Training to become a yoga teacher is often filled with many reading assignments that help you prepare for the world of teaching. However, your learning doesn’t just stop after training. Your yoga path will consist of lifelong learning to continue deepening your knowledge and connection with the practice, and as part of your path to becoming a yoga teacher, it’s best to read books.
A yoga teacher should have read books that reflect a broad spectrum of yoga. This can include anything from techniques to philosophy or lifestyle to spirituality. The best ones are those that draw you closer to the practice.
Below, we have listed our top recommendations to continue your journey of lifelong learning in yoga. Continue reading to find more sources of inspiration.
One of the most commonly required texts covering yoga, the Bhagavad Gita, is a highly-recommended must-read. Eknath Easwaran takes this spiritual story and transposes the spirit of the Gita into our Western culture while still maintaining the integrity of its depth.
This story of Gita opens on a battlefield and focuses on a conversation between Krishna, the manifestation of the Lord, and Arjuna, a warrior prince. The reader will witness the moral confusion and struggle that Arjuna goes through while confiding in Krishna.
The battlefield serves as a perfect setting, but the subject itself is about the war within Arjuna. His journey is a journey in which every human will go through. Watch as Arjuna’s struggles resolve into an intuitive understanding of oneself and how it relates to following the path of yogic living as we strive to live our highest truths.
Authors Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith have outdone themselves with this read. Readers will find this book guiding them through the practical side of the yoga teaching business and how to stay true to oneself.
It’s perfect for both new and established professionals looking to maximize their impact and learn to effectively build, plan, and optimize their practice. This is a quick read that will be sure to help you for years to come.
The authors, Joseph and Lilian Le Page, have created a text that offers readers access to several mudras that blend modern-day practices with the mudras’ understandings and uses for healing.
The book is organized into sections of different uses for mudras, including core quality, benefits, cautions, instructions, and similarities between other mudras. This text is helpful for those interested in the journey of spiritual awakening through the use of mudras.
The field of yoga therapy is vast. To encompass the entirety of yoga and its practices in one book would never do it full justice.
However, Mark Stephens has taken on assembling a great bit of information for aspiring therapists to understand. He has created a resource that surveys historical writings on yoga and creates a resource for yoga therapists, teachers, and students to relate to health through the learning of adapting yoga practices to accommodate a wide array of healing techniques.
Stephens’ insights include healing musculoskeletal injuries, promoting a healthy reproductive system, and addressing other difficult factors. He takes these insights and uses them to illustrate the idea of how we live our lives and is reflected in our balance and well-being.
Overall, this text is composed of every yoga practitioner’s dream as it encompasses how yoga helps through the body as well as speculates yogic philosophical teachings.
Bernie Clark begins his book with an exploration of the principles and benefits of Yin Yoga. While Yin Yoga has the same objectives as other types, it directs the stimulation created in the asana deeper than superficial sources.
Clark provides a great portion of various poses and several suggested flows that are best associated with Yin Yoga practice. He provides well-explained philosophical concepts and insight into how Yin Yoga was influenced by Indian Yoga and Chinese Medicine.
The reader will obtain a greater understanding of yin and yang and the organ systems, as well as how to integrate the Yin Yoga practice into the western culture to complement the various perspectives at play.
As the title suggests, Donna Farhi’s text looks at how yoga practice can move beyond the mat and into our everyday lives. This book provides intriguing ideas about all the possibilities yoga has to offer, such as the transforming power that yoga has over our life’s practice. The objective is to restore the traditional functions of yoga and how to take the path to deeper self-awareness.
This book is perfect for those that want to learn more about the yamas and niyamas. One could say that they are similar to the ten commandments but for yogic spirituality. The book acts as a guide to practice these in daily life.
Deborah Adele explains the first five guidelines, which refer to the Yamas, and how they focus on encompassing nonviolence, truthfulness, not stealing, non-excess, and non-possessiveness.
She further explains the last five guidelines, which refer to the niyamas, and how they focus on purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender. Readers are provided a self-study section after each that allows them to journal and reflect on the practices.
This book is highly recommended for yoga teachers as they continue their lifelong journey living a life of purpose and harmony.
Unlike the other books we have looked at, this is one that doesn’t simply look at perfecting yoga posture (asanas) or breathing techniques. Rather, Darren Main’s text focuses on changing how we see the world by providing a way for readers to apply more of yoga’s ancient wisdom to everyday life.
This text is rich in context, but the writing is clear, concise, and easy to follow. In his book, Main brings awareness to those searching for answers by offering a deeper exploration of yoga.
The authors, Allison Gemmel Laframboise and Yoganand Michael Carroll, dive deep into the ancient hatha yoga traditions’ techniques. They uncover the past to prepare for the future. The text is written more so for the modern yoga practitioner to reclaim the lost valuable, traditional teachings.
Readers can enjoy daily Pranayama practice plans that are offered throughout the text and share the elements of this yogic practice. Pranayama is all about opening you up to a journey of self-discovery.
Swami Muktibodhananda and Satyananda have taken the original Sanskrit text of Hatha Yoga Pradipika (Light on Hatha Yoga) to translate and expand the great writings. They give insight into how hatha yoga practices can be done in today’s world while still transforming and composing new ways in the modern era.
Hatha yoga was considered to be the foundation of all other yogas. The text expands on this knowledge with traditional context and the physical and mental transformation that would be part of the process.
Readers will find this text to spread a mass of the science of hatha yoga, which can be adapted to every individual’s personal situation. By the end, you will find yourself on a journey to self-discovery.
Yoga has always been more than stretching and bending. Gary Kraftsow uses his book to bring back traditional aspects of the practice by showing readers the physical and spiritual healing components through yoga.
Throughout the text, you will find images of basic postures and sequences that can be included in the routine. Not only does the text give information about form, but Kraftsow also explains how the postures function in alleviating ailments.
Even more so intriguing, readers will learn about different case studies that the author specifically experienced with past clients and how he drew them to a more holistic approach through yogic practices.
This text is a useful guide for all yoga teachers, new and experienced, to introduce the balance between mental, physical, and spiritual wellness—hence the name, Yoga for Wellness.
A book designed for daily reflection for a year, the authors offer ways to integrate mindfulness from yogic practices into everyday life. Included in the text, you will find more than just exercise routines. Rather, you will be informed of the importance of yoga, the yamas and niyamas, asanas, and other ways to enhance your yoga journey.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati has created a piece of work that every yoga teacher should read. Four Chapters of Freedom offers extensive commentary and an accurate translation of the original text by Rishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
The insight will give you a new outlook on the path of raja yoga, where you can seek invaluable guidance in everyday life. What you once recognized as normal will seem life-changing. This is definitely a must-read book!
Unlike other books about the eight-limb path of raja yoga, Swami Rama has created a piece that offers extensive knowledge with simple, clear, and concise text. It’s perfect for beginners as it outlines the basic physical movements and mental disciplines associated with ratha yoga and takes you to a place where you learn how to practice mindfulness in your new yoga journey.
Few works provide a fresh approach to ratha yoga, but Rami has taken the initiative to do just that. It is a great read with wonderful insight on the entire path and leads you to pursue your own journey in a personal way.
While Mark Singleton’s book, Yoga Body, has been the center of some controversial topics, it does offer quite a unique outlook on the most commonly held beliefs about the nature and origins of asana.
Many believe that postural yoga was an ancient Indian tradition that came to dominate modern-day yoga across the globe. However, Singleton has brought into question that very idea.
This book will find extensive research that the author has done in finding where asana practices first originated. Interestingly, there is no evidence that the practice was included in Indian tradition. Rather, his account suggests that the origins emerged from a confluence of practices and ideologies that developed into what we now consider modern-day yoga.
Further, Singleton analyzes the attention that yoga has drawn in today’s society and how it differs from previous years. He concludes with the emphasis that yoga masters were innovators who were always adapting yogic practices to modern-day techniques to grow and expand our yoga journey’s enlightenment.
This book is perfect for yogis that want to expand their knowledge and insight into the origins of yoga practice. Singleton offers many interesting concepts that others may never have dreamed of. As a yoga practitioner and instructor as well, his ideas make for interesting learning. This book is highly recommended!
If you are looking for a read that offers straightforward, systematic techniques for your yoga practice, then this is the book for you. Swami Rama offers a text filled with various techniques to suit any yogi on their self-journey. It is not simply a book filled with rules, but rather it includes helpful tips for finding the best fit for you.
Chakras is a favorite among many yogi’s—and not just because it is filled with many amazing illustrations of the various chakras. Harish Johari has created a text that is informative about the different chakras depending on sound, mantra, yantra, geometric symbols, coloring, and more in-depth explanations of their symbolic meanings.
Chakras have been useful tools throughout history by activating centers of energy. Johari emphasizes the classical principles of this ancient science of tantra and how they can be applied in modern times.
Readers will find meditation techniques to accompany the use of these instruments, which will set a stage for the human body to reach a higher level of understanding and enlightenment for your yogic journey.
You will find yourself coming back to this book for years to come. There is no better read on chakras than this one.
Dr. Deepak Chopra’s text is an original guide for applying the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old medical system, in your everyday life. He explains the concept of Ayurveda by emphasizing the constant renewal of our bodies as we are created anew each and every day. Readers are given the tools for finding balance in the body and awareness.
Further, Perfect Health provides a step-by-step guide of the mind-body medicine discussed. There is even a quiz included for you to find which mind-body type you identify with. Once you find that, there are specific exercises and routines added for you to have a personal plan.
By reading this text, you will find more awareness of your own body and be able to strengthen your relationship between mind and body.
This is a highly recommended read for any yogi wanting to incorporate ancient techniques with modern-day practices.
T. K. V. Desikachar, son of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, a yogi and scholar, has composed a highly regarded text on the methods of his father’s teachings. It is the first book to outline the step-by-step sequence of viniyoga practice, which continues to adapt to modern people’s changing needs in achieving their yogic journey to the fullest.
While his book is based on many of his father’s teachings, Desikachar has also offered some of his own ideas on a more practical approach. He describes the program at every level—physical, mental, and spiritual.
This approach broadens the age-old principles by discussing all of the elements of yoga. Students and teachers alike will develop a practice tailored to their own lifestyle.
We can think of no better book to recommend for students and teachers to learn about yoga’s different schools and teachings. It is highly recommended for those seeking to deepen their yoga practice.
Roots of Yoga encourages you to forget everything you thought you knew about the history of yoga. James Sir Mallinson and Mark Singleton take new critical translations from ancient texts to thread together a clear and interesting commentary about the deep practices. This text is highly resourceful for everyday practitioners and beginners alike.
As the years of research, yoga is not a static subject, but rather it is ever-evolving and adapting. Singleton and Mallinson emphasize this through many examples and innovative views founded through their studies.
This is yet another great resource for those looking to learn and explore the origins and traditions of the path of yoga.
Have you ever wondered about who you are? Michael Singer explores this question in his book The Untethered Soul. This book will challenge you both psychologically and intellectually in considering aspects of yourself and how you are “defined.” There is much more to you than you have ever thought.
Throughout the book, Singer shines a light on the process of observing ourselves and the world around us. You are greeted with the sense that you are not your thoughts, sensations, or pain, but rather our identity is found in our consciousness.
This book will lead you to develop a sense of realization for all those who seek it. We highly recommend this book for yoga teachers and students alike. It will help the modern person seeking this experience to better understand their soul through mindfulness and meditation.
American yogi and spiritual teacher Ram Dass (Dr. Richard Allpert) has composed a work covering mind-expanding information to guide others to become a yogi.
Throughout the book, you will witness Dass’s spiritual transformation as he travels to India for his guru initiation. You will find a canny resemblance of your own life through his journey, which will draw you to wonder if the answers you seek for becoming a yogi will be found in the wonders of India.
Dass presents the broad range of concepts and practices that have to do with yoga, including postures, meditation, renunciation, and dying. The way that he illustrates the teachings is like no other. It is as if he combines the concepts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism all into one melting pot, which will surely blow your mind. Everything connects.
This book does a great job of emphasizing the discovery of our connection to the universe, to the creator, and to the source of everything. You will have the sense that there is only now. To take advantage of the now is to be here, be present, be one with everything. The title says it all—Be Here Now.
Many Lives, Many Masters is a classic story based on a true case that Dr. Brian Weiss encountered while he was a psychotherapist.
This is not the traditional text for a yoga teacher; rather, it is a text that enlightens you about the aspects of skepticism throughout your career. Continuing on the journey of becoming a yogi will require you to have an open mind, just as Dr. Weiss was with one of his patients.
This story is unlike many others. Readers are exposed to the life of a young patient who sought help clinically as she had begun recalling past-life traumas, which further resulted in nightmares and anxiety attacks. Weiss’ skepticism transformed to one of meaning after a session in which the client drew on spirit guides who had specific messages about his dead son and his mission in life.
We cannot verify if this is true. We don’t know. Dr. Weiss blends psychiatry and metaphysics together in this fascinating book to show readers what could be possible. Still, we know that this story will leave you with lingering questions and possible revelations about the meaning of life and the journey after death.
Stereotypes are meant to be broken. Jessamyn Stanley does just that with her book by inspiring beginner yogis of all shapes and sizes. However, this book is not simply about technical and physical aspects for larger-bodied individuals; rather, she opens readers to a life-expanding scope of yoga.
Further, Stanley offers advice for yogis with 50 yoga poses and ten sequences for individuals to practice at home. Her guide is easy to follow and includes outstanding photography to act as a reference.
Readers will find inspiration throughout the book with Stanley tackling the challenges of all body acceptance in yoga. A yoga body is, quite simply, a body that does yoga. This book will open your mind to an uplifting approach to discovering the power of yoga. It is certainly for everyone!
Yoga has reached popularity in recent years for creating a healthy body, but few recognize the full potential that it has to offer with emotional and spiritual benefits. Nischala Joy Devi captures the essence of each sutra in a way that surpasses any traditional translations on the topic. She adds a greater dimension of deeper understanding.
We suggest this book for everybody, but especially yoga teachers who want to embrace yoga’s spirituality throughout their day and teach these ways to their students.
Paramahansa Yogananda, hailed as the “Father of Yoga in the West,” composes an inspiring story of his life and the experiences he encounters which led him to the life of a yoga master that lived and taught in America. He founded self-realization, which was emphasized in his many writings and teachings worldwide.
In his autobiography, Yogananda also records meeting with other celebrated spiritual personalities in the world, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. Through his own experiences and those he had with others, he introduced millions worldwide to spiritual principles of yoga meditation and universal religious truths.
Anyone reading this book will absorb the revelation of spiritual essence throughout the world, and those seeking answers will find a deeper understanding of life through his teachings. We highly recommend this great read for all yoga teachers and students alike.
Steve Jobs gave away a this book as a farewell gift to all the attendees at his funeral. Take a look at this article for more details. Did Steve Jobs Practice Yoga?
Have you ever felt as though something was missing in your life? Are you longing to be understood? Debra Silverman uses her remarkable talent to offer you ways to gain insight into yourself.
The world will suddenly seem as though it comes from your own eyes. The ability to see the world the way you yourself see it. This vision will take you away from feeling so isolated or different. Silverman continues to use her words to remind you of your very potential in this world and your place in it.
The information she uses in her book is driven by the four directions, four elements, and four noble truths to help you experience the depth of wisdom. These concepts will inspire your path of compassion for the human condition.
They will inspire your path to becoming your own observer. Through your eyes and the practice of meditation, you will see yourself and others as a balance of the four elements. Silverman’s teachings will bring one back into alignment.
The Missing Element is a great read for encouraging all people to be themselves, find awareness and compassion, and stop fighting who you are—and that will lead you to find what is missing.
Loren Roche brings readers a beautiful translation of an amazing perceived conversation between two gods. This conversation acknowledges 112 meditations (Sanskrit teachings) for readers to find their spiritual spark from within. Roche gives a beautiful, unique explanation of each guided meditation practice for those to embody and practice them.
This teaching, as a whole, offers a startling revelation for readers to savor. Yoga teachers and students can nurture their relationship with these wise teachings as they continue their yogic journey in finding the deep truth of what they need.
You might be wondering why we are recommending a book about trauma on this list. Everyone faces some sort of trauma in their life, and as Dr. Bessel van der Kolk notes from his scientific research, trauma can reshape both the body and brain of those that have suffered.
By using modern neuroscience, he demonstrates that trauma physically affects the body and brain by causing rage, anxiety, or other tensions. Simply put, victims lose control.
When teaching yoga, you will find clients who have experienced various situations and traumas that have led them to lose themselves. They are looking to reclaim their lives. Teachers are their guide in the beginning, which is why it is helpful to understand the impact as a whole.
Dr. van der Kolk’s work explores different innovative treatments, such as yoga and meditation, in offering new paths to victims’ recovery. His research, along with other specialists, has found evidence that shows how recovery can lead to the activation of the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Increased neural plasticity can help clients regain control of their lives and rewire their brains.
As any yogi knows, many yoga and meditation techniques can be further resourceful in their recovery. It’s the perfect text to provide new enlightenment on the world, the people, and how the journey of yoga will help reclaim the lives of everyone.
We write this list in the hope of giving you all a start to some amazing books. Each work offers insightful lessons on the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of yoga. This list of books is a great resource for yoga teachers and students who wish to further deepen their practice and understanding.
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