I love to learn and am addicted to books which is lucky for me since there is so much to learn as a teacher and student of yoga. Piled up on my desk, book shelves and even on my floor is my large collection of yoga, Ayurveda and healing books. Each book has taught me something invaluable and has shaped my yoga teaching and my practice on and off of the mat.
I know there are countless numbers of inspiring, informative and life-changing books out there that yoga teachers would benefit from reading. This list is not meant to be comprehensive by any means but is a list of my most well-loved books with the most dog-eared pages. Enjoy!
The Yoga Sutra’s by Patanjali translated by Sri Swami Satchitananda
If your a yoga teacher or serious student of yoga there is a really good chance that you have already read this book. Reading the Sutras is required by nearly every yoga teacher training program and for good reason it is the foundational text on the eight-limbed path of yoga most of us practice and teach.
I have four different Sutra translations on my self but this is the one I use most often.
Path of the Yoga Sutras by Nicolai Bachman
This book is a perfect companion to any Yoga Sutras book you choose. It is easily digestible and mindfully explains the key concepts presented in the Sutras in a way that is practical and engaging. After reading this book I felt connected to the Sutras on a much deeper level and begin living them with purpose on a daily basis.
The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele
This is without a doubt my most favorite and heavily dog-eared yoga book. If you're looking for a great guide to help take yours and your students practice beyond the mat, look no further. I use this book in my daily life and teach from it often.
Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
For many this books is considered the bible when it comes to learning and teaching asana (poses). In this epic text BKS Iyengar, details over 200 poses, with descriptions that include how to do the pose, the benefits of the pose, contraindications and desired sensation.
I used this book a lot when I first started practicing, forgot about it for a while then re-discovered it recently. Bottom line is its a great reference that no yogi should be without.
Yoga Anatomy - by Lesile Kaminoff or Functional Anatomy of Yoga by David Keil
Every yoga teacher should have at least a few good yoga specific anatomy books. These are the two I reference the most.
Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith
This book is the perfect guide for understanding the energy body and diving deeper into the chakras. It provides detailed information for each chakra including how to optimize your chakras for better health, greater personal power and expanded awareness. My favorite bits of the book are the mediations at start of each the chapter.
Prakriti by Dr. Robert Svoboda
As a yoga teacher students often come to you with their health questions and concerns. This book is a good place to begin to build a foundation in Ayurveda. Having a basic understanding of Ayurveda not only helps you to support your students on a deeper level but can help you to better understand your students.
Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
I have a few daily meditation and affirmation type books on the floor of my meditation space. After my morning meditation I’ll pick one up, open to a random page and soak in the the wisdom for that day. This book offers simple ways to integrate mindfulness and yoga teachings into your everyday. It also provides great inspiration for teaching and class themes.
Teaching Yoga by Dona Farhi
As a yoga teachers we are called on to fill many roles - more than just facilitating a safe and affective asana class. This book covers a range of subjects other yoga texts do not including, how to create appropriate boundaries, dealing with difficult students, creating a safe environment, charging fair prices and teaching with integrity.
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
This is one of the first yoga books I ever read. Like most yogis I found it deeply inspiring and moving. It’s simply a great story. I bought the audio version and listen to on long flights, including my last trek to India. I have not seen the movie detailing Yogananda’s life but look forward to it.
As I said this list is by no means comprehensive but should give you a great place to start expanding your collection of yoga books. Please share your favorites!