When you first begin a yoga practice, whether you choose to go physically to your local yoga studio or gym, or you opt for practicing at home with an online yoga studio or yoga app, chances are you’ll find yourself a bit overwhelmed with the quantity of information presented in a single 75-minute class.
Perhaps you were one of many people that thought that yoga was a workout that included some pretzel-like shapes and a little breathing, and you may have already realized there is much more than that to this ancient practice.
A way to learn more about the practice when you’re a beginner is by grabbing a yoga book for beginners and taking some time to understand more about other fundamental pillars of the practice that go way beyond the mat.
In this article we will share with you:
- 4 reasons to grab a yoga book for beginners
- Yogic philosophy books for beginners
- Asana books for beginners
- Pranayama and meditation books for beginners
- Yoga books for beginners beyond the mat
Read on and find your ideal beginner yoga book!
4 reasons to Grab a yoga book for Beginners
Reading a yoga book for beginners is an excellent compliment to the practice on your mat, and whether you’ve been practicing for a while or you’re brand new to the practice, you’re guaranteed to learn something new.
Here are a few more reasons to grab a yoga book for beginners, even if you’ve been hitting the yoga studio for a long time:
- You can learn the basics of yoga at your own pace. Yoga books can provide you with clear instructions and illustrations on how to do the different poses. This can be helpful if you’re not sure where to start or if you’re feeling intimidated by the idea of taking a yoga class.
- You can learn about the different styles of yoga. There are many different styles of yoga, each with its own unique focus and benefits. Yoga books can help you learn about the different styles and choose one that’s right for you.
- You can learn about the history and philosophy of yoga. Yoga is a multi-layered and holistic practice with a rich history and philosophy that you could read beyond a lifetime. Yoga books can help you learn about the origins of yoga and its different schools of thought.
- You can find inspiration and motivation. Yoga books can be a great source of inspiration and motivation. They can help you stay on track with your practice and remind you of why you choose to practice in the first place.
- You can practice yoga anytime, anywhere. As mentioned in the introduction of this article, yoga is much more than just the physical postures. When you read or study about yoga, you’re still practicing!
Yogic Philosophy Books for Beginners
If you’re interested in exploring the depths of yogic philosophy, here are some of the best books to get you started and inspire you:
1# “Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga” by B.K.S. Iyengar
Light on Yoga is a book on yoga philosophy and practice written by B.K.S. Iyengar. First published in 1966, it has since become one of the most popular and influential yoga books of all time, also used as reading material for Yoga Teacher trainees around the world.
The book deals with the history and philosophy of yoga, āsanas (postures) in detail, and how to practice prānāyāma (breathing exercises).
It is written in a clear and approachable style and packed with helpful illustrations.
Iyengar’s descriptions of the āsanas are precise and detailed, and his instructions on how to practice prānāyāma make it accessible to all.
2# “The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice” by T.K.V. Desikachar
T.K.V. Desikachar, son of the renowned yogi Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya wrote this distillation of his father’s teachings.
This yoga book for beginners and frequent practitioners alike offers a comprehensive guide to developing a personal yoga practice.
Desikachar begins by discussing the history and philosophy of yoga, and he then goes on to describe the different elements of the practice, including asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation.
3# “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”
A foundational text of classical yoga and an insightful yoga book for beginners, the Yoga Sutras are a collection of 196 aphorisms (sutras) that outline the philosophy and practice of yoga.
The sutras are divided into four chapters, or padas: Samadhi Pada, Sadhana Pada, Vibhuti Pada, and Kaivalya Pada.
Asana-focused yoga books for beginners
For folks with an interest in anatomy and alignment, check out these excellent books:
4# “Yoga Anatomy” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews
This yoga book for beginners and for new yoga teachers provides an in-depth look at the anatomy of yoga poses.
The book is divided into six sections: standing poses, sitting poses, kneeling poses, supine poses, prone poses, and arm balances, and each section includes detailed descriptions of the poses, as well as illustrations of the muscles and bones involved in each pose.
The book also includes information on how to modify poses for different body types and injuries and make the practice more accessible.
5# “The Key Muscles of Yoga” by Ray Long
This anatomy yoga book for beginner teachers is a guide to the main muscles involved in yoga poses.
This book has three parts: anatomy of the muscles, the key muscles involved in each pose, and finally, instructions on how to practice each pose safely and effectively.
This is an ideal yoga book for beginners interested in alignment and anatomy since it is packed with helpful illustrations and diagrams.
Pranayama and Meditation-focused books for beginners
Although asana is an important and fundamental part of yoga, breathwork and meditation are just as relevant to explore.
Here are some books to check out:
6# “The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation” by Thich Nhat Hanh
This is a great yoga book for beginners by Thich Nhat Hanh that introduces the practice of mindfulness.
Hanh teaches that mindfulness can help us to live more peacefully and joyfully. He provides exercises and meditations that can help us to develop mindfulness in our daily lives.
The Miracle of Mindfulness is a simple and accessible book that can be enjoyed by people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Listen to one of Hanh’s chats:
7# “The Inner Tradition of Yoga: A Guide to Yoga Philosophy for the Contemporary Practitioner” by Michael Stone
A guide to yoga philosophy and practice that explores the history and development of yoga, as well as the eight limbs of yoga.
Stone offers insights and guidance for contemporary practitioners who want to deepen their understanding and experience of yoga.
Yoga Books for beginners beyond the Mat
There are other ways to explore yoga, and we highly recommend you grab one of these yoga books for beginners that invite you to live the practice beyond your mat:
8# “The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living” by Stephen Cope
This beginner yoga book explores the wisdom of yoga and how it can be applied to everyday life.
Cope draws on his own personal experiences, which makes this a digestible yoga book for beginners.
9# “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele
This is a great yoga book for beginners to explore the first two limbs of the eight-fold path of yoga: the yamas (restraints) and the niyamas (observances).
Adele provides practical guidance on how to apply these principles to everyday life, with exercises to help readers cultivate a more ethical and fulfilling way of living.
10# “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit” by Deepak Chopra and David Simon
This work discusses the 7 laws: the law of intention and desire, the law of karma, the law of detachment, the law of non-duality, the law of giving, the law of karma yoga, and the law of transformation.
11# “Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy” by Sadhguru
According to Sadhguru, Inner Engineering is a technology of self-transformation that helps to align the mind and body with energies around and within, creating a world of limitless power and possibilities.
12# “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle
This is a phenomenal yoga book for beginners that offers guidance on how to live in the present moment and avoid the suffering that comes from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Tolle argues that the present moment is the only moment that is truly real, and that by living in the now, we can find peace and happiness.
If you’re interested in expanding your understanding of yoga beyond what you can learn in a 75-minute asana class, grab a yoga book for beginners, or any other yoga book that may pique your interest.
A beginner yoga book is a tool to help you grasp important yogic concepts including physical postures, breathing techniques, meditation practices, and yogic philosophy.
To learn more about yoga for beginners, read this article next.