So, there are many, many books about yoga in the world. But let’s say you don’t really want a yoga how-to manual, but a memoir or something more personal? These 5 books are for you. They range from spiritual to slapstick in tone, but all are about women who find something important in yoga.
1. Curvy Voices, the collection of personal essays gathered by Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga.
You can download it for free here. These 30+ essays from real women describing how they came to yoga and their relationship with yoga practice is diverse, fascinating, and often funny. My favorite might be Noel Rozny’s “The Revolution Started with Yoga Pants.” But don’t miss essays by Mara Glatzel–of Medicinal Marzipan fame–or Melanie Klein’s fantastic “Feminism, Yoga & Body Image.”
2. Donna Farhi’s Bringing Yoga to Life: the Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living.
Farhi is a beautiful writer, exploring the potential of yoga practice to transform your thinking. A quote from her website: “When we realize that what we are advancing toward is not some physical form but an inward recognition of the truth of who we are, then we will not feel ourselves to be failing if we cannot attain difficult postures. “Advance” practice is any movement that brings us closer to this recognition of our true self.”
3. Kimberly Wilson’s Hip Tranquil Chick: A Guide to Life On and Off the Yoga Mat.
Wilson’s style is breezy and fun; she’s the yoga writer for you if you also enjoy crafting, fashion, and style. The book contains several different sequences, which are playfully illustrated and full of Wilson’s anecdotes about how she left behind a legal job to teach yoga. Since I heart pink, I love this one and Wilson’s follow-up, Tranquilista, about creating a yoga-influenced work/life balance.
4. Lucy Edge’s Yoga School Dropout: A Hilarious, Hapless, and Desperate Quest for Mystic Indians and Tantric Bliss.
Edge is sort of the Bridget Jones of yoga writing. An advertising professional, she decides to ditch her busy London life and go to an Indian ashram, ill-prepared for the culture shock, demanding regimen, or the ‘serious’ yoga practitioners she meets along the way. I thought she was incredibly funny, but if you can’t laugh at yourself, she may not be for you.
5. Claire Dederer’s Poser: A Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses.
Dederer’s writing, centered on her yoga practice and years of being a stay-at-home mom, will appeal to other yoga moms, particularly those who are frustrated with ‘serene motherhood’ stereotypes. Like Edge, she’s sarcastic and pokes fun at some of the seriousness of yoga culture.