21 Best Yoga Books for Beginners to Uplift Your Mind and Spirit

21 Best Yoga Books for Beginners to Uplift Your Mind and Spirit

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This list is a comprehensive collection of the best yoga books.

There are two types of books on this list.  

The first type of Yoga books teaches the physical moves of Yoga: how to perform the different poses. The second type of Yoga book is more spiritual in nature. These books teach the deeper philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of Yoga.

People who practice Yoga will love books that explain the physical side of Yoga. They will want ideas on how to reach and hold many of the poses they experience in Yoga classes.

The longer people practice the physical techniques of Yoga, the more they become interested in the spiritual side of Yoga.

This list has both types of Yoga books. 

The spiritual Yoga books and the physical Yoga books. As well as a few books that touch on both the physical and the spiritual elements pf Yoga.

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Enjoy this list of the best yoga books!

Spiritual Yoga Books

Yoga is a physical journey. But it is also a mental practice. Yoga practitioners are able to work through emotional stress and psychological challenges. A while holding a few difficult poses.

The Yoga books in the spiritual section of this list are about gaining a deeper understanding of the mental benefits of Yoga. They do not focus on the physical moves of Yoga. Instead they highlight self-awareness and spiritual  aspects of Yoga.

These spiritual books to help people understand yoga on a deeper level. These books help yoga practitioner them to open up their minds and lessen the burden on their hearts.

1. Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Through Stillness by Erich Schiffmann

In this spiritual yoga guidebook, the reader is able to discover a path to inner peace using Hatha yoga. Using Yoga strategies created by author and world-renowned yoga expert Erich Shiffmann. 

This excellent book offers easy-to-follow techniques that help people find inner peace and the beauty in life.

This Yoga book uses simple instruction and helpful illustrations. It shows the reader over one hundred poses and routines that geared toward all levels of ability. These moves help slow or reverse aging, increase strength, and tone the body. The complete program of meditation helps promote self-realization, decreases stress, and increase creativity.

This book shows that yoga's secrets of stillness and movement are available to the average practitioner. You do not need to be a Yogi to radiate positive energy and awaken joy. This system brings greater happiness and contentment to Yoga

This spiritual yoga book also offers tips for mindful breathing. And addresses how conscious stillness can help transform a negative perception to a positive one.

Readers have found that this book has helped them feel balanced, centered, flexible, and coordinated. While also becoming free from life's negativity.

This spiritual book is very approachable and easy to relate to. Many teachers have chosen to use this book in their yoga classes to help teach their students.

2. Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind by Frank Jude Boccio

This is a popular Yoga book, designed with both beginners and experts in mindfulness and Yoga in mind. The author introduces mindfulness yoga. This a new form of yoga that incorporates the Buddha's teachings into a traditional asana Yoga. Mindfulness Yoga also includes many other ideals of mindfulness.

Mindfulness Yoga focuses on the spiritual and emotional side of yoga. This aspect of Yoga is often overlooked in our culture. (Many people only considers the physical benefits of yoga to be important).

Unlike similar books, Mindfulness Yoga presents the two instructions as a single practice. This method not only makes the physical body healthier, but also frees the mind, spirit and awakens compassion.

This book appeals to anyone who has an interest in yoga, Buddhism, or meditation. It will help you to a way to bring these three separate ideas together into a harmonious whole.

The special lay-flat binding that this book comes in makes it very useful when practicing yoga of this book offers clear instructions of three complete mindfulness yoga sequences. It includes helpful pictures. And providesT detailed guidance for the reader's body, breath, and mind.

Readers have found that the special lay-flat bindng comes in handy when practicing yoga. The reader can reference the book throughout the yoga sequence to have the author "talk" them through the practice. The sequences does repeat some poses. But the written instructions lead readers to new understandings of the poses. This encourages growth through practice.

People who have even some Yoga experience benefit the most from this book. Seeing the Yoga postures in a new (and more spiritual) light, can be revolutionary for practitioners.

3. Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

This is "the" classic book on the philosophy and the practice of yoga. It offers a guide to attaining physical, mental, and spiritual well-being through practicing yoga. This is a great book for people of all skill levels of Yoga.

Light on Yoga has three parts. The first part being an introduction to the practice and the history of yoga.

The second part of Light on Yoga covers several yoga poses in great detail. (Including photographs of the correct forms.) This section also includes clear instructions to help perfect the poses. And explains the benefits and precautions associated with each pose. 

The final section of the book focuses on Pranayama (a form of yogic breathing). It teaches the technique of Pranayama, as well as its precautions, effects, and various types.

Many readers consider this book to be a "must-have" for yoga practitioners. Since its original publishing in 1966, it has been translated into 16 different languages. The detail and descriptions in this book that make it very easy to follow.

4. Yoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings and Practices for Healing the Body, Mind, and Heart by Gary Kraftsow

Yoga is a very popular form of physical exercise in the Western world. But few people tend to talk about the emotions, mind, heart, and soul that go into the practice. The spiritual side seems to be relegated to the eastern practce of Yoga. But it is in the spiritual side where the real transformations are able to happen.

Yoga uses breathing techniques that help control energy levels. It has exercises to sharpen one's cognitive function. And meditative practices to help reduce stress and anxiety and increase self-awareness.

This book focuses on the emotional aspect of yoga. Helping people strengthen their entire mind, body, and spirit.

Some readers believe this to be one of the best books on yoga transformation. Kraftsow offers many tips that he learned from one of the most respected Indian yoga gurus. 

Yoga for Transformation, is a simple and effective book that can make the reader's practice of yoga much more powerful.

5. Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life by Judith Hanson Lasater

Living for Yoga teaches the reader that they do not need to embark upon a transformational journey to gain the benefits of yoga.

In this book the meaning of yoga is expanded. Lasater considers yoga to be a lifestyle. Much more than the familiar poses and breathing techniques. Yoga becomes a daily practice for living and wellness.

This book is inspired by the wisdom of the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita. It creates a course of practices to guide the reader in deepening their self-awareness. It can improve the readers their relationship with their family and friends. And their ability to be present in the world around them.

Readers have found this book to be both inspiring and practical. This is due to the author's extensive knowledge of the ancient traditions of yoga. Along with her life experiences being in a family and being a yoga practitioner and teacher.

Living for Yoga presents new view of the basics of yoga. It challenges the reader to find the spiritual side of life in the little things.

This thought-provoking book is not only a great tool to keep on hand to learn more about Yoga. But it also is a great motivational book that will make you desire to make Yoga a part of your daily lifestyle.

6. Yoga Body and Mind Handbook: Easy Poses, Guided Meditations, Perfect Peace Wherever You Are by Jasmine Tarkeshi

Yoga helps reduce stress, increase inner peace, and cultivate a greater sense of well-being. But how does one know if yoga is right for them?

Jasmine Tarkeshi, one of America's most influential yoga teachers, has over 20 years of experience teaching yoga to people of all levels. She has learned through her experience that, with proper teaching, anyone can enjoy the benefits of yoga.

This book is written with the beginner in mind. It aims at giving an introduction to key yoga poses, breathing techniques, and mindful meditations.

Yoga Body & Mind Handbook is an easy-to-follow guide. It offers the reader many long and short yoga routines. Including breathing techniques, posture instructions, and meditation guidance.

Tarkeshi includes suggested modifications for the yoga poses she focuses on. This helps people to ease their way into the true pose or do whatever is most comfortable for their bodies. The meditations offered in this book can be completed anywhere. And will help reduce stress and increase physical endurance and mental health.

This book has detailed instructions and clear illustrations of yoga techniques in this book. Its clear guide to postures and wonderful graphics are a big strength. The breathing exercises it details help relieve both physical and mental tension.

Yoga Body & Mind Handbook is well-organized. It should be a staple in any beginner's Yoga library. But, people who have more experience with yoga will likely not gain much new knowledge from this book.

This book is clearly written with only beginners in mind. But is perfect for giving those beginners all the knowledge they need.

7. Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit - A Return to Wholeness by Donna Farhi

This holistic guide to yoga is a user-friendly book with 240 clear illustrations to help instruct the reader. Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit sets forth the principles of yoga unlike similar books have in the past.

Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit integrates the teachings of all traditions of Yoga into a single book. It shows how practicing yoga is able to enhance the connections between one's mind, body, and spirit.

Farhi addresses the seven principles of movement that are the foundation for all human motion. She offers her readers exercises to help them understand how they can achieve all yoga postures. She also looks at yoga's 10 foundational rules and explains how to incorporate these into one's daily yoga practice.

Farhi teaches the reader over 75 yoga poses in this book, with a picture and description to go along with each.

This book is neatly arranged into groups of exercises. Standing postures, sitting postures, arm poses, and breathing exercises, as well as a section for easy reference. At the beginning of each section, the author instructs readers to move through a few core poses. Then asks he reader to reflect on the way they feel while performing the pose.

After addressing the core poses, Farhi moves on to more complex postures. While talking about different levels of yoga ability. Readers have found that this format provides challenges and inspiration for students of all levels.

At first glance, the photos and illustrations in this book may seem a bit dated. This may be a little bit true. Yet, the edge this book has over others is its combination of yoga's spiritual aspects with its physical components.

Beginners may have with this book is the author's use of yoga-specific language to describe poses and movement. But once this lingo is picked up, the book is easy for everyone to follow.

8. Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer

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This national bestseller is written by Claire Dederer. Claire hesitantly took on yoga when trying to heal a back injury. Many people told her to try yoga, and after trying up for her first class, she was instantly hooked.

For the following 10 years, she practiced poses such as the triangle, wheel, and crow. She learned to love some poses while also developing hatred for others. During her journey, Dederer found herself getting to know the forces that shaped her generation. She was hesitant to practice yoga at first. But once she started, Dederer found that the more she practiced, the more the poses were able to test her fundamental ideas of what makes a good person. ,

This book is unlike any other book about yoga because, at its core, it is a book about life. The author uses witty and heartfelt writing. Her words are both sharp and irreverent to help her readers.

While most readers enjoy Poser's guide as a "fun" book, some serious yoga practitioners don't like it. They focus on the fact that this book is neither a yoga guide or a self-help book, but the authors experiences. 

However, this book does contain elements of both a guide and a self-help book. It includes passages on feminism, attachment parenting, and yoga's history throughout the book. In the end, most find the unique voice of this book make it a entertaining and even educational read.

Physical Yoga Books

These Yoga books are more focused on practicing yoga as a form of exercise.

While some of these books do go into the mental aspects of practicing yoga, they are more about the physical aspects. They detail yoga poses and explain to the reader exactly how to execute them. These books go into detail about which muscles are stretched during yoga, and exactly how to stretch them.

9. Yoga Anatomy-2nd Edition by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews

This book includes asanas, vinyasas, colorful anatomical illustrations, and in-depth information. It provides a deep understanding of the structures and principles of each movement. And of the practice itself.

It addresses breathing, inversions, and standing poses to show how specific muscles are affected by the movements of the joints. It also talks about how slightly changing a pose can increase or reduce its effectiveness. And how the entire body is fundamentally linked during this practice.

This is a great book for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike. It is an invaluable resource that allows the reader to see yoga poses in a new light. Many consider this book to be the ultimate reference for yoga practitioners, teachers, and enthusiasts.

This insightful book teaches the reader much about how the body works. Particularly how muscles restrict different moves. This book addresses which muscle groups should be working during each pose. This helps people correct their mistakes. It also afford advanced practioners to push deeper into some poses, helping them avoid injury and get more out of their workout.

10-14. Ray Long Books

The following five books by Ray Long focus on perfecting the moves in your yoga practice.

These books are effective because they tell the reader every detail of each yoga pose. Describing how to start if you have little flexibility. As well as how to get the most out of a pose for more advanced users.

Dr. Long also cautions readers about when they need to do yoga in a certain way to not injure any joints.

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This book takes a scientific approach to explaining hatha yoga.

Long uses four-color, three-dimensional illustrations to teach his readers about the major muscles, tendons, and ligaments. He describes the benefits of hatha yoga. He uses physiological and anatomical verbiage to explain how the body's muscles work together for each pose.

This first volume of the series goes over which key muscles are used in hatha yoga, and how each is used. Many people have found this to be a very helpful book.

While some note that it would be helpful to include conventional terms in the anatomical index rather than only the Latin names, the terms that are included can be cross-referenced with other resources for clarity.

In the second volume of this series, the author helps the reader influence their unconscious physiological responses through their conscious biomechanical actions.

This helps the reader experience more muscle awakening and body awareness as they learn to engage an increasing number of muscle groups during yoga practice.

Many have found this book to be a great practice companion with its integration of the science and art of yoga poses in order to get the most benefits from the practice.

This book teaches the reader about the science behind the flow of vinyasa yoga and the poses of hatha yoga.

Dr. Long takes the reader on a visual narrative through the anatomy, mechanics, and physiology of yoga, breaking down each pose along the way. This series of books offers beautiful illustrations along with a step-by-step guide on using scientific principles to get the most out of your practice.

This book focuses on the science and biomechanics behind the hip openers and forward bends of hatha yoga.

Like the other in the series, this book includes the bandha yoga codex.  A five-step process that can easily be applied to any yoga pose to increase strength, flexibility, and accuracy.

This book is very similar to the previous two books in the series. It focuses on the backbends and twists of hatha yoga. This series of books provides extremely precise information on yoga postures.

Every muscle that stretches or flexes in named. are shared. Every stretch has pictures of the muscles in various hues of blue and red to show where the intensity lies. Pictures also detail the joints involved, as well as the direction in which the muscles move the ligaments.

This series may be overwhelming for some. It may seem like too much information for a casual Yoga fan. But it is perfect for those who are looking for the necessary details to work towards better posture. Readers love the science that is the key to this series.  The scientific details help people nderstand what their bodies are going through when practicing yoga.

This book is a useful resource for yoga teachers of all levels.

It is also a guide for yoga students who want to improve their yoga skills and technique. It is often used as a textbook for yoga teacher training programs. It addresses all teacher training curriculum standards that are set forth by the Yoga Alliance.

This book offers information from a wide variety of perspectives. It has over 150 photographs and illustrations to cover the fundamental topics of the philosophy and history of yoga. Teaching Yoga covers all 11 principle styles of contemporary yoga. It includes a history of the development of each style. As well as the distinguishing factors of each styles teachings.

This book addresses the modern aspects of anatomy and physiology. It provides extensive tools for teaching meditation, yoga poses, and breathing techniques. Teaching Yoga also includes effective advice for setting up a classroom, planning classes, and the requirements for becoming a yoga teacher and staying up-to-date in the profession.

Many readers have found that the resources offered in this book are particularly useful. Such as the comprehensive index and appendix that lists associations, institutions, organizations for yoga teachers.

While this is a great book to get an initial orientation to teaching yoga, it does not take the place of learning from an experienced teacher. However, it does get prospective teachers used to the structure they should expect from their training.

16. The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown

A vividly illustrated guide to yoga. This book describes 150 positions with step-by-step instructions on how to do them. As well as counseling on breathing techniques. This book covers both the mental and physical health benefits of yoga.

Many have found this to be a very well formulated and organized book. The asanas are well-arranged according to physical positions, such as sitting and standing. The organizational sequence of the asanas makes sense and flows. Going through the motions of this book in order makes sense to the reader.

Each pose accompanied by lead-ins, variations, and helpful information. (Such as the required sequence to enter the pose.) Everything in the book is also explained through high-quality photographs. This helps the reader ensure that they are doing the poses properly.

17. Functional Anatomy of Yoga: A Guide for Practitioners and Teachers by David Keil

This book helps the reader understand the anatomical structure of the body. It details how the body functions while doing yoga. This complicated subject is written in a conversational tone. This conversational style makes the information clear to the reader. The overall theme of Functional Anatomy of Yoga is integration.

The author shows the readers the benefits of having a better understanding of their bodies while they are practicing yoga. He addresses how the parts of the body function together to support the integrated movement of yoga. And how the various yoga postures connect to each other.

Keil is an expert both on the subjects of anatomy and yoga. He has almost 20 years of experience teaching anatomy. 

This book includes illustrations to clearly explain the concepts and poses. Many have found that this book is able to take the dry subject of anatomy and make it humorous and enjoyable. People especially value the last section of the book where the author integrates his anatomy lessons into the asanas.

18. Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners by H. David Coulter

This book brings together the studies of hatha yoga, anatomy, and physiology. It is a great read for those who study or teach yoga. But is also valuable for people who work in any field related to physical conditioning.

The author is an authority on anatomy. Having a PhD in anatomy and years of experience as a anatomy professor. He also has experience a yoga teacher at the Himalayan Institute for Yoga, Science and Philosophy.

This book is different from others because it has the depth of a textbook. But is still an easy read with its humorous content and fluid writing style. It connects the dots between biomedicine and complementary medicine. It has an emphasis on yoga anatomy, physiology, and musculoskeletal, nervous, and cadiovascular systems.

Readers have found that this book is extremely well written. While it is exhaustive and comprehensive, the author's passion for anatomy and yoga come through in his writing. Some sections may need study more than once. But the challenge of reading and understanding this book is as good for one's brain as yoga is for one's body.

19. Yoga for Beginners: 60 Basic Yoga Poses for Flexibility, Stress Relief, and Inner Peace by Susan Neal

This book, written by a certified yoga instructor who is also a nurse. She provides the reader with a step-by-step guide to achieving the inner peace that yoga can provide.

This is a great book for beginners who are just starting to get familiar with the practice of Yoga. The author is gentle in her writing. She offers encouragement to teach readers how to improve their flexibility. But also discusses the mental aspects of Yoga that can help to relieve stress.

Yoga for Beginners explains a wide range of yoga poses, with options to suit beginners and intermediate students. Neal also talks about proper eating practices to complement a yoga regimen. She teaches about low glycemic diets to achieve a healthy weight. The causes of sugar cravings and practical solutions to overcome them. After reading this book, one will be able to determine what they should do and eat to benefit their body, as well as why those practices are important.

This book explains 60 fundamental yoga poses with full-page pictures and specific instructions. It also includes three different yoga routines to give the reader some variety in their practice. Readers are able to relate to this book because the author includes personal stories about her battle with poor health. As well as what she did to regain control of her life. This practical book is an easy and simple read. It is great practice book for people who have a beginner's mindset.

20. The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga by Ray Long

This book is the third edition of The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga. This edition adds over 50 new pages. It  includes an expanded chapter on how to properly use the breath, and additional information on the biomechanics of yoga.

The graphics in this book are stunning. It is very detailed in every aspect of human anatomy and the benefits of each type of yoga. This book is different from others because it includes the chakras and bandhas. Making it a must-have for people who do yoga. It is also great for yoga teacher training programs.

21. Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton

In this book, Mark Singleton questions commonly held beliefs about yoga.  And he presents a new way of understanding the practice. ​

His controversial thesis is that modern yoga is largely derived from the spiritual aspirations of European bodybuilding and early 20th century women's gymnastics. ​This idea allows the author to explain how the common forms of yoga have become the popular phenomena that they are today in the Western world.

Many have found the views presented in this book to offer an impressive study that sheds new light on yoga. It has led many people to change their beliefs on the origin of yoga and how they view it today. It is an easy and enlightening read.

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What do you think about the best Yoga books presented here?

Do you practice Yoga? Have you read any of the best Yoga books on this list? Do you have any good advice for those who want to learn more about Yoga? Either the physical moves or the spiritual stuff. If so, please share your thoughts on Yoga or Yoga books in the comments section below.

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21 Best Yoga Books for Beginners to Uplift Your Mind and Spirit

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