Whether you’ve just started, practising yoga for a while or simply being a friend of a yogi, taking time to read a yoga book can help you to develop your understanding of the discipline if not even improve your skills. Alternatively, it can be an excellent gift especially for midlife women looking for help to navigate the physical and emotional challenges associated with hormonal changes.
In fact, regular yoga practise not only improves your body flexibility but also may alleviate the side effects of menopause, especially if you start a few years before its onset by cultivating a forgiving, accepting, and positive attitude important for your emotional well-being.
How to choose your yoga book
There are hundreds of books on various yoga topics that are well worth your time, covering everything from basic poses for beginners to more complex routines for experienced practitioners for improving and deepening your practice. You don’t need to buy the most expensive or newest book, but it’s important to get one that will help you understand the fundamentals of the discipline or, if a senior student, elevate your game.
As a rule of thumb, the best yoga books should provide a clear and linear process for learning yoga, step-by-step photos to guide you through each pose, something tangible to refer back to when you’re confused about what your instructor taught in class or if you’re struggling to do a particular exercise at home. Even better if written by experienced accredited instructors endorsed by well-known yoga alliances or associations.
Digging into the best yoga books
If yoga is for everyone, not all yoga books published are created equal. Check out our round-up of the best ones (including some classics) that may help you improve your practice with valuable insight into yoga philosophy, too
This yoga book by Dianne Bondy is a great all-rounder to have in your growing yoga library. It covers yoga practices to suit every type of body, from plus-sized yoga to pregnancy. It also includes lots of great advice for older yogis and people who have disabilities. Each move is expertly explained and any variations are illustrated using photos, so you can adjust your position to match the images.
This New York Times bestseller is fully illustrated and includes photos and descriptions of 2,100 poses divided into eight major types (standing, seated, core, quadruped, backbends, inversions, prone, and supine), then broken down into further groups ranging from easy to more challenging. Written by Daniel Lacerda – aka Mr Yoga- It’s a good pick for more advanced yoga students.
If you are looking for not only thorough descriptions of yoga poses but also a look at the spirituality so often missing in Western yoga classes today, this book written by Deepak Chopra and late David Simon (Chopra Center co-founder) is the right one for you. Think of it as a guidebook for meditation, yoga, mantra, breathwork, and of course, yoga poses. As you learn about the seven laws of yoga, you will learn how to witness and embody them in your physical and spiritual yoga practice.
- The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras By Nishala Joy Devi
This book is an accessible, in-depth exploration and explanation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras or the sacred threads of a yogic path. Written from an intuitive feminine perspective by Nischala Joy Devi, a world-renowned Yoga expert, this book offers direction, guidance, support, and insight for any woman interested in finding deeper meaning within her life.
This book is perfect for anyone looking to start a home yoga routine. Written by master Mark Ansari and Yoga artist Liz Lark, it covers everything you need to know about starting a home practice, including breathing exercises, stretching routines, and poses. You’ll find step-by-step instructions for each posture, along with helpful photographs and information on modifications, how long to hold the pose and a description of what each pose means and its benefit.
Written by leading yoga instructor Hannah Barrett, one of the UK’s leading online yoga and meditation teachers, who has helped hundreds of thousands of people through her bestselling app, workshops, social media demonstrations and classes, this book encourages you to incorporate key disciplines, thoughts and actions into your everyday life. No matter how little time or space you have, Hannah shows how you can find your energy, reduce stress at home or at work, get a good night’s sleep and learn to cope better with whatever life throws at you.
From the unforgettable teacher Jessamyn Stanley, a book that breaks all the stereotypes, showing us that this discipline isn’t about how one looks, but how one feels. It’s a book of inspiration for beginners of all shapes and sizes as it challenges the larger issues of body acceptance and the meaning of beauty. Jessamyn approaches asanas as the stepping stones to focus inward and “draw conclusions about ourselves and the world at large.” Her honest approach to yoga makes this book an entertaining as well as informative read.