I was recently asked at the end of class if I could recommend any yoga books for beginners.
Books are an excellent way to learn and to develop your knowledge so here are 7 recommended books for you.
When I first started yoga I remember supplementing my yoga classes with reading by following advice and following the sequences within a yoga book. It is highly recommended to study with a teacher in person when possible but reading is a great way to explore and develop your practice.
1. The Complete Guide to Yoga by Judy Smith, Doriel Hall, Bel Gibbs
This was one of the very first yoga books that I owned, given to me as a gift by a friend. This step-by-step guide is a practical, easy to follow book with sequences for everyone. I liked to dive into this book each morning and get inspiration for my practice particularly as it was all so new to me. The philosophy and benefits of Iyengar yoga are clearly explained and there is advice on how to begin and what equipment is needed. There is a chapter on making yoga enjoyable and fun for children. The guide to meditation is useful giving techniques and tips.
2. The Sivananda Companion to Yoga by Swami Vishnu Devananda
This essential companion for beginners and experienced yoga remains a classic guide to yoga. The book is an engaging and comprehensive guide to asana, pranayama, meditation, nutrition, relaxation and every aspect of the yogic lifestyle.
Swami Vishnu Devananda trained under Swami Sivananda for many years and one day Swami Sivananda gave him a 10 Rupee Note, and his blessings, to travel to the West and spread the teachings of Yoga.
“Living with mind and body relaxed is our natural state, our birthright—it is only the pace of our lives that has made us forget. Those who retain the art possess the key to good health, vitality and peace of mind, for relaxation is a tonic for the whole being, liberating vast resources of energy.” ~ Swami Vishnu Devananda
3. Light On Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
B.K.S. Iyengar devoted his life to the practice and study of yoga. ‘Light on Yoga’ is widely called ‘the bible of yoga’ and has served as the source book for generations of yoga students around the world. It is the classic text for all serious students of yoga.
This classic yoga book gives emphasis on precision and alignment which is important for developing a safe foundation for your practice. The book includes step-by-step yoga asana guides; a guide to Pranayama, breathing techniques; and an introduction to the spiritual side of yoga practice.
4. Yogasana – Encyclopedia of Yoga Poses by Yogirishi Vishvketu, PhD
This fantastic book presents 850 yoga asanas in a logical sequence enabling the reader to understand the variations for each posture. The Sanskrit translations allow you to understand the relationship between the name and the spiritual significance of each pose. Detail regarding the energetic essence of each asana is included through the use of a chakra chart and graphic icons for each pose.
Presented in a clear way which allows you to creatively explore your practice whilst maintaining a safe home practice.
5. Awakening the Spine by Vanda Scaravelli
For more than twenty-five years, until her death at the age of 91, Vanda Scaravelli was transforming bodies and lives with her innovative approach to yoga through the proper alignment of the spine. She listened to the body and worked with instead of against it. She used gravity, grounding, and breath to achieve dramatic improvements in health and wellbeing. Scaravelli was an early student of Iyengar.
This is not a step-by-step yoga instruction book but a classic inspiring yoga book. The book features three parts – Part One “The Story of Stories” the philosophy of yoga; Part Two “The Asanas” short exploration of yoga asana and Part Three “Breathing”.
It is inspiring to see the photos of Scaravelli in the Asana section, showing that yoga is for everyone. She didn’t start yoga until her 40s and the photos in the book are taken in her 80s. This book is an inspirational reminder as to why you are doing yoga.
Scaravelli reminds readers that: “if you are kind to your body, it will respond in an incredible way.” “Awakening the Spine” offers a gentle way to achieve and maintain overall health and a naturally supple spine at any age.
6. Living Your Yoga: finding the spiritual in everyday life by Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD
I’ve included this book as it examines ways to stretch the meaning of yoga beyond the familiar poses and breathing techniques. This book explores yoga philosophy and ways to incorporate it into our everyday life. Judith explains off-the-mat practices to guide you in deepening your relationship with yourself, your family and the world around you.
This inspirational and practical book will guide you in a warm and personal way. Covering topics such as Courage, Relaxation, Compassion, Fear, Empathy, Greed, Truth and many more. The book includes practice suggestions and daily mantras for each topic.
7. The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi
Breathwork is an important part of Yoga and our overall wellbeing. This is an easy to read book with step-by-step guides for remembering and re-learning our breath. The book includes concise information and diagrams relating to the anatomy of breathing and suggested practices for various health issues such as back pain, tiredness, asthma and help to build stamina.
Easy to understand and beneficial for all yogis and non-yogis alike!
This list gives you a taster of yoga books available for beginners. I hope that it gives you some inspiration. Why not explore further the wealth of yoga books available to us. Happy reading!