There are some books that stick with us long after we’ve finished turning the pages. These are the books that become a part of who we are— a fabric of our being, so to speak. They influence us when we think about our practice (and our lives as a whole, really), and they affect our headspace and outlook every time we step on our mats and sit on our meditation cushions.
They’re the kind of books that are worth reading again and again.
To dig into the power that the best yoga and meditation books can have to change our lives, we asked top teachers which yoga and meditation books have changed theirs. Teachers cited books that were favorites because they were easy to return to again and again, as well as books that made a difference at a pivotal moment in their lives.
Read on for the 10 best yoga and meditation books, according to 10 top teachers around the country.
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
“My mid-thirties were a dark time. I was depressed, but too trapped in fear to change my life,” says New York City yoga pro Joe Miller. “While I had been practicing yoga on and off for years, I had never really explored yoga philosophy. Then I ran across a used copy of Alan Watts’ The Wisdom of Insecurity. Watts' message—that we can’t have security without accepting insecurity, that our desire to cling to what’s familiar only creates suffering—resonated with me. Watts helped me see that the fact that there’s no life without death, or light without darkness, could be a cause for joy and reason to live more fully. I eventually read nearly every book he wrote and dove more deeply into yoga practice. Within a few years, I had started teaching yoga and was much healthier and happier. It wasn’t just Watts’ book, of course, and it’s still hard for me to accept "the wisdom of insecurity," but the glimpse he offered of another way to live came at just the right time.”
Gina Tomaine is a Philadelphia-based writer and editor. She is currently Deputy Lifestyle Editor of Philadelphia magazine, and previously served as Associate Deputy Editor of Rodale’s Organic Life. Her work can be seen in Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Prevention, Good Housekeeping, and elsewhere. Learn more at ginatomaine.com.