Best Yoga Books: Top Picks from 10 Amazing Yoga Teachers

With a plethora of astute literature by a gazillion teachers, gurus and yogis out there on the shelves, it can be daunting to know where to start your education into the language and intellectual depth of yoga. Here, I have collected a list of favorites from some of my yoga teacher peers from all over the world for you to peruse and enjoy! [wp_ad_camp_1]  

1. Ely Ruales

Instructor of Hatha and Therapy teacher training programs in Varkala, Kerala, India recommends, A systematic course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya published by the Bihar School of Yoga. She says it is “suited for those looking to deepen their spiritual journey and prepare the five bodies and pranas for the experience.” A couple of her favorites for meditation are The art of meditation by Joel Goldsmith and The Book of Secrets by Osho. On the topic of Ayurveda, she likes Ayurveda: A Life of Balance by Maya Tiwari and Pharmacy for the Soul, also by Osho.

2. Mahesh Chandra

YTT instructor at Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga Mysore Kerala in India specializes in Ashtanga Yoga and recommends Ashtanga Yoga: the Practice Manual by David Swenson. On the topic of Pranayama, he suggests Prana and Pranayama by Swami Niranjananda Saraswati. For Anatomy, Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff, and for more advanced practices of yoga, he likes The path of fire and light volume I & II by Swami Rama.

3. Joe Kara

Teacher and YTT instructor in Los Angeles, CA at InYoga Center in Sherman Oaks, CA and studio instructor at Yogaworks in Larchmont and West Hollywood, CA recommends Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar. Another favorite is Light on Yoga  by B.K.S. Iyengar

4. Angkana Srikasem

The founder at SAMsara Yoga and teacher of many disciplines including therapy and prenatal yoga at My Peace Yoga in Bangkok, Thailand. She keeps several books close at hand, including Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health by B.K.S. Iyengar,  Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond by Francoise Barbira Freedman,  The Yoga of Pregnancy Week by Week: Connect with Your Unborn Child Through the Mind, Body and Breath by Mel Campbell. She also frequently references The Power of Ashtanga Yoga by Kino MacGregor.

5. Jenny Yoczik

Yoga teacher in Los Angeles, CA recommends The Yogi Entrepreneur: A Guide to Earning a Mindful Living Through Yoga by Darren Main. Jenny says, “It talks about everything from how to get a job teaching at a studio to how to create your own workshops, retreats & open your own studio. She also suggests Yoga Adjustments: Philosophy, Principles, and Techniques and Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes, both by Mark Stephens. Jenny says Mark Stephens’ books help her continue to grow as a student & teacher.

6. Helena Mercera

Teacher at Endless Summer Beachhouse in Cape Town, Africa recommends Teaching yoga: Adjusting Asana by Melanie Cooper. She also recommends the Ashtanga Yoga Book – The Yoga of Breath by Lino Miele.

7. Nicole Tiska

Teacher in Wenzhou, China recommends Ashtanga Yoga: a Practice Guide  by Larry Schultz, one she "mainly uses with students and for quick review.” For more spiritual introspection, she suggests Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh which she finds greatly inspiring, especially on “tricky” days.

8. Lisa Jennings

Restorative teacher in Los Angeles, CA at Mission Chiropractic frequently references Judith Lasater’s book, Relax and Renew. For her favorite translation of the Sutras, she loves Liberating Isolation  by Frans Moors.

9. Maria Weber

Teacher at Seaside Yoga in Seaside, Oregon goes back over and over again to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bagavad Gita. She especially loves The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita - A commentary for Modern Readers. For the Sutras, she likes the beautiful text and illustrations in Gary Kissah's The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Illuminations Through Image, Commentary and Design.

10. Kristin Daemon

Owner at Seaside Yoga Studio in Seaside, Oregon (that's me) gets so much from the books her teachers, Ely Ruales, Mahesh Chandra and Joe Kara introduced her to, including Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Muktibodhananda, Asana Pranayama Mudra Banda by Swami Stayananda Saraswati and a now worn copy of the Pocket Edition of Integral Yoga - The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchitananda, a great one to travel and journal with.

Several of these books were cross-referenced by multiple teachers on this list. It is a compilation purposefully gathered from teachers all over the world to give you a well-rounded (and yet small) sense of what is out there and a place to start.


Image via: Abhi Sharma