Every yogi has a story of how a yoga book completely transformed their yoga practice. Many have more than one. If you have been practicing yoga for a few years or more, perhaps you can relate to this. A shift in perspective, a new way of looking at things or a different way of practicing can alter your experience on your yoga mat and in your life, enough that you feel somewhat different – more inspired, lighter… dare I say enlightened?
All of the yoga books below have that potential. Each one grabs you in a different way and teaches you something new about yourself, about yoga and about life. We hope that this guide will help you choose the one that is ideal for you at this moment, or will help you choose the perfect one for a friend, colleague or family member who also loves yoga.
We have divided our yoga book reviews into 3 categories: Yoga Poses and Practice (10 books), Yoga and Functional Anatomy (2 books) and Meditation, Psychology and Yoga Philosophy (5 books). For each book we include a brief but detailed description, then complete each review with the reasons why you may want to buy, or not buy, each book. Let us know if you have any that you would like to recommend or if you have any questions or feedback, by posting below.
1. 4-Book Series: Props for Yoga with Eyal Shifroni
Eyal Shifroni’s Guide to Iyengar Yoga Practice With Props includes a series of 4 volumes that take different approaches within the Iyengar method, separating the focus on chair yoga, standing poses, sitting asanas and inverted poses.
I found all 4 books to be incredibly useful and full of creative, unique ways to adapt asanas using blocks, straps, the wall and chairs. Each book has the potential of becoming a constant reference for students and teachers alike, providing years of contant learning, experimenting and exploring. The black and white photos are excellent, making each pose easy to understand, and the descriptions are clear. This series will enhance your yoga practice no matter what level you are at!
2. Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Through Stillness by Erich Schiffmann
I love the unique approach that Erich Schiffmann takes to yoga practice in this lovely book. It has the potential to shift the way that you do yoga and relate to life. Schooled in the Iyengar and Desikachar approaches, Schiffmann has a uniquely gentle, transformative approach to alignment and body awareness. His easy-to-follow yoga pose tutorials, yoga sequences and perspective on yoga practice help you stay centered in your practice and calm and mindful in your life. He covers meditation, pranayama, the essence of yoga practice, lines of energy and asanas to create a wonderfully comprehensive book on yoga.
3. Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers
Beautifully laid out, this synthesis of wisdom traditions is filled with a generous amount of information, photos and insights. Sarah’s description of meridian theory and how it so beautifully connects with yoga practice is unique and refreshing. The book’s main focus is on yin yoga, and Sarah offers a number of yoga sequences that are designed to pressurize certain meridians and help heal specific organs, while dividing each yoga practice into a long and short version so you can more easily adapt them to your schedule. She completes this wonderfully written book with seated pranayama practices, basic Buddha dharma and suggested mindfulness meditations.
4. Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit – A Return to Wholeness by Donna Farhi
Many students find Donna Farhi’s Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit to be an invaluable part of their yoga journey. Donna provides a way to experience yoga in a more complete way, allowing the asanas to come to life through ‘seven moving principles’: namely breathe, yield, radiate, center, support, align and engage. With an impressive section on the mechanics of movement, beautiful photos (including what not to do) and yoga pose sections divided into standing poses, seated poses, back bends, arm balances, restorative poses and yoga breathing practices, Donna’s Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit will teach you so much about the practice of yoga, whether you are a student or an instructor.
5. The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown
Featuring over 170 yoga postures, this is an illustrated, step-by-step guide to achieving each posture, including how to move into the pose, the gaze, build-up poses, counter poses, how to lighten the pose and its effects on the body and mind. The Yoga Bible also has a general introduction to yoga, including what yoga is, some yoga philosophy, common styles and suggestions around getting the best out of your practice. You could say that this is the best comprehensive yoga pocket book that exists – although, you need a very big pocket to fit it in!