Fitness & Health

7 best yoga books to help you get more out of your practice

Best yoga books

All yoga lovers have their favourite books. Ones that have inspired and influenced their yoga journeys. But, which are the best yoga books?

Ask any yoga instructor and they’ll tell you about a book that changed their practice. (They’ll tell you about more than one if you let them!) If you’ve been practising yoga for a while, you might have a couple yourself. Newbie or yogi, our definitive list of the best yoga books is here to inspire, educate and inform. We’ve published some of the world’s leading yoga books, but which will you read next?

7 best yoga books


Power Yoga book

7. Power Yoga

Leah Cullis

Power yoga is an athletic, dynamic and modern style of yoga. It first emerged back in the 1990s, with Baron Baptiste, Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest all using the term.

Power Yoga‘s author Leah Cullis worked with power yoga pioneer Baron Baptiste. Today, she teaches how to build meaningful yoga practice based on personal experience. So your practice works for your body, your lifestyle and your individual goals.

“Leah is a brilliant teacher and leader, and she masterfully distills the teachings into practical and actionable steps”

Baron Baptiste
New York Times Bestselling Author

As the most-up-to-date text on the subject, Power Yoga begins with chapters detailing the power of yoga, power principles and focus. Before moving onto chapters dedicated solely to poses and postures. All of which are clearly explained and include modifications to alter difficulty.

Each of these chapters includes simple yoga sequences ranging from five to 60 minutes long. Making it the ideal text for both yoga instructors and enthusiasts. Plus, there are also specific sequences for running, cycling, team sports and high-intensity activities.

Power yoga is growing in popularity, so much so we’ve published two titles on the subject in last year. For more on power yoga, check out Teaching Power Yoga for Sports.


Yoga For Athletes book

6. Yoga for Athletes

Ryanne Cunningham

By some, yoga is often seen as being ‘too spiritual’ or not a ‘real’ physical activity. This means athletes can be hesitant to give it a try. Mostly because they’re unaware of its many benefits. However, this hasn’t stopped some of the world’s most successful and best athletes practising it. LeBron James, Maria Sharapova, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (to name a few) are all thought to use yoga in their training routines.

Yoga for Athletes is an ideal resource for elite and everyday athletes looking for that added edge. Beginning with an aptly named chapter ‘Why do Yoga?’ you’ll find out why athletes (of all abilities) should take up the practice. Featuring hundreds of photos, the guide clearly shows the poses and breathing techniques athletes can use to improve performance. As well as, reduce the risk of injury and maximise their training. We wrote a blog on the subject back in February 2017: Six reasons why athletes should do yoga.

Author and instructor Ryanne Cunningham has worked with some top names in sport. She’s helped keep some of the toughest NFL players on the field as well as some of the top endurance athletes running longer and stronger. Yoga for Athletes features step-by-step instruction, expert advice and pose variations for some of the world’s most popular sports, including:

  • American Football
  • Football
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Basketball
  • and more!

Yoga for Athletes is designed for any athlete, whatever your ability. From those weekend enthusiasts to professional athletes.


Haha Yoga Asanas book

5. Hatha Yoga Asanas

Daniel DiTuro and Ingrid Young

Hatha yoga is a general category that includes most styles. Most asanas (postures) associated with hatha yoga were developed less than 100 years ago. But these evolved to include hundreds of variations. This was so that hatha yoga could be adapted to fit modern life.

For beginners, learning the names of asanas can be challenging. Luckily, Hatha Yoga Asanas offers you a quick guide to over 150 classic hatha yoga asanas. This makes it the go-to resource for anyone practising or teaching yoga.

Most books on the subject only feature 20-30 of these asanas. However, this text gives you five times the amount. Allowing you to explore new poses and expand and enhance your practice. One of the book’s key features is that it gives each pose a difficulty rating (one being the easiest and ten being the hardest). Great for beginners, learning poses for the first time.

Each exercise is depicted with photos from coauthor and yoga photographer Daniel DiTuro. As well as movement cues, English and Sanskrit names.


Instructing Hatha Yoga book

4. Instructing Hatha Yoga, 2nd Edition

Diane Ambrosini

The world of yoga has exploded in recent years. Millions of people worldwide are experiencing the benefits and mindful awareness of yoga. This inevitably means more qualified teachers are needed. Which is where Instructing Hatha Yoga, 2nd Edition comes in.

The first edition of this title was the brainchild of the late Kathy Lee Kappmeier, a dedicated yoga instructor and teacher trainer. After years of personal study, Kathy had the vision to create a comprehensive yet practical reference guide for hatha yoga teachers in training. And, we think the authors did a pretty good job!

Well received by a variety of audiences (including instructors, experienced teachers and yoga students alike) the book includes chapters on the basics of teaching yoga and creating class environments. The majority of this comprehensive text is made of yoga poses, 68 to be exact. Each one is accompanied by images and step-by-step teaching instructions. These allow you, as teachers, to give students safe and effective hands-on adjustments for each posture.

Perfect for those training to become yoga instructors, the text comes with a web resource which includes over 70 video clips. These video clips demonstrate pose modifications. However, they also show you to how to assist and adjust students in classes. Additionally, there are also sample classes for popular strands of yoga such as children and pre-natal.

Instructing Hatha Yoga is the complete and essential guide to becoming a confident yoga instructor.


A Journey into Yin Yoga book

3. A Journey into Yin Yoga

Travis Eliot

Having only been released in June 2018, A Journey into Yin Yoga has been an instant hit. It even made it to number three on our best sports science books of 2018. Featuring beautiful photos and expert instruction for over 50 poses, it’s the go-to guide on the subject. You don’t just need to take our word for it, the text is packed with inspiring quotes, stories and interviews from celebrities, doctors and authors that have all benefitted from yin yoga.

Join world-renowned yoga instructor Travis Eliot as he guides you through the practice of yin yoga. Providing you with poses, breathing and meditation techniques to help you strengthen your mind, body and spirit.

“Travis is helping to lead the way in showing that yin is in and that there is so much more value to our everyday lives when we just slow down”

Michael Wong, Author of Sit Down, Be Quiet

A Journey into Yin Yoga begins by teaching you about the origins and practice of yin yoga. Following this, the guide includes details of over 50 poses. It offers benefits and reasons for practising each. As well as, alignment points and modifications so they can be adjusted to fit your needs and body type. There are also ten ready-to-use sequences including ones for:

  • Beginners
  • Healthier hips, knees and shoulder
  • Spine flexibility
  • Pregnancy
  • Sleeping better
  • Athletes
  • Relaxation

One of these was featured on our blog back in August 2018 in Yin yoga poses for the shoulders: Improve flexibility and relieve tension.

A Journey into Yin Yoga, as featured in Yoga Magazine, is perfect for beginners and a great introduction to this fast-growing style of yoga.


Hatha Yoga Illustrated book

2. Hatha Yoga Illustrated

Martin Kirk, Brooke Boon and Daniel DiTuro

Originally published in 2004, Hatha Yoga Illustrated has remained a popular text for the past 15 years. It’s the second hatha yoga title on our list and also a second for Daniel DiTuro.

This highly visual guide offers an introduction to hatha yoga for anyone and everyone. Its main focus is on the physical postures (asanas). However, it also includes details on how to get into the poses, find proper alignment and obtain the greatest benefit from your practice.

Easy to understand instructions and a substantial collection of images make this a perfect book for beginners. All poses are presented from start to finish, showing you how to achieve proper alignment and breathing throughout. There are also introductions into yogic breathing (pranayama), yoga of the hands (mudras) and meditation.

Although it’s a great book for beginners, instructors will benefit from 11 sample yoga routines. These show how to assemble the poses into workouts based on difficulty, intensity and duration.


Yoga Anatomy book

1. Yoga Anatomy, 2nd Edition

Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews

There were no surprises when Yoga Anatomy came in at the top spot in our best yoga books. Translated into 19 different languages to date, it’s a global bestseller. Often referred to as the book on yoga anatomy.

The text received great feedback from readers, particularly educators when first released in 2007. This led to Yoga Anatomy becoming required reading on most yoga teacher training courses.

The popularity of this book is, in part, down to its stunning anatomical illustrations. As well as the in-depth knowledge provided by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews. The illustrations help you to understand the structures and principles underlying each pose. This isn’t an exhaustive study of human anatomy. Instead Yoga Anatomy presents you with the details of most value to you, as a student or instructor.

The first half of the text covers different elements of yoga, including the breath, the spine, skeletal system and muscular system. Asanas are covered extensively in the second half. From breathing to standing poses, these chapters show you how specific muscles respond to the movements of the joints. You’ll also learn how the spine, breathing and body position are all fundamentally linked.


Conclusion

Whatever flavour of yoga you’re in to (Yin, Hatha, Power….), I hope this guide helps you on your way to finding the perfect books to take your practice to the next level.

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Do you own any of the books featured in this list? If so we’d like to know which ones and why you love them. Let us know in the comments below!

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Hi, I’m Hannah, marketing assistant and one of the bloggers here at Human Kinetics Europe. I wasn’t blessed with the coordination to play most sports, but that’s not stopped me becoming a great watcher of them. Particularly when it comes to football! So I’m here to bring you all you need to know about exciting new product releases and the latest in sport, fitness and PE.