Best Yoga Books
There are infinite benefits that one can reap when they choose to add a yoga practice into their life. In addition to helping with flexibility and overall body strengthening, one can become more mindful, grateful and spiritual through the practice of yoga. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned yogi with years under your belt, there is always something more to learn about this beautiful form of movement.
This is why we’ve compiled a list of the ten best yoga books currently on the market. Through reading these books, you’ll not only learn more about the principles of yoga or postures you can do, you’ll learn more about yourself, what makes you tick and, who knows, maybe you will even find yourself. Let’s take a look now at which ones made our top ten list and what makes them better than other options on the market.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
Breaks down poses really well
Great for people looking to grow their practice
Moore writes so authentically
Great for beginner or intermediate yogis (though advanced folks will likely find something in this book for them, too)
Top 10 Picks
Breaks down poses really well
Great for people looking to grow their practice
Moore writes so authentically
Great for beginner or intermediate yogis (though advanced folks will likely find something in this book for them, too)
Some people might be offended by the images in the book (read: lots of bikinis)
This book from author Candace Moore took the number one spot on our list for several different reasons. It comes highly recommended by hundreds of readers and employs a very distinct visual format that sets it apart from other yoga books currently on the market. Let’s dive a bit deeper and see what else one can expect from this product.Read more
Namaslay takes a modern (and somewhat hilarious) approach to the very ancient practice of yoga. While its style may not be for hardcore yogis, we think that this book will meet the needs of a certain subset of readers. It’s edgier than other options in the bookstore but it’s still artistic and beautiful, making it a great book to display in your home or yoga studio.
Namaslay features three different 30-day yoga programs for readers to embark on. They have different focuses depending upon your needs. Need to destress? There’s a program for you. Have a weak core? We can work on that! Back pain? Namaslay has you covered.
This book has 416 pages.
If you’re looking for a funny and heart-centered approach to your yoga practice, you’re going to love Namaslay. Author Candace Moore peppers in information about her own story and struggles with illness and her mental health. There is something that everyone can relate to in this book.
This is an affordably priced paperback. We love that it has a modern-day approach to yoga and isn’t filled with complicated theories or confusing words. It is a great choice for beginners and intermates yogis.
2. The Yamas & Niyamas
Great for personal development
Questions at the end of each chapter for reflection
Will help people to understand the core of yoga
Accessible and relatable to living in today’s modern age
Takes a while to really get through the book
Taking a drastic turn from the light and fun nature of the book in our number one spot, we have this option by Deborah Adele. If you’re into the practice of judging books by their cover, you will likely immediately notice that The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice is much more serious in tone than Namaslay.Read more
This book is designed to act as a spiritual pathway for people who want to practice yoga. The Yamas and Niyamas are 10 ethical guidelines that are important to yoga. It’s going to teach you about the ethics and roots of yoga in a way that is very structured and easy to understand and relate to.
This book is best read in tidbits rather than poured overall in one day. Treat The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice as you would a fine piece of chocolate – enjoying one piece at a time, savoring the taste.
This book has 192 pages.
As you read through this book, you will learn about ten guidelines (5 Yamas, 5 niyamas) that will help you to open up doors in your life, this is what you need to invest in.
If you want to take a more serious and traditional approach to your yoga practice, this is the book for you. You’re going to learn a lot about taking ownership of your life through the ethical practice of yoga. It will provide a lot of value to serious yogis and those who are yoga teachers in training.
3. The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga
Book is well laid out
Tone is accessible
Acts as a great primer for yin yoga
Illustrations show yogis holding deep versions of the poses which may not be realistic for all flexibility levels
This book from Bernie Clark is a comprehensive look into the philosophy surrounding yin yoga. This type of yoga is a slower-paced and more modern style that involves holding postures for a longer amount of time.Read more
Readers can expect this book to be true to its name, it truly is a complete guide to the practice of Yin yoga. It includes illustrated portions describing how one can practice this style alongside descriptions and photographs of different poses (or asanas).
As mentioned, the practice of yin yoga involves holder postures for longer periods of time. This allows yogis to reflect deeply on their journey and tap into the meditative benefits of their practice.
This book is 296 pages.
There are over 24 different postures outline in The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga. Each posture is accompanied by the benefits of the pose, how to get into it, contraindications and other pertinent information.
This is a very affordable book and is worth the rather small investment for yogis who are interested in tapping into the benefits of Yin yoga.
4. Do Your Om Thing
Easy to read
A great text to refer back to
Not overly serious
Written by a currently practicing teacher in Boston
Some readers feel the text is too repetitive
A fresh take on age-old practices is brought to you by Rebecca Pacheco in this book. She has been practicing yoga for over twenty years and also has an English Literature degree. Combining her knowledge of both realms, she brings us this great addition that is suitable for any level.Read more
Just from reading the title, you can hear the sense of humor of the author and get an idea of the writing style. Inside these pages, you’ll find fresh take and easy to understand explanation of all things yoga- from mindsets to poses and everything that lies in-between. Many reviewers have described this work as sincere, modern, and inviting.
Whether you are devout lifetime yogi, in the middle of a course, just starting out, or just feeling lost, this is a great option. It provides a modern take and explanation of the great lessons and practices that have been engrained in this philosophy for thousands of years.
If desired, this book could be read in just one day, or you could stretch it out over a few months by indulging in just a few pages each day. It has a total of 291 pages.
Chances are, you won’t read this book just once. Many readers like to mark certain passages for the future. Even more, readers say that they invested in this item to read once, but keep it on hand and find themselves referring to it often. It is much more than simple explanations and words, it is relatable and enjoyable to read.
Depending on how you choose to receive this item, the price changes. You can choose from a paperback, hardback, or read it on your kindle device. While having this on a kindle is very convenient, this makes a great coffee table accessory. Even with the varying prices, we think this is a great investment.
5. Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy
Contains practical and sound advice
Great for beginners
Filled with insightful little gems
May be offensive to some people with certain religious beliefs
Available on Kindle, as an audiobook, as a hardcover or paperback and even as an audio CD, Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy by Sadhguru is readily accessible for you, no matter how you choose to digest it.Read more
The author, Sadhguru, tells his story of his own awakening and his personal journey into enlightenment. This book is meant to serve as a spiritual guide for your own personal growth, though as well.
The book is broken down into two distinct sections - one about Sadhguru and his personal journey and one section about yoga and how it affects the body, mind, energy, and joy.
This book is quite lengthy at 278 pages.
This book is not only a look into the life of Sadhguru but a guide for helping readers to find a job in their lives. There are a number of different practices included in the book that is aimed at helping the reader to handle nearly every aspect of their lives from food to sex and love.
No matter how you choose to digest Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy, we think you’re going to be able to appreciate the cost and the value of the information you’ll receive for your investment in return.
6. The Yoga Bible
Great for beginners
Book has a high-quality construction
Has a section on different yoga poses for certain medical conditions
Should be spiral bound for easier access (though some reviewers do mention they spiral bound it themselves at home)
This is one of the most instantly recognizable yoga books on the market today. Author Christina Brown really hit the nail on the head with this one. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an intermediate yogi wanting to switch things up, there is something for you in The Yoga Bible.Read more
The Yoga Bible is an incredibly comprehensive guide for people who want to practice yoga on their own terms. It will help you to find a balance between the mental and physical realms of your life.
This book contains over 170 different yoga postures from some of the main schools of yoga. If you’re a bit lost in your practice, The Yoga Bible will help you to find a sequence that speaks to your individual needs and your ability level. One thing we really liked was that there is a section in the book that focuses on using yoga for certain medical conditions.
The Yoga Bible is a big book with a whopping 400 pages.
The author, Christina Brown, has been a yoga teacher for nearly 25 years. She uses her vast knowledge on many different aspects of yoga and yogic philosophies to create an easily digestible guide that truly acts more like a bible than a book.
The Yoga Bible is a bit more expensive than some of the other options in our buying guide. We do think that it’s a worthwhile investment, however, especially for beginners who are looking to start their own practice at home.
7. Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes
A great reference for yoga teachers and yogis in general
Sequences to help balance chakras are included
Includes the theory behind each of the sequences
Photos are quite small
Sequences are in Sanskrit
This book by Mark Stephens is a great little investment for yoga teachers who want to learn how to plan and sequence their own classes. Though it is meant more for teachers than individuals, one could still use this book to plan their practice as well.Read more
Aside from going very in-depth on over 150 different yoga asanas, Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes is a great book because it provides readers with guidance on different breathing and meditation techniques that are truly to thank for providing yoga with its transformative powers.
This book has over 2000 instructional photographs and an accompanying guide that goes in-depth on over 150 yoga postures.
This book has a whopping 528 pages.
The book has over 67 different sequences of yoga poses. There are options for everybody and every yoga experience level. Whether you’re teaching beginners or advanced yogis, children, teenagers, seniors, or people struggling with mental health issues, there is an asana in this guide for you to use in your classes.
We were quite surprised at how affordable this book is when you consider all that you are receiving in return from your investment.
8. Yoga Anatomy
A unique and in-depth look at the body
Useful for adjustments
Only useful for some people
Binding could be improved
To get a deeper understanding of what your body is experiencing in each position, Yoga Anatomy is full of photos and in-depth descriptions. It includes information about breathwork and how that affects muscle movements, as well.Read more
Do you ever stop to think during your practice, “How is this difficult pose even benefiting me? Where should I be focusing my energy? Why don’t I feel anything?” It’s fine, we have all been there. Yoga Anatomy will help you understand what muscles you are using in each pose and even how a slight change will hurt or help you.
For the casual yogi, this book may not have much value. However, if you are fascinated with anatomy, looking to learn more about the exercise, or if you are an instructor, this is a great choice. It will not only help you to settle into the poses, but it will also give you insight into making adjustments on your students.
This colorful book is filled with 288 pages of useful information.
This updated version has been sold over 600,000 times. It features full-color photos and easy to read, but scientific, text. Many reviewers agree that having the actual book is much more useful than having the Kindle version.
As with many other options, the price varies for hardback or Kindle. Luckily, neither price is outrageous. This is a great guide to have on hand at home or in any studio.
9. Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga
An excellent guide for breathing techniques
Gives alternative preparatory poses for more difficult postures
Does a great job at explaining the yogic philosophy
Great for newbies
Might be too academic for some readers
B.K.S. Iyengar, who passed away in 2014, was one of the greats when it came to modern yoga philosophy and practice. He founded a modern style known as Iyengar Yoga and his book, Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga, is a true testament to the wisdom and knowledge that this man had.Read more
This book is considered to be a true classic and one of the most comprehensive books on yoga asanas.
We loved that this book had alternate pose suggestions for some of the more difficult postures. The book also has an asana guide that’ll help readers go from complete beginners to advanced yogis.
This book has 544 pages.
This book is broken down into three parts. Part one is an introduction. Part two focuses on yoga asanas, bandha, and kriya. Part three is about pranayama, including hints, techniques, and effects.
Regardless of if you choose the paperback or spiral-bound option, Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga is still an affordable book one should consider investing in.
10. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Features Sanskrit translation and transliteration
Great reference book
Not necessarily a great choice for beginners
Some say it is too wordy
The next addition dives slightly deeper into the practice. It is a true philosophy book that will enhance many aspects of your life if you are open to it. It has been said that this book was originally written 2,200 years ago. While it has been modernized, it still holds true to its teachings.Read more
The style of yoga discussed in this book is Raja Yoga (aka Royal Yoga or Ashtanga). This is a style that focuses intensely on the physical as well as the energetic practices. There is further conversation into each verse, making each one easier to connect with and understand.
This will most likely only call to die-hard yogis. If you are an instructor, it is a great way to add traditional and unique Sanskrit into your classes. On the other hand, if you are searching for mental clarity, without the humorous twist of other options, this would be a great choice.
Many reviewers have said that, despite the number of pages, this book takes a long time to read. Many find themselves reading only a few pages at a time and then setting it down to reflect. In total, there are 272 pages.
Perhaps the most useful text of this book is the Sutras that are followed by the original Sanskrit, translation, and transliteration. Another great feature is the added commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda. He offers advice through personal experiences of achieving harmony.
This insightful literature is actually cheaper than many other options on our list. It is available in paperback or for a Kindle. It is an original, accessible, and philosophical text that will call to everyone in a different way.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
What can readers expect to get out of this book?
When we’re talking about judging the books on their ‘Materials’, we’re not referring to what the books are made out of, we’re talking about what the books contain. This is vitally important, we think, especially when it comes to books of this nature. It will benefit you to know what materials the book you’re investing in will be going over. Not every yoga book is the same. Some are designed for teachers. Some are meant for beginners. Some are designed to be a life companion, helping you with your personal development. These are the things we took into consideration as we looked at the materials that each of the items in our top ten offers readers.
How can you use this book to further your practice?
As we perused through the best yoga books available today, we wanted to make sure that the books actually were useful for yogis in their practice. Different options on our list are useful in different applications. Some books are great for taking with you wherever you take your practice. Want to do a little beach yoga? Pack the 2100 Asanas reference book with you so you know which posture to do when and how. Some books are great for teaching you more about the philosophy of yoga and all of its principles. A book like The Yoga Mind: 52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen Your Practice will give you 52 challenges you can do to further your practice. We don’t know why you’re interested in investing in a yoga book so all we can do is offer you a number of different options that we are sure will help you make deepen your yoga practice.
How long is the book?
When we talk about the size of the book, we’re not talking about its physical dimensions (although that might be something you want to take into consideration on your own time). If you plan on toting your yoga book with you to the gym or to your yoga studio, you may not want to take something that is very big and bulky. When we’re talking about size, we’re looking at the length of the book. Some of the options on our list have over 700 pages, while others are much shorter in the 200-page range. Why is the length of the book important? It might not be a deal-breaker for some people, but others like to know exactly what they’re receiving. It’s hard to buy things like this online when you can’t hold the book in your hand and flip through it to see if it appeals to you. Knowing the length of the book is just one extra consideration you can use while making your decision.
What other features are in the book?
When we were compiling our list of the best yoga books on the market, aside from looking at the materials at hand and the way one can use these materials in practice, we wanted to look at other features that the book can offer readers as well. You’ll notice that the features each product provides are vastly different from each other. It is important to pay close attention to the features provided by each book as you make your decision about which one is best for you. You may find that you’re more apt to spend money on a book that has a lot of different yoga postures for certain health conditions like you would find in 2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses. Perhaps you are more interested in learning about the Yin Yoga style and why each posture is important like you would learn in The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga. Or maybe you want a book that’s really easy and fun to read but still is able to provide a host of important information? In that case, reach for Namaslay: Rock Your Yoga Practice, Tap Into Your Greatness, & Defy Your Limits and you won’t be disappointed.
What kind of return on investment will you receive with your purchase?
We are proud to say that each and every one of the books on our list is in an affordable price range. You won’t find anything on this list that is over $25. Even if you did, though, it would be worth the price tag. When we’re talking about the value of the book, it’s not just the price tag associated with owning it. We’re looking at what you, the reader, will receive back from your investment. Though ROI might not be a term you think of when you’re at the book store, it’s true about anything you buy. You want to be able to spend your money on something that you’re going to receive a return from.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you have been practicing yoga for some time and want to share it with the world, you might want to consider taking a yoga teacher training. Not only will becoming a teacher enhance your own personal yoga practice, but it will also help increase your overall gratitude levels through a healthy outlet while sharing one of your passions. It can be a bit of a process to become a yoga teacher depending on how long the course you choose to take is. You can expect a 500-level course to take you up to a year to complete.
Whether you’re just beginning a yoga practice or if you’ve been practicing for some time, do not push yourself into any postures that feel dangerous or wrong for you on any given day. The practice of non-harm – ahimsa – is absolutely vital to practicing yoga.
Other Factors to Consider
There are a lot of health benefits one will be able to reap once they add a yoga practice into their life. Even just doing 10 minutes of yoga per day to start can greatly improve various aspects of your life. Let’s take a look at some of the side effects from participating in yoga practice:
- Improvement in flexibility, strength, and posture
- Increase in overall energy levels
- Reduction in stress levels
- Better mood
- Being able to think clearly
- Increased life expectancy
- Reduction in anxiety levels
What about yoga interests you? Do you have any past training or plans for the future? No experience is necessary but taking a step back to assess your level will help you see which of these books will be most useful to you. If you are just enjoying the journey of yoga, stretching and relaxing your mind, an anatomy book would not be a recommended option for you. If you are feeling a bit lost in your journey of life, there are specific pieces of literature that are meant to guide you. If you are studying to become a certified instructor, you will most likely already be assigned a few of these books to check out, but any of these others would be a great addition.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I just read a book and practice yoga or do I need to go to a class?
The question is, what are you most comfortable with? You can certainly read a book, watch DVDs and self-teach yourself the practice of yoga without setting foot in a studio. If you feel you need the help of a trained yoga teacher, you can attend classes. Or you can do both at once. The great thing about yoga is that you can decide how and where you want to practice and what you want your practice to look like. While we often fall into the trap of thinking yoga should be XYZ, there is no one “right” way to practice. Whatever works best for you is the best way to approach your practice.
q: Do I need to familiarize myself with all of the different principles of yoga to be able to benefit from practicing?
No. Any practice is better than no practice at all. Each yogic principle can help guide you to lead a more harmonic life. Learning how to properly breathe, for example, will help to improve your oxygen flow and provide a more balanced feeling in your life.
q: Do I need to buy any special equipment before beginning a yoga practice?
Not necessarily. We would recommend purchasing a high-quality yoga mat that has non-slip so that you are able to practice comfortably and safely. Do you need special socks, certain pants or a yoga wheel? No. Unless that is, you feel you will benefit from having those accessories in your practice. For beginners, we recommend starting with a great yoga mat and then deciding if the other non-essentials will benefit you in your practice down the line.
q: Should I eat before yoga?
When you are participating in some exercise regimens, it is often recommended that you eat right before you hit the gym to be able to provide yourself with the energy necessary to get through your workout. When it comes to yoga, however, the general recommendation is to wait at least an hour after eating before practicing. You can always listen to your body and see how practicing an hour after eating feels and if you need to adjust next time, you can.
q: Which type of yoga is best?
We cannot tell you which yoga style will be best for you. This may require some self-discovery on your part. There are many different types of yoga that will provide different benefits to those who choose to practice it. For example, yin yoga is a highly meditative style. It focused a lot of passive postures that you will hold for extended periods of time. It’s a great choice to start with if you want to quiet your mind with yoga postures and meditation. Hatha yoga uses a mixture of postures, yogic breathing, and meditation in order to awaken the mind and body. It’s slower-paced than other yoga types and is a great choice for beginners. Iyengar yoga, named after the author of the book in our #9 spot is a type of hatha yoga that focuses on achieving alignment. Yogis will often use props like yoga blocks in an Iyengar practice.