yoga books for beginners

The 8 Best Yoga Books for Beginners

Published on November 18, 2021

An essential first step to getting started with a yoga practice is to find a good book to teach you the basics. The best yoga books for beginners should include information on the history of yoga, yogic philosophy, step-by-step instructions on how to practice the yoga poses correctly and safely, the basic breathing techniques, as well as meditation techniques. There are many different types of books available for purchase on Amazon and other booksellers, so we’ve sorted through them all to bring you our recommendations for the yoga books that are the best teaching you the basic principles of yoga.

Benefits of using a yoga book

You don’t need to buy the most expensive or newest book, but it’s important to get one that will help you understand the fundamentals of yoga. While there are a ton of online resources for beginners, having a physical book by your side can be helpful on your yoga journey. A book for beginners will often cover different aspects of yoga and health benefits that you might not be exposed to online. A book also provides a clear and linear process for learning the basics of yoga. You’ll have something tangible to refer back to when you’re confused about what your yoga instructor taught in class or if you’re struggling to do a particular exercise at home.

Some yogis prefer reading from their phone or tablet over a traditional paperback because they want an easy way to read while practicing. If this is the case for you, then consider buying a digital version of the book instead. Look for the box to change the format to “Kindle” at the top of the page on Amazon.

Eight great beginner yoga books

The following list of yoga books is the absolute best ones for beginner students that are still available in print. We have intentionally not listed books that focus on a specific types of yoga, and instead opted for the titles that address a more general practice of yoga. We have also left off the classic Light on Yoga book as we feel this is too complex and poorly formatted for beginners to easily access.

Yoga: Mastering the Basics by Anderson and Sovik

Yoga Mastering the Basics bookThis book covers all aspects of yogic practice, including postures, breath, relaxation, meditation, and lifestyle. It also includes a basic introduction to yoga philosophy. It provides two illustrated yoga sequences and over 400 photographs. It includes Asana sequences and poses organized by type of posture, which serves as a quick reference to specific body areas. Each section contains a series of poses organized by type of posture, which makes it easy to find what you need quickly.

30 Essential Yoga Poses by Judith Lasater

30 Essential Yoga Poses bookThis book is easy to follow, with each pose having about 4-5 pages of text and photos, plus suggestions for variations. The photos are large and clear and are accompanied by simple descriptions of correct alignment and proper breathing. She not only gives great information on the benefits of yoga postures but also includes recommendations for sequencing them within time constraints.

The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown

The Yoga Bible bookFeaturing over 170 postures, this book is a comprehensive resource for anyone looking to practice yoga. It includes detailed descriptions of each posture, including variations and modifications. She organized the book into sections based on body position (sitting, standing, etc.), and arranges the poses to flow together, making it easy to transition from one to another. Each asana is accompanied by clear photos and diagrams, which make it easier to understand what’s happening in each pose. One caveat—the small size and binding makes it difficult for the book to stay open.

Yoga for Beginners by Ansari and Lark

Yoga for Beginners bookThis book is perfect for anyone looking to start a home yoga routine. It covers everything you need to know about starting a home practice, including breathing exercises, stretching routines, and poses. You’ll find step-by-step instructions for each posture, along with helpful photographs and information on modifications, how long to hold the pose and a description of what each pose means and its benefit. There is a brief history of yoga as well as additional breathing and meditation practices. The spiral binding makes it easy to flip the pages and allows you easy access to the information laying flat or you can prop it up to view while you are practicing.

Yoga Class: 8 Essential Yoga Lessons for Beginners by Timothy Burgin

Yoga Class 8 Essential Yoga Lessons for Beginners bookThis beginner book is unique because it guides the yoga beginner through eight detailed lessons. Each lesson will start with the basic practice philosophy and focus on specific principles of alignment. You will practice the poses within a sequence that will grow and change as you progress through the lessons. The book begins with the history and philosophy of yoga, as well as general practice guidelines. As you progress through the lessons, you will learn about pranayama, meditation and mental focus, anatomy, alignment principles, the physical benefits, and eight yoga posture sequences.

Yoga: The Iyengar Way by Silva Mehta

Yoga The Iyengar Way bookThis is a lovely formatted book that has clear photographs and easy to read and follow instructions. The clear and concise explanations are accompanied by great photos showing correct holds of postures from various perspectives. The level of experience required to perform each posture is indicated by a diamond guide that indicates the degree of difficulty for each pose. Two great features in this book are showing the asana names in Devanagari, Sanskrit and English and the use of props to demonstrate proper alignment and technique. This book primarily focuses on the basic Iyengar yoga poses, but there is also a short section on pranayama in the back.

Hatha Yoga Illustrated by Kirk, Boon and DiTuro

Hatha Yoga Illustrated bookNearly 650 full-color photos illustrate 77 basic poses, demonstrating how to achieve proper alignment and form to ensure challenging yet safe practice. They show intermediate steps as well as gentle variations for those who may have difficulty achieving the full pose. One of the best features of this book is the alphabetical and the grouped-by-type indexes of the poses with pictures. This is a super easy way to explore and look up the poses by image, especially if you don’t know the name.

Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann

Yoga The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness bookThis detailed guidebook focuses more on the spiritual aspects of the practice using the poses and breathing exercises as a path to inner peace through yoga. This book offers easy-to follow techniques that help people find their own sense of peace and the beauty in everyday life. This book also includes meditations that help promote self realization, decrease stress, and increase creativity, as well as many poses and routines that help build strength, tone the body, and improve flexibility.

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5 responses to “The 8 Best Yoga Books for Beginners”

  1. Anjana Rathore Avatar
    Anjana Rathore

    This is an important subject.
    This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading and will definitely read the books.
    Thank you for your insights!

  2. Shout Avatar
    Shout

    For kids: a good book to start yoga with is This Moment is Your Life by Miriam Gates

  3. Rachelle Wrenn Avatar
    Rachelle Wrenn

    This list is pretty comprehensive. These books are very beginner friendly and offer lots of information without being overwhelming. I think it would be hard to find a better one than this.

  4. Sarah R. Avatar
    Sarah R.

    This list has some amazing books that are sure to help any beginner get into their practice. I have read most of these books and they were all very helpful. I would recommend starting off by reading “Yoga For Dummies” which covers basic anatomy, posture, alignment, breath work, etc. Once you feel comfortable with those basics, then move onto more advanced topics like postures, pranayama, philosophy, etc.

  5. Elizabeth Rose Avatar
    Elizabeth Rose

    I’m intrigued by “Yoga Class: 8 Essential Yoga Lessons for Beginners.” The idea of progressing through lessons with evolving sequences sounds like a fun and engaging way to learn. Thanks for sharing these amazing recommendations! I can’t wait to dive into these books and enhance my yoga practice.

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Timothy Burgin Avatar
About the author
Timothy Burgin is a Kripalu & Pranakriya trained yoga instructor living and teaching in Asheville, NC. Timothy has studied and taught many styles of yoga and has completed a 500-hour Advanced Pranakriya Yoga training. Timothy has been serving as the Executive Director of YogaBasics.com since 2000. He has authored two yoga books and has written over 500 articles on the practice and philosophy of yoga. Timothy is also the creator of Japa Mala Beads and has been designing and importing mala beads since 2004.
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