Beginners, assemble!Anyone can start learning yoga; there are so many types of yoga practices and each are so varied in nature. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a couch potato, yoga does not discriminate.
Fitness levels and body types are not factors that are affected when it comes to yoga. This is because there are modifications for each yoga pose and various styles for beginners to pick up easily.
A pro-tip to keep in mind while beginning to learn yoga, however, is to focus on exploring yourself and finding out your limits. Try not to strive for perfection, because oftentimes, that is what causes people to give up half-way. Get in tune with your body, mind, and soul with yoga!
Every accomplished yogi has a story about how their lives completely changing for the better after buying their first yoga book. Most of them collect yoga books because of how resourceful they are.
Whether it’s the pictorial representations or the verbal descriptions, yoga books are not hard to keep up with. If you have been practicing yoga for a while now, maybe you can relate to this. Developing a new way of looking at things- a shift in perspective, if you will- is all it takes to alter your experience on the yoga mat. Do you dare?
In this article, we will talk about the best 10 yoga books beginners should consider reading if they wish to take up yoga. I have put a lot of effort into making this list. I have gleaned from my personal experiences, plus, I have taken opinions of many experts and students too. Plenty of surveys and research has gone into writing this.
All the books below have plenty of potential, and there’s no one book I’d recommend if you’re a beginner. Each book is captivating in its own way and helps you learn new things about yourself, yoga, and life as a whole. Hopefully this article can help you choose the book you were hoping to find!
1. Christina Brown’s The Yoga BibleWith over 170 yoga poses, The Yoga Bible is an extensive guide for beginners who are keen on getting each pose and posture just right.
It starts off with a general introduction to yoga, explaining to the reader what yoga is, a brief but interesting history lesson about yoga philosophy, some of the common yoga styles, and recommendations about getting the best out of this practice.
It’s no surprise that many people consider this the most comprehensive yoga pocket book in the market today. This step-by-step guide shows one how to get into a pose, build-up poses, counter poses, lightening the pose, and the effects it has on the body and mind.
Christina Brown has done a brilliant job at making it a very easy read, suitable for beginners who don’t need to be more confused than they already are. The postures have been described as “well explained” by many readers, and the descriptive pictures make for an interesting read.
She goes on to talk about how yoga goes way beyond physical exercise and the release of endorphins. She talks about how it brings about a sense of spiritual and physical well-being to all those who practice it.
Finding a mental and physical balance in life is so important, and this book encourages beginners and experts alike to find the right yoga sequence for them.
2. Leslie Kaminoff’s Yoga AnatomyWhether it’s the vivid anatomical illustrations, the descriptive asanas and vinyasas, or the in-depth information, Yoga Anatomy is definitely a go-to book for all yoga enthusiasts.
This book provides readers with a profound understanding of the underlying principles and structures of each pose and movement, and of yoga, as a whole.
The step-by-step approach has proven very beneficial for most readers with its descriptive explanation of each concept. For instance, from explaining a simple breathing exercise to describing challenging standing poses, you will find the transition seamless.
But the best part about Yoga Anatomy is the explanation of the specific muscles that are targeted during various yoga poses, how they respond to the movements, and how alterations to a pose can be more effective. It also explains how body positions, breathing, and the spinal cord are closely linked.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro at yoga, Yoga Anatomy is a helpful source to learn about each movement more thoroughly. The various diagrams, tables, and illustrations are what make it such a captivating read.
3. B.K.S Iyengar’s Light on YogaLight on Yoga is a detailed step-by-step yoga manual and is one of the classic yoga books in the market today. The detailed description on yoga philosophy, pranayama, bandhas, kriyas, and graphic guide for each asana is what makes it so easy to follow.
B.K.S Iyengar is considered to be a yoga master himself, and did a great job at capturing the essence of the book by giving it an ancient feel when yoga was first discovered. The images have a grainy effect on purpose, adding to the ancient feel.
The progressive approach towards learning, starting with simple and ending with advanced yoga courses, is appreciated by many who bought this book.
Despite the descriptive approach towards each posture, and the reasoning behind each asana, Iyengar also explains how yoga can be practiced to combat various diseases. This is one of the many benefits of yoga, apart from physical exercise and mental stimulation.
While explaining how to safely get into each posture, he also dives into the effects the posture has on the body. So, you won’t feel like you’re blindly following the yoga master, but know why you’re doing each and every pose.
4. Ray Long’s The Key Muscles of YogaRay Long takes a different approach to entice all the yoga enthusiasts by explaining the benefits of practicing Hatha Yoga. It not only explains the practice of hatha yoga, but offers a scientific approach to understanding the same, so that people feel more assured while practicing it.
With the use of four colors and 3D illustrations of the human body’s ligaments, tendons, and major muscle groups, Long explains how hatha yoga is good for you. It is almost like reading a science textbook laced with elements of yoga.
The anatomical and physiological descriptions in this book symbolize the different kinds of muscles that come into play during various yoga poses. It explains how the key muscles involved during hatha yoga are utilized.
This book is a constant companion to all those taking up yoga, and is helpful for beginners and experts equally. It’ll help you understand the body mechanics involved while practicing yoga with its illustrations and detailed descriptions in a way that is easy to understand, yet scientifically valid.
5. Tara Guber & Leah Kalish’s Yoga PretzelsYoga Ed. is an established educational company founded by Tara Guber that helps develop wellness and health courses. Their target audience varies from children, teachers, and parents, and focuses on creating content for all age groups.
The Yoga Pretzels deck is a very fun, educational read that helps one practice breathing, twisting, bending, relaxing, and much more within the comfort of your homes. This set consists of vibrant and colorful sets of cards which has proven to be insightful, not only for adults, but children too.
The deck and the colors is what grabs their attention, according to many parents, and helps them focus better. This is undoubtedly a clever way to keep children engaged while ensuring they’re obtaining a physical and mental balance in life.
Children and family yoga is becoming more and more popular, and this deck of cards is a must-have for such scenarios. Do not be disheartened by the word “pretzel”- even beginners, who are not as flexible can take this up and start on their journey of becoming a yogi.
With exercises ranging from breathing to complex yoga poses, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot about yoga you knew not of. The large design of the cards and the strong material ensures that they won’t bend easily.
6. Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise PlanRichard Hittleman is considered quite the yoga expert himself, and wishes to help others develop the mindful practice of yoga on a daily basis to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul.
Setting a timeline of 28 days is an excellent way of grabbing a person’s attention, by making them seem like within 28 days, they will find everything they’re looking for. But in essence, Hittleman wishes to inspire as well as instruct readers, the many benefits and health-related profits yoga has on the body.
With just 20-30 minutes of practicing yoga everyday is enough to strengthen your core, to help lose weight, and to improve your posture and circulation. This step-by-step guide not only focuses on building up tone and strength over time, but suggests ideas on how to modify certain stretches to better suit your individual needs.
Practicing yoga on a daily basis with these simple instructions, as opposed to taking expensive yoga classes you don’t even follow is so much more effective.
7. Rolf Gates & Katrina Kenison’s Meditations from the MatMeditations from the Mat offers readers 365 daily reflections that will help assimilate all the benefits of yoga into everyday life. Rolf Gates, an acclaimed yoga teacher does a good job in grabbing the attention of readers by starting each day’s reflection with an intriguing quote.
Then he goes on to explore a single interesting aspect on yoga philosophy. By taking examples from his personal life, Gates weaves many fascinating stories about how yoga helped heal his life.
The yoga sutras of Patanjali, in particular, was what changed his life for the better. He also provides explanations of how these yoga sutras can be applied to real life and help combat many daily issues we face.
Meditation from the Mat is sure to support you and stimulate your yoga journey, whether you’re a beginner or a professional. Read it in the morning and start the day on a fresh note, or at the end of the day, before going to sleep for a positive influence in your life.
8. Daniel Lacerda’s 2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga PosesThe first reaction every reader has when their eyes fall upon the title of this book is, “Holy cow! 2100 poses?” Maybe that’s because most yoga books don’t have more than 200-300 poses.
But when readers flip through the pages, they’ll notice high-quality pictures, well thought out descriptions that are clear and well organized. Further, the description of each image includes its name in Sanskrit, intriguing the readers even more about its traditional roots.
This inspired step-by-step guide introduces 2,100 asanas into your life, helping you explore yoga in an elaborate fashion. With hundreds of familiar poses, and its modified versions to better suit your liking, this book was designed specifically to bring readers more healthy options to choose from.
Arranged into 8 sections, you can now choose from the kinds of poses you prefer. These sections include standing, seated, backbends, supine, prone, inversions, core, and quadruped. Be prepared for a challenge as each section progresses from easy to hard.
9. Yogi Ramacharaka’s Science of BreathFor centuries it was believed that breath was the link that connected the physical and mental facets of our body, that it was the essential relation between body and mind. This concept was brought up by many yogic adepts and is expanded upon in Science of Breath.
Swami Rama and two noted physicians from America took a deeper dive into the missing link to physical health and mental consciousness. They claimed that breath was in fact, the missing key, and put together many basic yogic breathing exercises and techniques that have scientific explanations backing up their benefits.
Anyone can start working with Science of Breath- beginners and experts, as it has more to do with finding inner peace by linking the body with soul, than it has to do with physical exercise.
Science of Breath was the book that introduced Americans to the practice of yoga. By combining western biology with Indian spiritual practices, this book has a way of fascinating its readers by explaining how breathing better could improve their lives.
It further goes on to explain the benefits of yoga, such as decreasing stress levels, increasing focus levels, improving your posture, and many others.
10. Kristin McGee’s Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch & strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You
Much like it sounds, chair yoga involves practicing yoga while sitting down on a chair.
If you don’t have too much space at home, or are stuck at work until late hours, or just don’t want to move around too much, here’s 100 yoga poses for you that are easy, and also helps you stay alert, healthy, and active.
Each exercise includes step-by-step instructions and interesting photos that are easy to follow. Just a few simple moves a day, and you can reap the physical and mental rewards of taking chair yoga up.