17+ Essential Books for Yoga Teachers – Book Riot

Being a yoga teacher is a privilege, an honor, and a tremendous responsibility. I find this to be especially important to remember as a white yoga teacher, as yoga is part of a culture I don’t belong to. It’s my duty to listen to those for whom yoga is their heritage and to cede the floor to their wisdom. I have and will continue to forever learn from those teachers, and part of that learning comes through deepening my understanding of and reading of books for yoga teachers.
Yoga has a complicated history, with origins stretching back more than 3,000 years in what is modern day India. There’ve been a number of influential leaders throughout the centuries, leading to teachers earning distinction as guru, whether or not it’s earned. Some are known abusers, having allowed their ego to step in front of the foundational practices and philosophies of yoga.
But emerging from these complex histories are fresh voices, reexamining the classics texts of yoga and presenting to teachers and students new, modern, and progressive ways in which the practice endures. Some of these books come from traditional publishers, but many come either from small presses, specialty presses, or are self-published; it should be of little surprise by now that many are by authors of color, reclaiming their space in yoga and needing to do so from the ground up.
A few years ago, I complied a collection of the best yoga books for beginners. Consider this list of the best books for yoga teachers to be the next step. Whether you’re a teacher or a student of yoga — and any teacher will tell you that you’re always a student, no matter what title you may attain — these books take on big, meaty topics in yoga. These are not asana-focused books, even though asana may emerge. Instead, they explore the philosophies, the history, and the modern contextualization of yoga.
It never ceases to amaze me that modern yoga influencers, primarily white ones, practice spiritual bypassing, pass conspiracy theories off as truth, decry science in favor of “natural” remedies, and believe that yoga is not political. The exact opposite is true on all counts: yoga demands we sit with our spiritual selves and beliefs and take action upon them. This is literally laid out in the Sutras, nestled right there in the yamas and niyamas (the restraints and actions we’re to take as individuals on our path to liberation). Yoga believes in science equally as much as more homeopathic methods of health and wellness, and it’s important to state that plainly, particularly during a pandemic where leaders within the community deny vaccinations. You don’t lack an understanding of Ahimsa more when you eschew a tool meant to protect others from harm because you have the privilege to do so.
Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility as yoga teachers to return to learning and self-reflection. We have the responsibility to turn that knowledge into action.
Most of these books are “yoga books.” But some of them are not. Combined, these books provide tools for expanding one’s ways of seeing the world, as well as participating in it, through yoga teachings. As one of my teachers said in each of his training modules, the more tools you have in your yoga belt, the better a teacher you become.
One of the most common refrains I hear from students is that they waited too long to come to a yoga class because they didn’t think anyone would look like them. The fact is, yoga studios and the yoga industry in the U.S. have made white, thin, able bodies the norm in marketing, putting off the vast majority of folks who don’t fit that mold. Heyman’s book is a look at poses, practices, and modifications intended to suit a wide range of bodies who deserve to practice yoga. Any yoga teacher worth their salt offering asana-based classes needs to be able to meet and work with any student walking through the door, and this book is a vital tool in helping reframe the ideas of what “correct” or “ideal” alignment and shapes are in practice.
Every yoga class should be trauma informed, especially in today’s world. Van Der Kolk’s now-classsic book on the ways our bodies hold onto trauma is a must read for understanding the role of trauma not just in the physical sheath, but also minds, brains, and emotions. This could unlock a lot of powerful insight when applied personally and though it’s not a yoga teacher’s job to be a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, having this knowledge in your back pocket helps you make the best choices with the best language while leading students in a class of any kind.
Any teacher who doesn’t believe they could offer an entire yoga class that does nothing but focus on breath (pranayama is a whole limb in and of itself!) will absolutely benefit from Nestor’s deep dive into the power of breathing — the same, of course, is true for those who weave breath work into each and every class they teach. Get to know the science of breathing and why it plays such a vital role in our lives, as well as the means in which it directly impacts our brains. This is readable science and would make a fantastic book recommendation for students, too, curious about how to incorporate more conscious breathing into their every day.
To be a teacher, you have to understand the roots and foundations of what you’re sharing, and Barkataki’s book is an essential tool. Get to know the deep wisdom and roots of yoga practice — most of which is outside of asana — and learn how to integrate ancient wisdom and insight into today’s modern practice. The book offers four key steps to ensure practitioners are honoring, as opposed to appropriating, the practice: Separation, Reflection, Reconnection, and Liberation.
Those, of course, are key to all of the limbs of yoga and the first two, yama and niyama, in particular.
Based on Toltec wisdom, Ruiz’s book is a classic within many yoga circles for a reason. The book dives into four rules for helping discover personal liberation and freedom from limiting beliefs.
I’m not someone who believes we can manifest our way to liberation, but Ruiz’s book manages to offer practical ways to reframe thinking that don’t bypass the work needed to implement change. The applicable skills here can be easily thread into an asana class, especially through questions asked to students in long holds or challenging ones.
Living Your Yoga is a crucial reminder that yoga doesn’t just happen on the mat, in downward dog, or in headstand. It happens off the mat, when you’re faced with your life head-on. Pulling from the Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, the book offers insight from the ancient texts and offers ideas for how to apply them in daily life.
Blending eastern wisdom with western life, Wijeyakumar developed a renowned meditation program for Hoag Hospital in California. This book puts what she did into practice for everyday use, offering a wide range of short meditations across a wide range of needs like heart opening, truth, chakra balancing, and more. Too often, teachers can forget the power of skipping a sequence and instead, sitting and leading a meditation with students. Use five minutes to ground, energize, and bring life to your classes — and your own personal practice.
Patel and Parikh created one of the most important yoga podcasts out there, Yoga Is Dead. These two have written their first ebook together — available through their website — digging into the history of the women behind yoga. Forget the whitewashed history of yoga in the west. Pick up this one and learn about the foremothers who you likely would otherwise miss out on.
You do not need to teach or be educated in the Baptiste style to get a lot of insight, wisdom, and inspiration from this book. A bold and empowering book, this will take you from the physical and mental postures we practice into deeply transformative work that applies on the mat and once you or students depart. What makes Baptiste’s book worthwhile is how it invites you to begin right where you are, and as a teacher, you can implement the thoughts and insights offered in the book immediately. The point is to start right where you are and live into your own truth and power from that perfectly imperfect place. I’ve pulled a number of great lines from this one as ways to open and close my classes.
What does it mean to be on the yoga path and what does that path look like once you break free of the performance of yoga? 
I’ve had the privilege of taking a few of Little’s workshops, and he has been teacher to a few of my own teachers. His work on the subtle body is crucial for teachers, as is this book, which is a reflection on what yoga looks like over the course of a lifetime. Too often, we’re pushing harder, faster, and more, but Little emphasizes that there’s so much to be learned and discovered when you slow down and hit pause and invite spontaneity.
Yoga is radical, and coming to the practice on and off the mat with the goal of liberation should be a teacher’s dharma. This vital read is a look at how white supremacy has woven into spiritual practices like yoga and offers actionable steps to avoid appropriation and engage in activism.
What made yoga become what it is in the west as a commodified athletic endeavor? Certainly, not all lineages or teachers prescribe to that line of thinking, but it does pervade the culture and impact how teachers and students perceive “yoga.” Jain’s academic text digs deep into the roots of yoga and how it went from being a practice beyond culture to one that has become situated in popular conscious. This is a solid pick for those who want to know more about the lineages of yoga popular in the West and how they came to be.
One of the most important lessons in my 500-hour training was on boundary work, and while learning to set and maintain boundaries is life-long, it’s a skill set essential to teaching yoga. It’s far too easy to burn out, to find yourself feeling like you’re stale, and to forget that the practice means you, too, need to fill your own cup up, rather than continuing to give.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace is a practical tool for developing boundaries, rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy. The work you do to build boundaries will have a powerful effect on students, too, as they learn where and how they need to find their peace through them.
When this book came out in 2010, it was seen as potentially controversial for aligning modern asana practice not with yoga’s roots in India, but rather, European and American bodybuilding and gymnastics. At least in the places I’ve been, this isn’t controversial — we discuss regularly how the lithe, adolescent, white male body was the template from which modern postures emerged.
Singleton’s book offers a look at the origins of contemporary asana in a way that’s crucial for yoga teachers to understand. This book explores the whiteness brought to the postures, alongside the ableist mentalities associated with doing the post “right.”
Until I taught chair yoga, I hadn’t realized just how many poses are wildly adaptable to every single body. Bondy’s book is a guide for teachers who want to be as inclusive as possible of all body types and abilities in their physical classes. Teachers who can only teach to their own body type aren’t effective, but the tools to expand the possibilities exist in books like this one.
A bonus recommendation here: if you want to discover how many incredible ways you can incorporate a chair into your teaching or practice — chair focused class or not — you’ll do well with A Chair for Yoga by Dr. Eyal Shifroni.
Yoga is action. This is a look at the yamas and how they intertwine with being not just a better human, but part of a global world that is entirely one and whole. The practice of yoga isn’t about fitness or about hitting that cool pose. It’s about finding stillness and wholeness within, so that we’re all better prepared to do good for the world, coming from a place of non-attachment, non-greed, non-theft, and energy control. The examples here are extremely easy to connect with and make it clear that living a yogic life isn’t a passive one. It’s also not about transcendence. It’s about radical presence and understanding ecology and our role within it.
Reading this book made me realize how quick I am to judge the teachers and students I see obsessing over hitting a handstand or setting “goals” related to their physical movements. Perhaps, for them, this is how they find that enlightenment that I find far more through breath and meditation. Who am I to judge that?
Stanley’s book is approachable, and it’s one to have on hand not only for yourself but for students curious about going deeper in their practice. Essays span cultural appropriation, fatness, colonization and capitalism, and so much more. They’re explored through the lenses of the yoga sutras, and Stanley offers outstanding explanations for why sitting back and practicing ~good vibes only~ is bullshit.
If sitting in discomfort is something you teach to students, this book will certainly put you right there to practice, too.
Want more books for teaching yoga? These seven books should be on your yoga books shelf. I also highly recommend getting to know some fat yoga teachers who offer classes and trainings online, as they will not only help you develop more skills in teaching a wide range of bodies, but they will lead you to even more outstanding online yogis — especially from the global majority — adding even more opportunities to learn.

source

125 thoughts on “17+ Essential Books for Yoga Teachers – Book Riot”

  1. Whats Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads. I’m hoping to contribute & assist other users like its aided me. Good job.

    Reply
  2. I intended to put you one little remark so as to thank you very much once again considering the spectacular ideas you’ve shown on this page. It was so extremely open-handed with people like you to make publicly all that most of us could possibly have advertised for an e book to help with making some money for themselves, certainly since you could possibly have done it in the event you wanted. These good tips also worked as the great way to comprehend other individuals have a similar interest just as mine to realize whole lot more with regards to this issue. I am sure there are several more pleasurable instances up front for many who look into your blog post.

    Reply
  3. It’s perfect time to make a few plans for the longer term and it’s time to be happy. I have read this publish and if I may I wish to recommend you few interesting issues or advice. Maybe you can write subsequent articles regarding this article. I desire to read more things about it!

    Reply
  4. I have been browsing online more than 3 hours these days, yet I never found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s beautiful price enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the web can be much more helpful than ever before.

    Reply
  5. After research a few of the weblog posts on your web site now, and I really like your approach of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website checklist and will be checking again soon. Pls check out my web page as nicely and let me know what you think.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such wonderful info being shared freely out there.

    Reply
  7. You can definitely see your skills in the paintings you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart. “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” by Napoleon.

    Reply
  8. Great – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task..

    Reply
  9. I keep listening to the reports lecture about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the top site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i get some?

    Reply
  10. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thank you

    Reply
  11. The following time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I do know it was my option to learn, however I truly thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you possibly can fix if you happen to werent too busy searching for attention.

    Reply
  12. Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness on your publish is simply great and i can suppose you’re knowledgeable on this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to clutch your RSS feed to keep updated with impending post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

    Reply
  13. Good site! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

    Reply
  14. I’ve recently started a blog, the information you offer on this website has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work. “Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.” by Marcus Tullius Cicero.

    Reply
  15. The subsequent time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I do know it was my option to read, but I truly thought youd have something attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you might fix in the event you werent too busy searching for attention.

    Reply
  16. Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your web-site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you?¦ve on this site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched all over the place and just couldn’t come across. What a perfect site.

    Reply
  17. Hey there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  18. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; we have created some nice practices and we are looking to swap solutions with others, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

    Reply
  19. you are truly a excellent webmaster. The site loading velocity is incredible. It seems that you are doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you’ve performed a wonderful job on this matter!

    Reply
  20. I’ve been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

    Reply
  21. A formidable share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing somewhat evaluation on this. And he actually purchased me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If doable, as you turn out to be expertise, would you thoughts updating your weblog with more particulars? It’s extremely helpful for me. Massive thumb up for this weblog submit!

    Reply
  22. I definitely wanted to compose a brief note to appreciate you for all of the precious ways you are showing on this website. My considerable internet investigation has now been compensated with extremely good facts and strategies to exchange with my neighbours. I would state that that many of us website visitors actually are extremely fortunate to be in a perfect place with very many special professionals with helpful methods. I feel very much privileged to have seen the webpages and look forward to many more awesome moments reading here. Thanks a lot once again for all the details.

    Reply
  23. My spouse and i got peaceful Peter could finish off his researching using the ideas he discovered from your very own web page. It’s not at all simplistic to simply always be handing out information and facts that a number of people have been trying to sell. And we all consider we have got the website owner to give thanks to because of that. Most of the explanations you made, the simple site menu, the friendships you can help to create – it’s everything awesome, and it’s really making our son and the family reckon that this concept is entertaining, and that’s extraordinarily mandatory. Thanks for everything!

    Reply
  24. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch! “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.” by Sir Arthur Eddington.

    Reply
  25. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re amazing! Thanks!

    Reply
  26. Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for newbie blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    Reply
  27. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This publish truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

    Reply
  28. I like what you guys are up too. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website 🙂

    Reply
  29. I do agree with all of the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for newbies. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  30. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your blog. You have some really great posts and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested. Regards!

    Reply
  31. Thank you a lot for providing individuals with an extremely nice opportunity to discover important secrets from here. It’s always so ideal plus stuffed with fun for me and my office mates to search the blog the equivalent of three times a week to read the newest guides you have got. And lastly, I am just actually happy considering the striking tips and hints served by you. Certain 1 areas in this post are basically the simplest we have ever had.

    Reply
  32. What i do not understood is actually how you are now not actually much more well-favored than you might be now. You are so intelligent. You recognize therefore significantly when it comes to this matter, produced me in my view imagine it from a lot of various angles. Its like men and women aren’t fascinated except it’s something to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs nice. Always care for it up!

    Reply
  33. I like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my site :).

    Reply
  34. Can I simply say what a reduction to search out someone who actually is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know how to carry a difficulty to light and make it important. More people need to learn this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant believe youre no more fashionable because you undoubtedly have the gift.

    Reply
  35. A person essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular publish incredible. Fantastic job!

    Reply
  36. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

    Reply
  37. I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

    Reply
  38. You really make it seem really easy with your presentation however I to find this matter to be actually one thing that I believe I’d never understand. It seems too complicated and very extensive for me. I’m looking ahead in your subsequent submit, I?¦ll try to get the hang of it!

    Reply
  39. Great blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused .. Any ideas? Kudos!

    Reply
  40. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

    Reply
  41. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, excellent blog!

    Reply
  42. What¦s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively useful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid other users like its helped me. Good job.

    Reply
  43. My brother recommended I would possibly like this web site. He used to be totally right. This put up actually made my day. You cann’t believe just how much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

    Reply
  44. I discovered your blog site on google and check a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the very good operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading more from you later on!…

    Reply
  45. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

    Reply
  46. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  47. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

    Reply
  48. A lot of thanks for each of your work on this site. Debby takes pleasure in going through internet research and it is easy to see why. A lot of people hear all regarding the powerful means you present efficient ideas by means of your blog and as well as improve response from other people on this situation plus our daughter is actually becoming educated a great deal. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. You’re carrying out a great job.

    Reply
  49. Aw, this was a really nice post. In thought I would like to put in writing like this moreover – taking time and precise effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means appear to get something done.

    Reply
  50. There are actually a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That may be a great point to convey up. I provide the thoughts above as normal inspiration however clearly there are questions like the one you bring up the place the most important factor shall be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if finest practices have emerged around things like that, however I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Each boys and girls feel the impression of only a second’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

    Reply
  51. I happen to be writing to make you know of the wonderful encounter our daughter developed studying your web page. She came to find a good number of pieces, not to mention what it is like to possess an awesome teaching nature to make the others smoothly learn about various impossible subject areas. You really did more than my expectations. Many thanks for producing the useful, dependable, revealing and also easy thoughts on the topic to Evelyn.

    Reply
  52. hello there and thank you for your information – I’ve definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this website, since I experienced to reload the web site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective interesting content. Ensure that you update this again soon..

    Reply
  53. I have been surfing online more than three hours these days, but I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It¦s pretty value enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content as you probably did, the net can be much more helpful than ever before.

    Reply

Leave a Comment