Deepen your understanding of yoga by reading yoga books.
In your yoga journey, there will probably come a time when you wonder just how yoga and meditation apply to other aspects of your daily life or how the physical practice of asana relates to yoga’s transformative powers. Fortunately, people have been writing books about yoga for thousands of years. And no matter what question you have, someone probably has addressed it in writing somewhere.
This page is an ongoing work in progress to list the yoga books in my collection.
I mainly just enjoy gleaning what I can from any yoga book and don’t really worry too much about being a literary critic. If a book has something to do with yoga, meditation, or mindful living, I will include it on the list. The newest books will periodically be added to the top of the page and I’ll continue to add more detail about the books and authors.
I hope you enjoy perusing the list and feel free to leave a comment if you have recommendations on what I should read next!
1. Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom by Colleen Saidman Yee
“I’ve learned how to extract the beauty of an ordinary day. I’ve learned that the best high exists in the joy – or the sadness – of the present moment. Yoga allows me to surf the ripples and sit with the mud, while catching glimpses of the clarity of my home at the bottom of the lake: my true self.”
From a rebellious young woman with a dangerous heroin habit to a globe-trotting fashion model to “First Lady of Yoga” (The New York Times), Colleen Saidman Yee tells the remarkable story of how she found herself through the healing power of yoga—and then inspired others to do the same.
2. Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen
This is a New York Times bestseller by Rachel Brathen. Rachel is a yoga instructor who inspires more than one million followers on Instagram (@Yoga_Girl) every day.
Rachel has made it her mission to share inspirational messages with people from all corners of the world. In Yoga Girl, she shares her journey – from her self-destructive teenage years in her hometown in Sweden to her adventures in the jungles of Costa Rica, and finally to the beautiful and bohemian life she’s built through yoga and meditation in Aruba today.
3. Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy by Sadhguru
“Inner Engineering is a fascinating read of Sadhguru’s insights and his teachings. If you are ready, it is a tool to help awaken your own inner intelligence, the ultimate and supreme genius that mirrors the wisdom of the cosmos.” – Deepak Chopra
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a yogi, mystic, thought leader, visionary, and philanthropist. He is the founder of Isha, an all-volunteer organization engaged in large-scale humanitarian and environmental projects. He presents Western readers with a time-tested path to achieving absolute well-being: the classical science of yoga.
4. Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual by David Swenson
Whether new to Ashtanga or an experienced student or teacher, readers will find this book to be invaluable. It contains over 650 photos and multiple variations for every asana in the primary and intermediate series plus three short forms. Its spiral binding assures easy use while practicing and the hard cover increases durability.
David Swenson began the practice of yoga in 1969 at the age of 13. He found Ashtanga in 1973 through David Williams. In 1974 K. Pattabhi Jois made his first trip to the US and David began studies directly with him at that time. He then traveled to Mysore, India in 1977 and learned the entire system in it’s original form. David is recognized today as one of the foremost authorities of Ashtanga Yoga.
5. Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Wake Up Story by Mariam Gates
This “wake up” story is so much more than a story. It’s a practice for kids and parents to greet the morning with joy and embark on their daily adventures with intention and confidence. Turn the page and reach up to the sky, press your feet into the earth, and get ready for a great day!
“Good Morning Yoga teaches kids (and adults) how to connect to that deepest part of ourselves through some very simple steps. A great book that can give our kids the fundamentals of a good life – a life that comes from living from the inside out.” – Tim Ryan
6. Anodea Judith’s Chakra Yoga by Anodea Judith
Anodea Judith is one of the country’s foremost experts on the combination of chakras and therapeutic issues. Her passion for the realization of untapped human potential matches her concern for humanity’s impending crises. Her fervent wish is that we “wake up in time.”
In this long-awaited book by Anodea, you will learn how to use yoga’s principles and practices to awaken the subtle body of energy. You will be guided through practices that open and activate each chakra. This book helps you through postures, bioenergetic exercises, breathing practices, mantras, guided meditation, and yoga philosophy. It has beautiful step-by-step photographs for each of the poses. Besides it also has guidelines for deeper alignment and activation of the energy body. This book is a valuable resource for teachers and students alike.
7. Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch, and Strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You by Kristin McGee
Chair yoga is exactly what it sounds like: exercises you can do sitting down. Kristin McGee is a nationally recognized yoga and Pilates teacher and celebrity trainer. She takes you through one hundred yoga poses that are easy enough for all ages and levels. This book will help readers stay active, alert, and healthy. Say good-bye to back pain and hello to better posture with these step-by-step instructions and easy-to-follow photos. The exercises will work every part of your body from head to toe. Each chapter targets specific muscle groups, plus there are efficient five- and ten-minute routines to help put it all together.
8. Perfectly Imperfect: The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice by Baron Baptiste
This book takes readers beyond the foundations of the practice. It speaks to everything that happens in our bodies and minds after we get into a yoga pose. That is where the true transformation occurs, and where much rich spiritual and emotional growth is available. Readers will learn how to move through their lives with grace and flow, begin again when a situation becomes difficult, “be a yes” for their innermost desires, give up what they must, follow their intuition, and find their truth north.
For more than 25 years, Baron Baptiste has devoted his life to creating and sharing transformational yoga practices and programs. His approach to yoga has been a catalyst for society’s acceptance of yoga as a popular practice. And his approach is now being used by millions of people globally.
9. The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark
Yin Yoga is a practice much needed in today’s difficult, divisive times. It offers us a way to leave behind our ideas of how we should be, and return to our true selves. And this is where all lasting healing takes place.
This book of Bernie Clark is one of my favorite yoga books! It provides an in-depth look at the philosophy and practice of Yin Yoga. You will learn Yin Yoga through the illustrated sections on how to practice, and the descriptions with photographs of 30 Yin Yoga asanas.
10. Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga by Rolf Gates & Katrina Kenison
This is a wonderful book of instructive and encouraging daily meditations centered on the practice of yoga. Each day’s reflection begins with a thought-provoking quote and then explores one intriguing aspect of yoga philosophy.
Rolf Gates synthesizes his experiences as a yoga student and teacher, former army ranger, and recovering alcoholic. He weaves stories of his own remarkable healing and growth with the yoga sutras of Patanjali. With the book, he provides illuminating and moving explanations of how yoga teachings apply to real-life situations.
11. Namaslay: Rock Your Yoga Practice, Tap Into Your Greatness, & Defy Your Limits by Candace Moore
Candace’s approach to yoga combines old-world principles with a modern-day perspective. The inspiration comes from her own experience fighting back against a dangerous illness and depression. She focuses on perseverance and overcoming adversity. And this transforms Namaslay into a powerful, motivational guide to help you live your most authentic life.
With a distinct visual format, the book guides readers step by step through more than 100 yoga poses. The poses are broken down by experience level into a series of progressions. The poses include modifications for those who can’t quite achieve the full expression of a pose just yet. Full-color photos and tips on overcoming common mistakes helps people get the most out of every pose.
12. Breathe into Being: Awakening to Who You Really Are by Dennis Lewis
Short and to the point, Breathe into Being by Dennis Lewis breaks down how you breathe, and how simple attention to the breath can lead to new awakenings.
This is one of the yoga books from which I personally benefit a lot by reading it. By practicing breathing, we become conscious of our bodies as a sacred temples that can lead to the source of all being. It helps to release constricting physical and emotional tensions. Besides, it enhances breathing itself in new self-created conditions of comfort, openness, and ease of being.