Yoga reads: 11 inspiring books that will change your outlook on yoga

Understand yoga and get more from your sessions with these titles
Learn about yoga with the best books

Whether you’re a frantic, rush-to-the-mat-after-work kind of yogi, or a peaceful morning warrior, a vinyasa lover or a hatha fanatic, reading books on yoga can help deepen your understanding of the practice. Sure, you know you have ‘bandas’ but do you know what engaging them really does?

With hundreds of books on the subject, though, where do you start? To help narrow down your search, we’ve rounded up the best yoga books on the market – from the best for beginners, to those worth adding to your Amazon basket if you’re thinking of becoming a yoga teacher yourself.

The best overall

Light On Yoga – BKS Iyengar

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10 of the best yoga books to buy

Aptly subtitled “The definitive guide to yoga practice”, Light On Yoga is a classic. Author BKS Iyengar is considered to be one of the world’s most renowned yoga instructors, shaping our modern approach to yoga.

Iyengar devoted his life to the practice of yoga, and in this book he shares his own photo illustrated, step-by-step guides to different postures and principles.

A good choice for beginners and experienced yogis alike, the book contains a guide to the yoga breathing technique pranayama, sections on the spiritual aspects of practice and various yoga sequences and asanas to help with certain illnesses. Be warned, it’s a pretty huge book, so probably not one to read on your commute.

The best for beginners

The Modern Yoga Bible – Christina Brown

Buy now: Amazon10 of the best yoga books to buy

Whilst we wouldn’t recommend learning yoga completely from a book, or attempting postures out of your comfort zone without a teacher present, if you’re looking to read more about the practice of yoga, The Modern Yoga Bible explains over 350 postures from most of the main schools of yoga.

Written by renowned yoga teacher Christina Brown, this step-by-step guide teaches you different postures and sequences. From an energizing vinyasa to a restorative hatha, if you’re looking to learn more about yoga, or find which style of yoga you’re best suited to, this is a good place to start.

The best for dedicated yogis

Yoga Anatomy – Leslie Kaminoff / Amy Matthews

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10 of the best yoga books to buy

If you’re used to being on the mat, but want to get a deeper understanding of the postures you’re practising, Yoga Anatomy will give you just that. With coloured anatomical illustrations, this will help you understand which muscles you’re using as you move into each posture, how alterations of a pose can reduce or enhance its effectiveness and how the spine, breathing and body position are all connected.

Almost like the sports science manual to yoga, this is an in-depth look at how the body works and moves. Author Leslie Kaminoff specialises in the therapeutic uses of yoga, so expect to learn more about how your breath affects the way you move your body.

The best for home practice

Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres

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10 of the best yoga books to buy

Many yoga instructors agree that doing just 15-20 minutes of yoga a day can be more beneficial than an hour-long class a week. If you’re a yogi who spends most of your time practising in the living room, a yoga book can help you change up your routines, or learn how to do more challenging postures.

Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion has everything from how to combine step-by-step asanas to breathing and mindfulness techniques to help you manage stress.

The authors are all directors at various Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, which focus on teaching the ancient principles of yoga. In the book, the asana guides have plenty of photos to help you visualise the posture, along with different variations for beginners and more advanced yogis.

The best for teachers

Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes – Mark Stephens

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10 of the best yoga books to buy

A book designed to help yoga teachers structure their classes, Yoga Sequencing has over 2,000 photographs, detailing 67 different sequences.

Described by Yoga Teacher Magazine as “a must-have for any yoga teacher”, author Mark Stephens has been practising yoga daily since 1991 and teaching since 1995, and has written a number of books on the subject.

Yoga Sequencing includes sections on structuring classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced students, as well as sections on teaching children, women and older yogis.

Whether you’re a newly qualified yoga instructor or are looking for inspiration for a new class, the book focuses on the relationship between asanas, and how best to tie them together. It also takes a deep dive into certain poses, giving you the confidence to explain them to your students during practice.

The best yoga memoir for inspiration

May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind – Cyndi Lee

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10 of the best yoga books to buy

Whatever level of yogi you are, we all need some inspiration to book a class or find time to practice sometimes. If you’re looking for an easy read, this memoir by dancer, choreographer and yoga teacher Cyndi Lee describes her journey from self-judgement and hating her body to using yoga and the ancient Buddhist practice of loving-kindness to heal herself.

In May I Be Happy, Lee gives the internal criticism many of us experience a voice, in a refreshing and eye-opening fashion. Whether you’re a yogi or not, this is an interesting read.

The best for kids

Yoga For Kids: Simple First Steps in Yoga and Mindfulness – Susannah Hoffman

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10 of the best yoga books to buy

A University of Massachusetts study published in 2014 showed that after doing ten weeks of classroom yoga, primary school aged children were able to deal with stress and anxiety better, felt more confident and were able to concentrate for longer.

If you want to help your child learn the basics of yoga, this book, written by children’s yoga expert Susannah Hoffman, can help. Yoga For Kids is written for mini yogis, so explains yoga postures in language they’ll understand. There are also helpful box-outs for parents, explaining the benefits of the pose, as well as offering advice on safe practice.

The best for those practising during pregnancy

Pregnancy Health Yoga – Tara Lee / Mary Attwood

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10 of the best yoga books to buy

If you’re looking for a book to guide you through yoga during your pregnancy and post-partum, this book by leading yoga teacher Tara Lee is a good choice. If you’re struggling to get to pregnancy yoga classes, the free DVD allows you to practise from your living room.

Pregnancy Health Yoga also has specific chapters on how mums-to-be can use yoga breathing and relaxation techniques during labour, as well as suggesting postures to help women suffering with common pregnancy conditions such as sciatica and swollen ankles. If you’re worried about adapting your practice with a bump, this is a good manual to have a flick through.

The best for a short read

The Little Book of Yoga – Nora Isaacs

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10 of the best yoga books to buy

After a book that’s short enough to take on a yoga retreat with you? Try The Little Book of Yoga. As its name suggests, this little book presents all of the basics of yoga, in a portable, practical way.

Broken down into five sections, the book explores different poses, as well as how adopting the philosophies of yoga off the mat can change your life. A simple, well explained summary of yoga, author Nora Issacs was a managing editor and senior editor at Yoga Journal and has written a number of books on the subject.

The best for changing your mindset

Thrive Through Yoga: A 21-Day Journey to Ease Anxiety, Love Your Body and Feel More Alive – Nicola Jane Hobbs

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10 of the best yoga books to buy

Whether you practise yoga to de-stress, or slow your mind down at the end of a busy day, Thrive Through Yoga takes both beginners and dedicated yogis through a 21-day journey to ease anxiety, increase self-awareness and help you feel more alive.

Aimed at those bogged down by 21st-century living, each day is mapped out into different explorations and gives you a yoga sequence to follow. With a number of five star reviews on Amazon, yogis who have previously suffered with anxiety and depression have praised this book for its practical methods of change.

The best for those who sit down all day

Your Spine, Your Yoga: Developing Stability and Mobility for Your Spine – Bernie Clark

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Yoga reads: 11 inspiring books that will change your outlook on yoga

There’s been plenty of research into the positive effects yoga can have on those suffering with chronic back pain issues, with results finding yoga to be as effective as standard physical therapy. Your Spine, Your Yoga by Bernie Clark focuses on the spine, both from an anatomical point of view and how you can develop stability and mobility through the spine using yoga.

While we recommend attending a yoga class with a professional rather than practising at home if you do suffer with back issues, the book is an insightful tool, with plenty of detailed discussions, illustrations and practical advice. If you sit down for work all day, you’ll find it interesting to learn how important it is to exercise the spine.

For yoga teachers, the book explains how no two spines are the same and there are suggestions on how to bring this knowledge into the classroom. A good allrounder for those interested in the anatomy of the body.

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