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Yoga for All: Deepen Your Yoga and Meditation Practice

December 8, 2023
plus sized folks do yoga too

Growing up, and even now honestly, yoga was presented to me as a "joy of movement," but also a fix-all for my fatness. I legit pulled muscles I didn't know I had because I thought by twisting myself into shapes that my body rejected and trying to eat the greenest of the green diets that I would suddenly not be the fat Black girl and transform into a suburban cheerleader with blue eyes and the best thigh gap ever to be had.

Shockingly, that never happened, but I'm confident I kept several therapists fed.

Now, I tend to do yoga because it is something I really connect with. However, my focus tends to be on the other more meditative and observance-focused limbs of the yogic path instead of the two most common practices-- asanas (movement) and pranayama (breathing).

eight limbs of yoga
The Eight Limbs of Yoga as described by Patanjali.

Therefore, I’ve put together a reading list in no particular order that has been helpful to me in expanding my thought process surrounding what it means to be a yoga practitioner.


The Eight Limbs of Yoga

YAMA – Restraints, moral disciplines, or moral vows

  • Ahimsa (non-violence) 
  • Satya (truthfulness) 
  • Asteya (don’t steal)
  • Brahmacharya (directing energy to the right places) 
  • Aparigraha (no hoarding of wealth...don’t be greedy)

NIYAMA – Positive duties or observances

  • saucha (cleanliness) 
  • santosha (contentment)
  • tapas (discipline) 
  • svadhyaya (self-study and reflection; the study of spiritual texts)
  • isvarapranidaha (surrender to a higher power)

ASANA – Posture (Yoga Poses/Movement)

PRANAYAMA – Breathing Techniques

PRATYAHARA – Sense withdrawal 

  • Bringing the attention to the breath and focusing inward

DHARANA – Focused Concentration and Breathing

  • Focusing the mind on one’s breath, an object, a mantra, or a concept.

DHYANA – Meditative Absorption

  •  Contemplation and Reflection: uninterrupted thoughts that one allows to flow through them.

SAMADHI – Bliss or Enlightenment

  • When even the idea of meditation completely disappears

Foundational Books for Anyone and Any Body Starting Their Yoga and Meditation Journey

If you're new to yoga and meditation, a few books are considered essential reading. These books will offer you a strong understanding of the principles and practices of yoga and meditation and support you in developing a solid foundation to build your practice.

Deepening Your Practice

So, you've nailed the yoga and meditation basics, and now you're ready to dive deeply into the cosmic world of Zen. Our hand-picked book collection is here to guide you every step of the way. These must-reads will take you on a journey of exploration through the spiritual and religious philosophies and techniques that drive yoga and meditation, leaving you with a refined practice and many peaceful vibes.

shiva and acolyte
Religion is a set of beliefs and practices to connect with the divine as a group, while spirituality is an individual practice. Therefore, acknowledging yoga means accepting it as a spiritual and religious practice.

For BIPOC and Plus-Sized Yogis

Attention, all plus-sized yogis and people of color out there: we've got a list of must-reads tailored just for you! Whether you're searching for books that delve into your unique experiences, looking for tips to gain confidence to attempt more advance poses and alternatives, or interested in exploring all eight limbs of yoga, we've got your back! Our list is jam-packed with books that will motivate, inspire, and push you to new heights. So, grab a cup of tea tea and dive right in!

plus sized folks do yoga too
Plus-sized people do yoga too! My yoga practice is not done for weight loss. I do yoga to feel connected to myself.

In Conclusion

It doesn't matter if you're a yoga newbie, meditation master, or somewhere in between, we've got a smorgasbord of books to tickle your fancy! Our list has everything from beginner guides to advanced techniques, so you can take your practice to the next level. So why not grab a book, kick back, and get ready to be inspired? The world is your oyster!

Sade with blue mohawk avatar


Sade has been with Nashville Public Library since 2007. She started as a Page, and worked her way up. She loves reviewing books, movies, and restaurants. You can usually find her watching terrible movies and reading speculative fiction and comics. Sade is currently a librarian at the Edmondson Pike Branch Library.


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