Yoga, as we know it today, is not what it used to be. Yoga teachers are different, students are diverse. Our questions have evolved, our quest has evolved. While what we seek remains essentially the same, our starting points are vastly very broad. Yet, seekers all over the world are daily, by the minute, reaching out to various platforms for answers. The questions sometimes are very rudimentary, yet profound… and likewise, no one answer fits every question wholly. A teacher once told me to live the questions, the answers will reveal themselves through living and life.
Still, it quite doesn’t get past me that after all these millennia, the Truth hasn’t been expounded. Many have explored, some have shared and attempted to express, but for the greater mass of us, the Truth remains evasive for as so long as our truth (notice the lowercase ‘t’) remains in focus.
Not everything can be taught, but an experience can be shared. Gyana (Jnana) yoga does look into the aspect of yoga through seeking truth and knowledge. There are a number of pathways to following gyan yoga – to seek the knowledge of the Universe is an immense purpose, when quite often seeking the knowledge of ourselves in itself a bigger challenge. For many today, the journey starts with learning – under the guidance of a teacher, a guru – the dispeller of darkness. For many others, the process starts, and often continues, with inquiry. The journey of the Self is often started with the easiest and least demanding of instructors – literature.
Many noted teachers have put down their thoughts as a legacy for generations to come. Yet, as yoga has evolved, bookshelves today are abundant with texts, series and documented journals of practitioners and teachers the world over. The internet is a powerhouse in terms of resources too. But as with everything we take in, there is need to be prudent with the sources of such text. Accepting the various perceptions of the different authors and teachers and at the same time valuing your own discrimination in what resonates the strongest with you is a good starting point – it may take effort, but it’s an effort worth putting in.
Here is a starting list, in no particular order, of the books our teachers, faculty and senior practitioners have put together:
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
- Bhagvad Gita
- Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, Swami Satyananda Saraswati
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika
- Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar
- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Deepak Chopra
- The Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda
- Vedanta Prabodha