Best Books on Yoga:

“Yoga is a journey of the Self, through the Self, to the Self.” 

This is quoted by The Bhagavad Gita, which is known by everyone. If you have been practicing or teaching yoga for a long time, you must be familiar with this quote. You must also be aware that as a yogic, the progress to a safe and healthy passage calls for practice, practice, and more practice.

If you are a beginner or someone, who is thinking about starting doing yoga, referring to certain books will help you, inspire you, and open your mind to a whole new concept and world of choices. However, if you have been a regular practitioner of yoga, then most of the following mentioned books can be found in your library, which may have been a source of inspiration for you. These books are:

1.  Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati:

Being a beginner, this is a must-have book, to learn about yoga. It falls under the category of the classics. It was first published by the Bihar School of Yoga in 1969 and is considered the most systematic yoga manual, internationally.

Swami Sivananda Saraswati brought Swami Satyananda Saraswati into yoga. He has written over 80 books on yoga and is the founder of the International Yoga Fellowship, which was founded in 1963, and the Bihar School of Yoga in 1964.

This book is useful for both students and teachers as it has the ability to bring the expositions of yoga practices as a standard University Text. It covers important details of chakras, psychic centers, as well as other characteristics of an elusive body.

2.  Yoga: A Manual for Life by Naomi Annand:

The author, Naomi Annand, in Yoga: A Manual For Life gives her readers so much more than just the basic practice of yoga. The clue to living a good life is in the title of the book itself. It can be safely said that this book is the perfect guide to a better life with yoga.

Naomi Annand is a professional ballet dancer and was a former Royal Ballet Company dancer, where her career as a dancer came to an end after a fatal injury. She set up her own studio in 2012, named Yoga on the Lane, in Dalston.

This book can be referred to without any worry, as it has been written by an expert with plenty of experience in yoga and is a good source of information for yoga teachers, especially if they are new to the game and are looking for inspiration.

Even Harper’s Bazaar labeled this book as ‘succinct’ ‘beautiful’ and ‘full of imaginative sentences,’ which can be considered as one of the best compliments a book can receive.

3.  Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts:

It has been 69 years since the publication of this book and it still does not let the reader down. Although it had been published quite early, it does not mean that it has lost its relevance in today’s time, or in the practice of yoga.

Alan Watts is a writer who has published more than 25 books in his lifetime, which are all focused on philosophy and religion. He is also known for promoting Hinduism and Buddhism in the West, who himself, was attracted to Zen Buddhism.

If you are looking for a book, which is related to yoga and meditation, this book can be your go-to solution. While the wisdom of Insecurity may not be directly related to yoga and its practice, any other book than The Wisdom of Insecurity cannot convey the message that it carries and distribute more perfectly.

4.  Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton:

Have you ever question yoga and how it came into being in the modern world and became so ubiquitous in the pop culture of the 21st century? If you are interested in knowing the exact facts about how yoga became the life of the biggest fitness individuals, and how it gained popularity, you must read Yoga Body: the Origins of Modern Posture Practice.

With Mark Singleton as a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), who works with the Hatha Yoga Project, funded by the European Research Council, has structured his book in the form of an academic study on the history of yoga, and how it became so popular in the modern society. His primary focus is on the history of Hatha yoga specifically, and asanas that are becoming popular nowadays.

5.  Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer:

Being a fan of memoirs makes this book perfect for a read. Claire Dederer, the author of this book, has written it in the form of a memoir. Her own journey with yoga began almost a decade ago when she put her back down on breastfeeding her daughter and sought options to relieve her pain.

This book follows the journey of Claire with yoga the ways in which it allowed her to figure out that at times, being joyful is more important than being good. This book encourages you to look at yoga from a different perspective, as it sees things from a different angle, rather than things such as becoming an Instagram trend.

6.  The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar:

The author, T.K.V. Desikachar has explained that this book is about the relationship of a teacher and a student, and this is the first text to provide an outline of the step-by-step sequence for the purpose of creating the habit of practicing according to the viniyoga-yoga that has adapted to the needs of an individual.

The author, in his book, says that yoga practices should change according to the needs of the individual, such as age, health, occupation, and even lifestyle. He calls his book a program for the spine at every single step, whether it is physical, mental, or even spiritual.

This book covers topics such as yoga poses, meditation, conscious breathing, philosophy, along with 32 poems by Krishnamacharya.

7.  Yoga Anatomy (2nd Edtion) by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews:

The first edition of Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff has been considered as the best-selling yoga guide that has been further modernized and lengthened in the second edition.

This book covers almost everything. From the dynamics of breathing, muscular, and skeletal system, to inversion, from kneeling to sitting and standing poses, this book has it all. While reading this book, you will also learn the ways in which the alterations of a pose can reduce or enhance effectiveness, and how breathing and body function and the spine are linked to each other.

Leslie Kaminoff has experience of over four decades in asana and breath anatomy. She also leads anatomy workshops for leading yoga associations, as well as training programs, globally. This book has been co-written by Amy Matthews, who is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst, a teacher, an Infant Development Movement Educator, and a movement therapist.  

8.  YogaBody: Anatomy, Kinesiology, and Asana by P.T. Judith Hanson Lasater:

This book centers around the dynamic movement of an asana. When reading this book, a reader is sure to get enough information about the dynamic movements by delving into anatomy and physiology, before the practice of yoga is explained.

There are different sections that the book is divided into, such as:

  • The locomotor system
  • The vertebral column
  • The lower extremity
  • The trunk
  • The upper extremity

There are illustrative diagrams and charts in the book, which makes it interesting for the reader, instead of a block of information that puts the reader off.

The author has been teaching yoga for 50 years internationally, which makes her experienced in the industry.

9.  2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses by Daniel Lacerda:

Asanas are one of the most popular and widely used methods in modern yoga. For this, Daniel Lacerda has compiled 2,100 asanas for the readers to look at every pose and try it for themselves.

It is a piece of art, which focuses on the visual aspects of yoga rather than providing the reader with unnecessary information. This book is pleasing and it has a modern theme to it that can be seen in every photograph printed in the book. Just one glance at it and you will want to become an expert yogi, by trying out all the asanas. The different poses that have been mentioned in the book are:

  • Seated poses
  • Standing poses
  • Core poses
  • Backbends
  • Inversions
  • Supine poses
  • Prone poses
  • Quadruped poses

With every pose that has been mentioned in this book, you can put together an endless combination of different yoga asanas and create your own routines to meet your fitness needs.

10.  The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda:

Another great translation of the Sanskrit text Patanjali Yoga Sutra is a classic text, which is approximately 4000 years old. The author has provided practical advice, based on his own familiarities, for accomplishing the physical, emotional, and mental synchronization, along with understanding the mind.  

Sri Swami Satchidananda is the founder of Internal Yoga and is also a renowned and revered yoga master, who has dedicated his life to peace and promoted harmony among every element and individual in society.

Yoga, or as one may say meditation, is one of a kind and it helps keep the mind, body, and soul, at peace and in harmony.  To find the perfect read to get oneself inspired to start their yoga journey, one must know where to begin, and the above-mentioned books may be of help. 

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