Quite a few people (mostly yoga teachers) have asked me recently about yoga books I recommend, so I thought I’d share some of my favourites. I’ve deliberately left out the super-obvious ones such as the Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and Iyengar’s Light on Yoga; I’m hoping to give you at least a few suggestions that you’ve yet to devour.
First a disclaimer: this is in no way a comprehensive list! There are so many brilliant yoga books; these are just a few that have in some way shifted my thinking or informed my teaching. I’d love it if you’d add your favourites to the comments below if they’re not on this list.
Yoga Sequencing by Mark Stephens
Mark Stephens is incredibly knowledgeable and eloquent. He’s packed so much information about teaching principles and methodology into this book, as well as example sequences for a range of audiences (for example, seniors, kids, women) and different purposes (such as sequencing to relieve anxiety, and sequences for the different Ayurvedic constitutions).
Teaching Yoga and Yoga Adjustments by Mark Stephens are also excellent resources.
Bringing Yoga to Life by Donna Farhi
When I first bought this book, I read it cover to cover. Years later I still pull it off the shelf fairly regularly, and just open it at random. Every time, I end up reading exactly what I needed on that given day. Donna Farhi’s exploration of yoga philosophy is relevant and real and her writing is beautiful. There’s something about this book that speaks to my soul.
I also love The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi.
Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers
This book is dense; it’s definitely one for the geeks! Tom Myers has been incredibly influential in terms of our modern understanding of fascia and anatomy as a whole. This book is a comprehensive work on the fascial trains, the sheets of connective tissue that give our bodies structure and form. If you don’t know much about fascia, this will probably change your understanding of the human body significantly.
If it sounds like a bit too much but you’d like to dip your toe into the waters, search for Tom Myers on YouTube. He has some super informative videos.
Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers
I have multiple books about Yin yoga and this one (though it’s not purely about yin) is definitely my favourite. Sarah Powers’ descriptions of the Chinese Medicine meridians and their impact on our minds and emotions are detailed yet easy to read. The diagrams and photos clearly show how each yin posture affects the relevant meridians. She includes a short and long sequence for each meridian pair. Great resource for yin teachers or anyone interested in delving into yin.
Meditation for the Love of It by Sally Kempton
This book has not only deepened my own meditation practice, it’s also been an incredibly valuable tool as a teacher. Sally Kempton includes numerous ‘exercises’ which can be used as short guided meditations, or the inspiration to craft longer meditations for your students.
Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates
This book consists of a series of 365 quotes, each followed by thoughtful commentary by Rolf Gates. It’s perfect if you like just a little nugget of wisdom to contemplate each day. Often these these readings have inspired class themes.
Mindfulness Yoga by Frank J Boccio
Frank Boccio describes the philosophy and practice of merging yoga and Buddhism’s four foundations of mindfulness into a single discipline. This idea might seem obvious given how much we talk about mindfulness in yoga, and in a sense it is obvious, but that doesn’t make it easy. This book definitely helped further my own mindfulness practice, as well as assisting me as a teacher to encourage my students to treat their practice as a moving meditation.
Myths of the Asanas by Alanna Kaivalya
If you’re interested in finding out more about Hindu mythology and stories behind the Sanskrit names for postures, this book is a gem. It’ll help you share elements of yoga philosophy during your classes in a light-hearted, accessible way.