Whether you’re a new student looking to understand the fundamentals of yoga, or a teacher on a quest to deepen and expand your knowledge, there are countless yoga books available to help guide you. To help you get started, here are a few of my recommendations for “must read” books for Kundalini yogis.
The Yoga Sutras, or Aphorisms, of Patanjali constitute the theoretical foundation for modern day yoga practices. Stephen Cope is a psychotherapist and a senior Kripalu Yoga teacher who has written an easy to read guide to the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, adapted to modern times. This book follows the personal stories of several yoga students as they embark on their individual journeys of self-discovery. Through these “case studies”, Cope demystifies the sutras and demonstrates how Patanjali’s aphorisms apply to our daily lives.
In my opinion, this is the most complete Kundalini Yoga manual that has been published to date. It provides tremendously useful background information on the history and practice of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, as well as good explanations of the basics (tuning in, pranayam, asanas, etc.). It also includes more than 25 kriyas and over 20 meditations, all with very clear explanations and drawings. This is a book you will come back to time and time again.
Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa has written a wonderful explanation of how meditation can help to heal us. He cites scientific investigations, case studies, and plenty of anecdotal evidence to demonstrate the power of meditation. The book also includes in-depth descriptions of the chakras, along with numerous examples of medical meditations to help heal the body, heart and mind with the chakras. Used in conjunction with conventional medicine if necessary, medical meditation is a powerful tool to activate the healing powers within us.
Of all the important books and lectures that Yogi Bhajan has provided us with, my personal favorite is the I Am a Woman series. These books include a fascinating collection of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings for women, covering topics such as Awakening Your Inner Vitality, Empower your Life, Woman as Mother, and Healing and Relaxation. There are also writings on relationships, sexuality, and personal discipline. Even if you don’t agree with everything Yogi Bhajan taught us about women, these books are an important addition to the literature on the teachings. Not to mention the fact that the yoga manual includes some of the best kriyas and meditations you will find anywhere!
Pranayam, or yogic breathing, is a fundamental part of yoga, and this book gives us over 200 pages of breathing techniques that Yogi Bhajan has shared with us. There is a great explanation of Breath of Fire, and many examples of how different types of pranayam affect our bodies and minds. Alternate nostril breathing, alternate channel breathing, breath retention, and different stroke breath are examples of some of what is covered here. This is an important book for all Kundalini students and teachers, and it provides a lifetime of learning.