Most people begin a yoga or meditation practice to improve their health or to manage stress, but yoga is much more than a stretching class, and meditation is much more than a stress management technique. When you delve into the rich philosophy of yoga, you find that yoga is not simply something you do on the yoga mat or the meditation cushion. It is a lifestyle and a way of thinking and seeing the world.
When we study ancient texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and the Yoga Sutras, we see that yoga aims at nothing short of changing the way perceive the world. Through spiritual practice, mindful living and conscious relationships, our whole way of thinking is healed.
Reading ancient text from a very different culture is not easy, however. In my second book, Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic, I attempt to make the complex world of yoga philosophy more understandable to a modern western yogi. I also offer lectures and workshops on various topics throughout the United States and abroad. Be sure to visit my events page for upcoming lectures. For those of you who can’t make it to my lectures, I have posted many of my talks for easy download into your iPod.
As I have practiced yoga in the quest for inner peace, I have found that my spiritual practice doesn’t end when I leave the yoga mat or finish my meditation. That is the beginning. While having a time of quiet each day is essential for our spiritual health, it is what we do in the world that propels us forward as individuals and as a society.
—Darren Main, Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic
Modern Yoga Gurus
This article lists some of the most prominent teachers to come to the west from India along with books they have authored.
Classical Hatha Yoga Postures
A list of the most common modern yoga poses and where they are discussed in ancient texts.
Ancient Texts & Translations
Anthology of Texts
Sacred Books from the East
The Holy Vedas– translated by Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar
The Rig Veda (Penguin Classics)
The Upanishads– translated by Eknath Easwaran
Upanisads (Oxford World’s Classics) translated by Patrick Olivelle
The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita– translation by Eknath Easwaran
The Bhagavad Gita (Penguin Classics)
Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell
The Yoga Sutras
The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali: A New Translation with Commentary -translated by Chip Hartranft
Four Chapters on Freedom: Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – translated by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
The Yoga-Sutra of Patañjali: A New Translation and Commentary – translated by Georg Feuerstein
Yoga: Discipline of Freedom: The Yoga Sutra Attributed to Patanjali translated by Barbara Stoler Miller
How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali -translation & commentary by Swami Prabhavananda, Christopher Isherwood
The Pradipika & Hatha Yoga Texts
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika translated by Brian Dana Akers
Hatha Yoga Pradipika -translation and commentary by Swami Muktibodhananda