Despite being over 5,000 years old, yoga has certainly grown in popularity over recent years and boomed as a fitness trend to try at home.
It’s been increasingly popular with celebrities and royalty too – in an interview with California’s Best Heath Magazine, Meghan Markle shared that ‘yoga was her thing’ and something she’d practiced since a young age.
If you’re a practiced yogi, a complete beginner, or want to expand your learning outside the fitness studio, read on for our pick of the best yoga books to help you grow.
What is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient mind and body practice using Indian philosophy, designed to boost your physical and mental wellbeing.
It uses breathing techniques, postures and movements to increase strength and flexibility and meditation to help focus and harmonise your mind.
What are the benefits of yoga?
According to the NHS, yoga is suggested to be a safe and effective way to increase your physical fitness. It has also been seen to:
• Increase flexibility
• Increase strength and reduce risk of injury
• Improve respiration and vitality
• Improve your circulatory and cardio health
• Increase balance
• Alleviate anxiety
• Alleviate stress and in turn improve sleep and concentration
So if you’re looking to improve your body or mind, take a look at these yoga books to help you build on the basics and find what’s best for you.
Best yoga books to buy today
1. Yoga: A Manual for Life - Naomi Annand
Best all-rounderThis beautifully illustrated book provides informative notes from Annand as she share her wisdom. The picture guides to different poses make this book a fab read for beginners and more experienced yogis and the flexible spine means you can easily lay this book flat at the end of your yoga mat to follow the positions. This book would not only look great on your coffee table as an easy pick-up, it's a great all-rounder with short and longer rituals and sequences to help you find inner peace, feel relaxed and inspired.Also available on Kindle
2. Yin Yoga: Essential Poses and Sequences for Balanced Energy – Diane Paylor
Best yoga book for relaxationThis book provides the essential poses to follow for this more relaxing form of yoga. Yin yoga focuses on proper alignment and the holding of positions, helping to make you feel at peace, reducing stress and anxiety with these slower movements. Holding the poses passively for 1 to 5 minutes can help strengthen joints, ligaments and fascial tissues too, great for improving your mind and body. The book comes with beautiful hand-drawn illustrations of the poses too that provide a great guide and lovely aesthetic.Also available on Kindle
3. Embrace Yoga’s Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice – Susanna Barkataki
Best yoga book for traditional practiceBarkataki's book focuses on respecting ancient yoga philosophy by embracing and empathising with more traditional practices and lifestyles. The book explores how to deepen your yoga practice by learning about the history of yoga, reflecting on this, reconnecting and then liberating yourself with an integrated, more ethical practice of yoga that'll create unity between you and the world. She shares tools, resources and guidance on how to embody a complete yoga practice with personal exploration and transformation.Also available on Kindle
4. The Yoga Beginner’s Bible – Tai Morello
Best yoga book for complete newbiesThis beginner's bible does exactly what it says! It provides a good, basic introduction to yoga with some background on the practice to help inform your experience. Morello shares explanations as to the usefulness and practicality of yoga as a practice in the modern world, and then clearly illustrates and describes the positions with 63 illustrated poses. This is great aid to learning on your own or as a pre-first class confidence booster to getting you downward dog and sun salutation perfectedAlso available on Kindle
5. Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health – B.K.S. Iyengar
Best yoga book for perfecting your asanaB.K.S. Iyengar is one of the world's leading teachers of yoga, having practiced and taught for over 70 years. He is still internationally recognised as a leading authority and so his definitive step by step guide will provide the perfect path to doing each pose whilst helping you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. It comes with a breakdown of each position and sequence as well as photographic guides so you can mirror the movement being demonstrated.Also available on Kindle
6. Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Best yoga book for a lifestyle changeThis book doesn't just look at the poses and history of yoga – it provides a complete practice and lifestyle guide with step-by-step asanas, detailed illustrations, programmes, mindfulness techniques, diet advice, and recipes. Perfect for all abilities, you can master each pose over time or try the variations to advance in your practice. Incorporate the different elements to live like a yogi and find your zen for a more mindful experience. Also available on Kindle
7. Yoga Anatomy – Leslie Kaminoff
Best yoga book for understanding the effects on the bodyIf you want to know exactly what effect your yoga positions are having on your body, Kaminoff provides a great read that shows how everything is linked and how to adjust your poses for a more enhanced movement. Through the different poses, see how each effects the different muscle groups from standing and breathing exercises to the more advanced movements too.Also available on Kindle
8. The Eight Limbs of Yoga: Living Yoga Philosophy – Stuart Ra Sarbacker
Best yoga book for beginner philosophyThe eight limbs of yoga are a guide to the thoughts and practice of the exercise that you can apply to everyday life. This enlightening read explores the 8 limbs – the 5 outer looking at your lived experienced and the 3 inner limbs focusing on the mind. These deep philosophical ideas are written to be easily understood by beginners and more advanced yogi alike with concise and transparent language to help you understand.Also available on Kindle
9. Light on Yoga: The Definitive Guide to Yoga – B.K.S. Iyengar
Best yoga book for progressionThis is the second book by B.K.S. Iyengar on our list. Whilst the first looks to asana guides and perfection, this "Bible of Yoga" is a great tool for progressing your practice with a weekly development plan for up to 300 weeks. Every pose is explained in detail with photos for each stage of the position, as well as reasons why each is good for you. This book isn't recommended for complete beginners but if you've practiced alone or in an exercise class this is a great way to progress.
10. Yoga for Inflexible People – Max & Liz Lowenstein
Best yoga book for people with limited flexibilityIf you can't touch your toes, you might able to do that and more by the time you're through this book. The authors show that you don't need to be flexible to practice yoga with alternative positions for each exercise so you can find the best ability point for you. By engaging with each, you can hope to improve your flexibility over time, as well as improve strength, mobility, sleep, stress and anxiety.
11. 15-Minute Gentle Yoga – Louise Grimes
Best yoga book for busy schedulesHave you been meaning to practice or get into yoga, but don't have the time or know where to start? This book provides the solution with four 15-minute programmes for beginners, offering the flexibility and ease of use that busy lifestyles demand. All you need is your yoga mat to hand and by regularly practicing even just these 15-minute routines, you can begin to reap the benefits. Also available on Kindle
12. Science of Yoga – Ann Swanson
Best yoga book for widening physiological know-howSwanson not only looks at the effects of yoga on your muscles, but also your blood vessels, nerves and the brain with scientific and medical research to support. She explores the physiology of 30 key yoga poses, from seating and standing, to inversion and floor asanas, and help demystify the real benefits of yoga on every system in the body. Widen you understand and delve into the science behind your favourite yoga poses with this easy-to-understand, comprehensive guide.Also available on Kindle
13. The Book of Yoga Self-Practice – Rebecca Anderton-Davies
Best yoga book for independent learningThis book is great if you can't get to a class and would prefer to learn in the comfort of your own home. Anderton-Davies gives tools to use around your practice, focusing on the physical elements of yoga. This step-by-step guide will show you how to overcome the challenges of starting, continuing and progressing in a yoga self-practice. It combines heartfelt writing with beautiful, clear design and helpful tools that you can implement in your yoga practice.Also available on Kindle
14. Asana, Pyanayama, Mudra and Bandha – Saraswati Satyananda Swami
Best yoga book for an in-depth understandingRecognised internationally as one of the most systematic yoga manuals, this book provides step by step directions as well as a more thorough understanding of chakra awareness. This book combines a comprehensive overview of asana; while at the same time giving clear explanations of the deeper aspects of yoga, including pranayama, mudra, bandha and yogic cleansing. First published in 1969, it's still popular and used as an excellent resource today.Also available on Kindle
Beginner Yoga terms demystified
Across these yoga books you’ll be introduced to terms for different parts of the practice. We’ve whipped up a short glossary to help navigate which book is right for you.
• Hatha Yoga: this refers to the typical type of yoga that teaches physical postures and the most prominent variation in the West
• Yin Yoga: this refers to a slow pace style of yoga in which poses are held for a longer period of time
• Asana: the name for a posture adopted in yoga
• Bandha: the practice of locking off the energy flow to part of the body in order to regulate and direct the flow of it
• Chakra: this refers to energy points in the body, thought of as spinning discs that should stay aligned
• Mudra: a symbolic gesture used to stimulate different parts of the body
• Pranayama: this refers to a breathing exercise used to free the flow of energy and overcome any physical or emotional obstacles
• Vinyasa: a sequence of poses or asana with a focus on the smooth transition between them