This is the first summer since 2005 that I did not go to India to study yoga. Instead, I may relive the experience (and get some relief from the Chicago summer!) by re-reading one of the India-travel-yoga memoirs below.
Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald. This 2002 memoir is a humorous, often-biting look at India's various spiritual offerings, written by an Australian radio correspondent who is far more thoughtful than the quirky cover would lead you to believe.
In Search of Secret India by Paul Brunton. The British-born Brunton traveled to India in the early 1930s in the hopes of encountering some real yogis, mystics and gurus - who were hard to find during the waning days of the Raj. He became a disciple of Sri Ramana Maharshi, one of the greatest yogis of our time. This is a classic text on the search for a guru. Read a short version of Brunton's Q&A with Ramana Maharshi here.
Radha: Diary of a Woman's Search by Swami Sivananda Radha. In 1955, at the age of 44, the German-born Canadian Sylvia Helman was called in a dream by Swami Sivananda to make a pilgramage to India. She became his disciple and was one of the first westerners - not to mention the first woman - to bring his yoga to North America, at her Yasodhara Ashram and the Radha Yoga Centres. This fascinating memoir describes her day-to-day experiences with Swami Sivananda.
Read the story behind the photo of Ramana Maharshi and Lakshmi the cow here.