A comprehensive list of yoga books to read this summer. Updated for the latest yoga books of 2016 with a big thank you to our twitter followers for some great recommendations.
Before we begin, I have to confess that I have avoided any and all books relating to yoga since my teacher-training days; instead, preferring books as far away from yoga as possible. Thankfully, I have seen the light and gone back to many yoga classics.
So here, in no particular order, are the books about yoga that have inspired me (and my fellow yoga teachers), which I guarantee won’t put you into Corpse Pose—unless, of course, that is the pose you were aiming for…
If You Want to Be More Creative in Your Practice:
Writing Yoga: A Guide to Keeping a Practice Journal – Bruce Black
Black shows you how to use a journal as a tool to deepen your experience of asana pranayama and mindfulness, as well as how to chart your personal progress in yoga (both physically and mentally) to the next level and beyond.
Mindfulness & the Art of Drawing: A Creative Path to Awareness – Wendy Ann Greenhalgh
Greenhalgh explores how drawing creates a deeper connection to our sense of self and to the world around us. This, combined with Greenhalgh’s mantra, “Stop, Look, Breathe, Create,” allows you to gradually get back in touch with your inner child.
Writing down the Bones: Feeling the Writer Within – Natalie Goldberg
This book brings together Zen meditation and writing as a way to “meet” ourselves and see how our thoughts appear on paper—all in a mindful way.
I Am Here Now: A Creative Mindfulness Guide and Journal – Tara Brach
Designed to enhance both your observation and creativity, this book enables you to let your past thoughts and emotions go and truly focus on the present.
If You Want to Be More Mindful:
The Mindfulness Revolution explains what mindfulness is, who can benefit from it, what the research shows, and how to practice it on a daily basis.
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life – Jon Kabit-Zinn
“Next time you are in the shower, check to see if you really ARE in the shower…because you might be physically there, but often your mind is somewhere else.” This nationwide bestseller teaches you about “being” rather than “doing;” a book that makes you think more about being present in every day activities.
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World – Mark Williams and Danny Penman
This novel’s focus is on adding joy to your life as opposed to ridding if of unhappiness, also known as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which has been clinically proven to be as effective as drugs for depression.
If You Want to Include the Kids:
The Art of Mindfulness for Children – Alisa Reddy
It is a well-known fact that children learn better when they are having fun. This book covers the seven principles of mindfulness through fun activities.
Creative Yoga for Children – Adrienne Rawlinson
This book is full of forty 1-hour mini lessons to help teach children 12 and under. Enhanced with over 100 black and white photos, the book’s themes are divided by age range and each pose complements age appropriate lessons.
If You Want to Learn More about Meditation:
Meditations on the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga – Rolf Gates
Described as a “must-have” yoga tool, this book allows you to relate your yoga practice more closely to everyday life. Although it’s meant to be read in 365 days (reflecting the number of meditations in the book), there will probably be times you will want to sit for a while longer.
If You Want to Learn from Other People’s Life Stories:
Late Fragments: Everything I Want to Tell You (About This Magnificent Life) – Kate Gross
A book that makes you self-reflect and question things such as, what are the things we live for? What matters most in life when your time is short? A beautifully written book by Gross, who injects a positive spin in examining how to take charge of your life and fill it with wonder, hope and joy even in the face of tragedy.
Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison – Shaka Senghor
The story follows Shaka who through the power of journaling and writing mindfully, accepted responsibility for his violent behavior and now uses his experience to help others avoid the same path.
If You’re Looking for Yoga Humor:
Poser: My Life in Twenty-Tree Yoga Poses – Claire Dederer
Following a ten year yoga practice , Dederer tackles poses including triangle, wheel, and the dreaded crow—becoming fast friends with some and developing long-standing feuds with others along the way.
Yoga Bitch: One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment – Suzanne Morrison
A book which chronicles Morrison’s adventures and misadventures as an aspiring yogi traveling in Bali and learning many life lessons along the way.
Yoga School Drop Out – Lucy Edge
In search of spiritual riches, Edge traded in the world of advertising for a quest for life’s deeper meaning through the yoga schools, ashrams and villages of India.
If You Want to Read about Escapism:
To Hold The Sun – Chas Watkins
An imaginative novel following the experiences of a young, disillusioned reporter who learns an alternate way of living from interviews with a Caribbean man who strives to perfect handstands and practices the art of happiness.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – by Haruki Murakami
This novel explores the meditation on the freedom of the open road—showing how your mind is at liberty to wander when you’re engaged in repetitive, mindless rhythm to strange and lovely places.
If You Want to Be Inspired By a Classic “Old School” Yoga Book:
There are so many to choose from, but here are a few from some of the most inspiring yoga teachers past and present.
Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses – Sri Dharma Mittra
This small, yet powerful book depicts a lifetime of knowledge through photos of asanas taken by Mittra while practicing the poses—sometimes even taking the photos with his teeth!
Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom – BKS Iyengar
Considered one of the most influential yoga masters, BKS Iyengar recounts his past 70 years of practicing, teaching, and spreading the art of yoga, while at the same time taking you deep into his thoughts.
The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice – T. K. V. Desikachar
A classic by one of the greatest yogis of the modern era, who lived to be over 100 years old, this novel shows how the yoga student can develop a practice tailored to their health, age, occupation, and lifestyle.
The Subtle Body – Cyndi Dale
An in-depth, illustrated guide to the invisible energies of the spirit, psyche, and consciousness that influence every aspect of our well-being.
If You Want to Be More Spiritual:
Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda
Considered a modern, spiritual classic and written with engaging candor and wit, Paramahansa Yogananda narrates the inspiring chronicle of his life.
The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness – Perma Chodron
A spiritual guide about making the most of life, through bad times as well as good; Pema Chödrön shows us the profound value of our situation of “no escape” from the ups and downs of life.
If You Want to Read Best-Selling Classics about the Mind:
You Can If You Think You Can – Norman Vincent Peale
First published in 1974 and regarded as the greatest inspirational best seller of the century, this novel holds inspiring messages for daily living and techniques for overcoming problems. It is still very relevant, if not more so, today.
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science – Norman Doidge M.D.
Described by one reviewer as “a book that readers will want to read entire sections aloud and pass the book on to someone else who can benefit from it….” this book explores the new science of “neuroplasticity” and is sure to be a good read.
If You’re Looking for Guidance and Inspiration:
Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit – Ana T. Forrest
Through stories and technique, this book offers advice on fully living within our lives and bodies. This guide focuses on physical, emotional and spiritual practices for healing and growth.
Do Your Om Thing : Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life – Rebecca Pacheco
Divided into four parts—philosophy, body, mind, and apirit, Pacheco tells us to “find a way to make life the practice—one of humility, gratitude, and awareness.” A useful guidebook for anyone who wants a workout that benefits both the mind and body.
40 Days to Personal Revolution – Baron Batiste
A hands-on, step-by-step guide to adapt to your needs and lifestyle to make your body sleek, your mind clear, and your spirit light.
If You Want to Look Within and Find Another Part of Yourself:
Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self – Jeff Krasno
With authentic yoga practices and provocative thinking, this novel helps readers navigate their personal path and find their own true self. Each chapter includes expert yoga instruction by renowned teachers and inspiring music playlists to motivate readers to practice.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth
Psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but rather a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”
Sources for Yoga Teachers:
Teaching Yoga and Yoga Sequencing – Mark Stephens
Enhanced with over 2,000 instructional photos and an elaborate guide to the constituent elements of over 150 yoga asanas, this novel also includes multiple sequences for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students.
A Life Worth Breathing: A Yoga Master’s Handbook of Strength, Grace, and Healing – Max Strom
One of the most respected teachers of personal transformation and yoga worldwide, Strom offers practical techniques which are rooted in Yoga, Sufism and Eastern philosophy, as well as instruction and philosophical guidance about how to live the fulfilled life we are meant to live.
Yoga Anatomy – Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Mathews
This is the best-selling anatomy guide for yoga, which provides a deeper understanding of the structures and principles underlying each movement of yoga.
Yoga Beyond Belief: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice – Ganga White
This novel Integrates scientific and practical approaches, along with an integrative perspective that complements existing yoga books for all levels and styles of yoga.
Follow us on Follow to stay up to date with all our blog posts!