If you feel as though you’ve hit a block with your yoga practice, taking time to read a yoga book can help you to develop your understanding and improve your skills.
While joining a yoga class can have real benefits, in a busy session the instructor might not have time to come around and check on every person taking part – and we know how frustrating that can be. The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to perfect your skills on your own, giving you the time to relax and reflect on what you’re doing and why. You could also pick up some useful tips and tricks that will benefit your practice in the long term.
There’s an amazing selection of yoga books out there to choose from, covering everything from basic poses for beginners to more complex routines for experienced practitioners. There are also a variety of books out there covering the spiritual aspects of yoga, which make fascinating reading and will deepen your appreciation of yoga.
It can be difficult to know where to begin and how to pick out the best yoga books for your needs. We’ve largely covered the practical side here including the best yoga books for beginners and guides for more advanced yogis, so you’re bound to find something to suit your requirements.
Read on to discover the best yoga books to improve your practice…
How to choose the best yoga books
What makes a good yoga book? The best yoga books include clear instructions and ideally step-by-step photos to guide you through each pose.
There are a wide selection of yoga books out there and it’s worth looking for some information about the author before you buy and checking the reviews. Look for ones written by an experienced teacher who has undergone training who will give you reliable advice. You don’t want to risk harming your body, so look for someone who is likely to give you trustworthy guidance.
In the UK, look out for membership of organisations such as The British Wheel of Yoga, Yoga Alliance Professionals or Iyengar Yoga UK. Your yoga instructor may also have received a diploma in teaching yoga.
Best yoga books to buy in 2021
Yoga: A Manual for Life by Naomi Annand
Naomi Annand was a professional ballerina before an injury ended her career. Since then, she’s retrained as a yoga instructor and runs her own 200-hour yoga teacher training programme.
This beautiful book is designed for yogis of all abilities, from complete beginners to more advanced practitioners. It’s clearly laid out with lots of practical tips and gorgeous photography to guide you through your practice. It aims to demystify yoga and make it more accessible, making it a great choice for anyone who is new to yoga.
The practice notes offer the kind of advice that you would normally pick up by attending a class, so it’s extremely useful to have to hand when you’re practising at home.
It also includes advice on mindfulness and meditation to help you achieve balance in every area of your life. There’s also a focus on ways to ease stress, improve your sleep, inspire your creativity and feel energised when you wake up in the morning (particularly handy if you’re not a morning person!).
If you’re addicted to your phone or staring at a screen, this book will also help you to disengage from technology and you’ll soon learn to enjoy your offline time.
Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body by Jessamyn Stanley
Internationally famous yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley believes that yoga should be for everyone: no matter what shape or size your body is. This is one of the best yoga books for beginners out there and aims to make yoga less intimidating. It’s also a great read if you’re already doing yoga and want to find new ways to keep yourself motivated.
It’s full of messages of body acceptance and looks at how you can overcome the emotional and physical barriers that stand in the way of your practice.
This is also a very practical book that includes 50 yoga poses to try with well-written instructions and great photography. It includes 10 sequences for you to practice at home as well. There are lots of great tips in here, including ways to adapt the poses if you’re struggling with them and make them work for you.
Jessamyn’s warm, down-to-earth tone makes this a very easy read – it’s not preachy and is packed with useful ideas and inspiration. This is a positive, uplifting book that will show you how to fit your yoga practice into your daily routine.
Yoga: Relaxation, Postures, Daily Routines by David Smith and Charmaine Yabsley
This book is perfect for yoga beginners who wants a better understanding of its philosophy. It offers an overview of the history of yoga and its traditions, alongside lots of helpful tips and advice.
It includes an excellent introduction to basic poses and how to master them, as well as instructive photography and step-by-step instructions.
If you’re looking for a yoga book for beginners that provides a good grounding for your future practice, then this is a great choice.
Charmaine Yabsley is a successful author and freelance journalist who has published a string of other wellness books, including one on pilates so she’s well-placed to guide you through the basics of yoga – and co-author David Smith was previously the editor of Om Yoga Magazine in the UK.
The Little Book of Yoga by Fiona Channon
Feeling too busy and overwhelmed to read a hefty book about yoga? This book is your friend!
The Little Book of Yoga also busts some of the more persistent myths about yoga, providing a welcome breath of fresh air. It’s broken down into short sections, making it an easy book to dip in and out of whenever you have a spare minute.
This book outlines the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of practising yoga and gives a good overview of the different kinds of yoga (handy if you’re looking for the best practice to suit your lifestyle).
You’ll learn how to improve your flexibility and find new ways to bring yoga into your daily routine.
Yin Yoga: Stretch the Mindful Way by Kassandra Reinhardt
If you find some yoga routines too vigorous or energetic, then yin yoga might be the best path for you to follow. Yin yoga encourages us to reconnect with our bodies and offers a remedy to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Yin is the balance to yang in the Taoist philosophy, so this slower practice is the opposite of more physical forms of yoga such as ashtanga.
The focus here is on holding floor-based poses while focusing on your breathing, creating a meditative experience. Afterwards, your mind will feel clearer and you will have let go of the stresses of your day.
The book contains 54 poses and 20 sequences to help you develop a mindful practice and improve your wellbeing. Each position is clearly demonstrated with photos and Kassandra’s expert advice will guide you through each step.
Kassandra is an experienced yoga teacher from Canada who has a large following on YouTube. If you want to develop your practice further, head over to her channel: Yoga With Kassandra.
Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body by Dianne Bondy
This yoga book by Dianne Bondy is a great all-rounder to have in your growing yoga library. It covers yoga practices to suit every type of body, from plus sized yoga to pregnancy. It also includes lots of great advice for older yogis and people who have disabilities.
Dianne covers 50 yoga poses that are suitable for practitioners of all abilities. There are variations and modifications that can be applied to each position to suit your body and needs, so you should be able to perform all 10 sequences covered in the book. Each move is expertly explained and any variations are illustrated using photos, so you can adjust your position to match the images.
You don’t need to have exceptional flexibility to follow any of the steps in this book – this is yoga designed to suit your body, so you won’t have to contort yourself into any uncomfortable shapes. It’s clearly laid out and highly accessible – a perfect yoga book to add to your collection!
Yoga for Inflexible People by Max and Liz Lowenstein
If you struggle with the more bendy yoga poses then this book will definitely improve your practice. While some of the books we’ve featured are more geared towards beginners, this guide is designed for yogis of all abilities from beginners to advanced yogis.
Each position is broken down so you can choose the right adjustment for your level of experience or flexibility, with useful instructions and annotations explaining how you can progress and build up your skills.
This book is great if you’ve felt intimidated by bendy people in your yoga classes and proves that everyone can find a yoga practice that works for them. You’ll soon be feeling fitter, healthier and calmer – and stretchier!
Intelligent Yoga by Peter Blackaby
This book is definitely one for more experienced yogis. Intelligent Yoga explores Peter’s humanistic approach to yoga, looking at the aspects that have been backed by scientific research. It’s a fascinating read and you’re guaranteed to learn things about yoga that you didn’t know before and deepen your understanding of yoga in the process.
Rather than focusing on yoga’s physical benefits, this book encourages you to view yoga as an exercise in self-exploration. You’ll begin to reflect more on your body’s responses and learn how to react in an appropriate way, allowing you to avoid pain and discomfort. There’s an overview of how yoga works with your anatomy, but it’s not too technical.There is a section on chronic pain which may benefit those who want to focus on pain management.
You’ll learn how to focus on your own habits and yoga practice and think about how you approach each session. If you’re interested in getting more into yoga, this book may positively influence your attitude and give you a fresh outlook on your practice.
Sleep Recovery by Lisa Sanfilippo
Bringing yoga into your nighttime routine can help you to relax and ease insomnia. Lisa Sanfilippo suffered from insomnia for many years before discovering yoga in her early twenties. After her first class, she says she felt as though “all of the tension had come out of my body, and I just felt like my body was – I guess it might sound weird – simultaneously, heavier and lighter at the same time”.
She’s a yoga teacher and psychotherapist and brings her expertise in both fields into this book. It’s a combination of yoga and mindfulness practices with lots of tips and advice to help you unwind at bedtime – and get a great night’s sleep. We interviewed Lisa for The Calm Edit podcast and you can find lots of practical ideas in the episode.
While this isn’t strictly a yoga book, if you struggle with insomnia then this could help you to improve your sleep quality and quantity. It’s a good yoga book for beginners as none of the poses featured are too strenuous.
2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses by Daniel Lacerda
This book is an incredibly useful resource covering a huge number of asanas (yoga positions). Each asana is accompanied by a photo showing how to perform the move perfectly.
It’s divided into eight major types of poses: standing, seated, core, quadruped, backbends, inversions, prone, and supine, then broken down into further groups ranging from easy to more challenging. This is brilliant if you’re looking to build up your yoga repertoire over time.
This is a good pick for more advanced yoga students as many of the asanas are likely to be too challenging for a complete novice.
Featured image by Unsplash/Dane Wetton