply and how does yoga help take us there?  Enjoy!

By Sally Kempton
This is the go-to Who is my goddess? book.  In the yoga tradition, we all have an ishta devata or cherished goddess, if you will, a goddess whose qualities we posses, who supports us in our day to day life and who we turn to in prayer. Not only does Sally Kempton offer the qualities of some of the most revered goddesses, she illumines their nature by showing how they have manifested in popular culture, and while she’s at it, shares their shadow sides as well.  Lingering in my  attention still is the thought that the goddess are not simply archetypes for us to learn from, but true energies to embrace.

By Dr. Claudia Welch
A practical guide for balancing the stress and sex hormones throughout the stages of our lives. Dr. Welch takes a complex subject and unpacks it via the sciences of Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. She makes finding our way back to hormonal health user friendly with clear and easy lifestyle and daily routine recommendations.  As well, yoga’s breathing practices–pranayama–are a key component to the mix.  It’s an informative read-through, but you’re going to find yourself checking back in with the text again and again for managing life’s stresses as they present themselves.

By Michelle Berman Marchildon
Ok, can I just say that I LOVE this memoir?  Not because Michelle’s life is perfect or that she has the perfect yoga practice with arm balances being her strong suit, (which must mean she has a perfect life, right?) but because she is at once Irreverent, outrageous, hilarious, authentic and shows a level of vulnerability that I can only hope to imagine revealing.  Michelle shares the realness of her life and how yoga keeps her in it. Each chapter gives Lessons from the Mat that make what is esoteric and powerful about yoga, real for today.

By Tiziana Stupia
First I am deeply touched by the authors courage to tell her story.  But, Oh My Goodness, if you want a compelling, heart wrenching, sometimes unbelievable account of one woman’s spiritual journey to find her beloved, that crosses all boundaries of religious or spiritual convention in the backdrop of the Himalayas, look no further.  It’s a memoir that sometimes blissfully and sometimes brutally blends psychology with spirituality.  Read it lest you not know how these players mesh with the human experience.  Meeting Shiva is published in the US, the UK and is now being published in India.  Wow.


By Brian Leaf
This memoir would be my favorite coming of age yoga story. From freshman year in college to the proverbial cross country road trip where the author seeks personal growth and answers to some of life’s big questions through yoga.  Along the way Brian finds and offers us 8 keys for doing just that. You’ll laugh out loud and relate more than once to his hilarious but poignant adventures into finding meaning in life, and see how the journey to self-awareness isn’t always pretty, but it sure is worth it.

So there you have it…. be it aligning with a goddess energy, health through hormonal balance, or understanding the complexities of the human experience, yoga seems to have some answers–or at least helps us find them and not take ourselves too seriously along the way.

Your favorite yoga reads?

p.s. Support your local independent bookseller with your purchase; in Albuqueque my fav is Bookworks.


  1. Emilah DeToro

    Great books, Bea! I’d like to add Stephen Cope’s most recent book “The Great Work of Your Life” to the list. It’s a modern-day commentary on The Bhagavad Gita that I found inspirational. Whether you are searching for your calling, or feel comfortably on-the-path, there’s wisdom here.

    • beadoyle

      Thanks Emilah. I will check it out; I have loved his earlier works. His Title, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, was a big influence for me in the early days of my study.

  2. Marcia Ludden

    Thanks for sharing your favorites. For fun, I really enjoyed “Poser” by Claire Dederer. It’s a memoir of her journey into yoga. Her descriptions of what yoga teachers say are hilarious and for any of us who are yoga teachers it allows for poignant reflection!

    • beadoyle

      Thanks Marcia. I’m happy to know about this one. I’ll check it out.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *