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Yoga Books of 2012

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It has been a fantastic year for yoga literature. From scholarly books that delve deeply into the historic and present-day culture of yoga to lighter, humorous memoirs to Ayurvedic cookbooks—there’s a read to suit nearly any yoga style and preference. Here are some of our favorite yoga-related books released so far in 2012.

Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness by Brian Leaf. Leaf’s memoir is a humorous coming-of-age story that chronicles 21 years of yoga practice. His stories are an honest examination of how the practice can transform and inspire the lives of yoga students. It’s proof that yoga is for everyone—and you don’t have to take yourself too seriously to reap the benefits.

Threads of Yoga: A Remix of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras by Matthew Remski. This new translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is a “remix” of the ancient book with modern commentary by Remski. In addition to a full translation of the sutras, Remski shares his thoughts on how they translate across thousands of years and very different cultures. He explains: “It is a sharp critique of some old ideas that I believe no longer serve contemporary yoga. It is an invitation to yoga culture to begin to fully use the philosophical, psychotherapeutic, literary, and scientific paradigms of our time to enhance our self-inquiry and socio-political awareness.”

Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence Competitive Yoga by Benjamin Lorr. Bikram Yoga might be one of the most misunderstood schools of yoga. In Hell-Bent Benjamin Lorr explains how he became a competitive yogi. He offers insights into the Bikram Yoga world gathered from his research and his personal experiences in a narrative that’s thought provoking and entertaining.

The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga: The Essential Guide to Complete Mind/Body Fitness by Kathryn Budig. YJ blogger Kathryn Budig is known for her ability to explain complicated postures in a way that’s accessible to the masses. The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga promises to explain everything you need to know about the practice in one book. Its offerings include poses for weight loss and better sex, targeted 15-minute workouts, and a clean eating plan.

Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit by Ana Forrest. Forrest Yoga founder Ana Forrest describes the journey that transformed her into a crippled kid with a troubled home life to the strong, inspirational yoga teacher she is today. In this memoir, she offers practical ways to overcome fear and use yoga to heal both body and spirit.

Original Yoga: Rediscovering Traditional Practices of Hatha Yoga by Richard Rosen. Written by yoga scholar and longtime contributing editor to Yoga Journal Richard Rosen, this book examines some misconceptions about the development of yoga. He shows how today’s practice compares to those from ancient manuals to show how yoga has changed throughout history.

Yoga for Meditators: Poses to Support Your Sitting Practice by Charlotte Bell. All yoga poses are really intended to prepare the practitioner’s body for seated meditation. But some poses are more helpful than others, says author and longtime meditator Charlotte Bell. In Yoga for Meditators, Bell shares the practice that has helped her find ease and stillness.

Yoga Cures: Simple Routines to Conquer More than 50 Common Ailments and Live Pain Free by Tara Stiles. Model turned yoga mogul Tara Stiles shares yogic remedies for everything from acne to hangovers, jiggly thighs, and vertigo in her newest book. She offers a sequence of poses appropriate for beginners and advanced students for each ailment.

The Promise of Love, Sex, and Intimacy: How a Simple Breathing Practice Will Enrich Your Life Forever by Mark Whitwell. Whitwell, a master teacher who studied with T. Krishnamacharya and his son T.K.V. Desikachar, has attempted to bring some of the most profound truths and benefits of yoga to a mass audience with this new book. Without once recommending the purchase of a sticky mat, he shares deep wisdom from the practice and simple techniques of how to connect movement with breath and to experience yourself as embodiment of the lifeforce itself.

The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen: Finding Harmony Through Food by Talya Lutzker. Ayurveda, the sister-science to yoga, considers food, chosen, prepared, and eaten in harmony with your natural constitution, or dosha, is a key component to lifelong health and well-being. In this new cookbook, Ayurvedic practitioner and chef Talya Lutzker puts forth delicious recipes that apply these healing principles in an easy-to-follow format but without the use of animal products.