Off the mat, onto the couch with a good book and some tea!
If you've recently become intrigued by yoga, have you noticed how it's started to take over most of your interests? From blogs to YouTube videos, you quickly realize that it's more than just a way to exercise or relax; it rapidly becomes part of your lifestyle.
Regardless of how long you've been practicing, adding some yoga-related books to your bookshelf not only strengthens your physical asana, it also deepens your practice as a whole.
This list hardly encompasses all of the best yoga books out there, but it's a good start!
#1 For the Anatomy Buffs: Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews
Despite its inherent spirituality, there's a great deal of science involved in your yoga practice. Knowing your body's basic anatomy and physiology is crucial to avoid injuring yourself as your practice, and it's also an excellent way to strengthen your asana practice.
This book has colored illustrations to guide you through the basic yoga postures, explaining what joints and muscles are used in each pose and what organs are affected. This book is great for yogis regardless of their experience with the basic postures.
#2 For Inner Healing: Healing Mantras by Thomas Ashley-Farrand
Curious about mantras? This book is a simple but concise introduction into the healing power of mantras. The book details Sanskrit mantras, why they're used in and out of yoga class, and their many benefits.
Whether you're anxious, depressed, or feeling like you just need a dose of self-love, mantras are just what the doctor ordered. For the uninspired, the author gives you a variety of mantras to target whatever's ailing you.
#3 For Home Yogis: The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachara
Switching from the guidance and atmosphere of a yoga class to a home practice is a bit intimidating. Finding the motivation to get onto your mat when there are other pressing matters is another challenge, as is finding the creativity to sequence a practice without any help.
Desikachara's book is a step-by-step guide to show yogis how to create a practice at home that suits your physical and emotional needs and matches your current asana level. A home practice is essential for any yogi.
Being solely responsible for your practice and what makes your body feel good is empowering, and you'll realize you enjoy your home practice as much as you enjoy your classes at your studio.
#4 For Those Seeking Wisdom: The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chodron
When you've got the whole asana thing down, you might find yourself craving more intimacy with your practice.
Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun and an infinite pool of wisdom in regards to everything life throws at you and considered a go-to source for meditation guidance. Meditation is beneficial for you whether you practice yoga every day or once a month.
This book shows you how to integrate meditation into your daily life and tailor it to your current circumstances at any given moment. If you've been avoiding meditation because you think you need to devote an hour every day, this book will change your perception on meditation in a heartbeat.
Pema's words successfully introduce you to the Buddhist principle of kindness and compassionate living--towards others and yourself.
#5 For the Innate Philosopher: The Song of God by Bhagavad Gita
translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood
Teachers worldwide agree that if you're going to delve into yogic philosophy, you should start with the Bhagavad Gita, arguably one of the best yoga books ever written even if it isn't about the physical aspect.
Of all of the Hindu religious texts, this one is the most widely read and perhaps the most prolific in terms of ancient wisdom. "The Gita" is written like poetry and details a conversation between Krishna, a Hindu deity, and his pupil, Arjuna.
The two cover ethical dilemmas of all sizes, and despite the text's age, the wisdom still applies to this day. Whether you're looking for spirituality or advice when life gets rough, you can turn to the Gita again and again.
#6 For the Beginner: The Women's Health Big Book of Yoga by Kathryn Budig
This could very well be the bible for beginning students. The book is written in Kathryn Budig's lighthearted teaching style, making it accessible to beginners of all levels.
The first 40 pages of the book detail the history of yoga, the Eight Limbs, commonly asked questions about yoga, and the benefits of your practice.
The introduction is concise enough that you get an overall idea of yoga without being inundated with information. The second part of the book goes over the basic poses with color photographs, anatomical cues, and tips for good alignment.
Kathryn includes a series of 15 minute flows for strength-building, healing a broken heart, or even reducing anxiety.
#7 For the Introspective: Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi's Guide to Discovering Your Best Self by Jeff Krasno, Sarah Herrington, Nicole Lindstrom
Sometimes interactive learning is far more effective than just reading someone else's words, and this book pushes you to practice yoga in every aspect of your life, not just on the mat.
Writing prompts encourages you to really look inwards and understand every limb of yoga and how it can coincide with your life. Contributing yoga teachers provide recipes, yoga sequences, music playlists, and a host of other information that allows yoga to soak into every pore of your being.
Whether you're looking for inspiration, motivation, or self-reflection, this is the book for you.