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Top 10 Yoga Books of 2020 | Video Review

This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Whether you use it for meditative purposes, general fitness, or to build strength, yoga can be a healthy addition to any daily regimen. Our selection of books on the topic will help you improve your knowledge and technique, understand the science behind the art, and are written for a variety of audiences, from first-timers to those aiming to try their hand as instructors. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best yoga book on Amazon.

10. Yoga for Everyone

Yoga for Everyone (appx. $14) clearly showcases modified versions of 50 popular poses to cater to practitioners of every ilk, including those who are disabled, pregnant, and elderly. This makes it a solid resource for teachers who have diverse classes, too.

  • Ideal for newbies
  • Uplifting personal stories
  • Lacks in-depth explanations

9. Hatha Yoga Illustrated

Hatha Yoga Illustrated is filled with color photos that show you how to properly practice the most popular form of the discipline. If you’ve struggled with doubts as to whether you’re doing the poses correctly, this book will put those fears to rest.

  • Fitness-based pose variations
  • Includes anusara and bikram styles
  • Minimal info on creating a full flow

8. Yoga Anatomy

Yoga Anatomy (appx. $14) is arranged into 11 chapters dealing with different parts of the body, giving you a complete education on your physique’s reaction to the art. It has a lot of in-depth info and full-color anatomical illustrations to help you understand the underlying science.

  • Will quickly improve your skills
  • Muscle index for reference
  • Some may find writing too technical

7. The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga

The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga (about $14) is a perfect option for those looking to learn about this specific art, a variation that focuses more on the meditation behind the discipline. It goes into great detail on how to do each pose correctly, which gives the reader confidence.

  • Delves deep into philosophy
  • Explores the physiological benefits
  • Can be challenging for beginners

6. Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques

If you’ve ever wanted to lead a class, Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques (appx. $17) allows you to test yourself against the curriculum standards set by the Yoga Alliance. It demonstrates a wide spectrum of perspectives, making it great for students as well.

  • Covers classic yoga literature
  • Includes history of styles
  • Contains a helpful appendix

5. Meditations from the Mat

Meditations from the Mat (appx. $10) offers 365 daily reflections to help you engage in mindfulness in everyday situations. It’s a great way to start your day on a positive note, wind down at night before going to bed, or add a deeper level to your practice.

  • Approachable writing style
  • Short easy-to-digest entries
  • Provides inspiration for instructors

4. The Key Muscles of Yoga

The Key Muscles of Yoga (around $22) shows you exactly what happens in your tendons and sinews during a Hatha session. Using vivid illustrations, it demonstrates the powerful effect that a daily practice can have on the body — which will encourage you to keep doing it.

  • Suitable for all experience levels
  • Great for physical therapy students
  • Breaks down complex concepts

3. Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual

Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual (about $16) contains the entire primary and intermediate series of the art in a spiral-bound book that stays open when you practice. If you want a text that’s easy to reference during a session without breaking poses, this is a good choice.

  • 3 options for every asana
  • Insightful commentary
  • Very user-friendly format

2. Science of Yoga

Those looking for detailed information on the facts behind how the practice benefits the body should consider Science of Yoga (appx. $15). This visually-appealing volume uses recent research to back up what were once anecdotal claims with the help of colorful illustrations.

  • Clarifying q and a section
  • Drawings are well-annotated
  • Examines a variety of bodily systems

1. 2,100 Asanas

2,100 Asanas (appx. $24) will teach you a huge variety of poses, each one demonstrated by a yogi model with modifications for different skill levels. With its color photographs and clean, simple layout, it’s just as beautiful as it is informative.

  • Very well-organized
  • English and sanskrit names
  • Color-coded chakra labels

Special Honors

Glo App Designed to help users feel better physically and mentally, Glo is an app that provides unlimited access to over 4,000 online yoga, meditation, and pilates classes led by world-class teachers. The sleek design is easy to navigate and suggests classes for you to try based on a questionnaire you fill out. You can also use their filters to make selections based on your fitness level, desired duration, the body part you’re targeting, and more.

ClassPass If you’ve picked up a yoga book and are interested in trying out what you’ve learned at a studio, you might want to look into ClassPass. ClassPass Inc. is a company that provides access to different fitness classes such as yoga, strength training, barre, martial arts, pilates, boxing, indoor cycling, and more via a flat-rate monthly subscription service. You sign up, choose your activity, and book through the app, which also makes recommendations for you.

Editor’s Notes

April 16, 2020:

We curated this list with a wide range of yogis in mind, from the aspiring teacher and unsure beginner to the science-minded practitioner. We wanted to strike a balance between useful, practical instruction and clarification, uplifting spiritual guidance, and facts-based research so that our selection has something for everyone.

Today’s update saw the addition of and . The first is an extremely accessible text that shows the myriad ways a pose can be altered to suit individual needs, whether you are big, small, young, old, pregnant, or disabled. It uses models with a variety of backgrounds and physical attributes to clearly showcase how 50 popular poses can be attained. In addition to that, it has information regarding breathing techniques and what equipment like and are for. It explains each pose very well, but be aware that it doesn’t get into extreme detail on every aspect of each one.

is for all the practitioners out there who want tangible proof on how the art can help physically and mentally. It breaks down, in great detail, how yoga benefits the body using up to date research. Things people have been claiming for years — that it helps with arthritis, prevents age-related brain changes, reduces inflammation, lowers blood pressure, etc — are backed up with clearly presented facts. and are also excellent picks if you want to know more about the physical side of things.

We also brought up to date by adding the recently revised edition of the text. It now includes a more functional approach to the practice by emphasizing the concept of targeted areas and the importance of stress in reducing fragility, as well as a revised list of effective counter postures and many new photographs, to name a few enhancements.

A Brief History Of Yoga

Yoga may have been practiced as much as 3,500 years ago, as it seems to be mentioned in the sacred Hindu text known as the Rigveda which dates to approximately 1400 BCE.

If you and your friends enthusiastically frequent the newest “Hot Yoga” studio, then indeed you are practicing a form of yoga that is itself rather new. , a common term for what is more specifically known as Bikram Yoga, is a practice created in the 1970s by world famous yogi Bikram Choudry.

The practice consists of a series of 26 yoga postures (or positions) and breathing exercises all conducted in a space heated to approximately 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperatures associated with Hot Yoga are intended to facilitate greater flexibility, increased calorie burning, and, with long term commitment to the practice, reduced body fat and increased strength.

Many experts warn that some of the benefits associated with Hot Yoga may be limited at best, and that the practice can lead to dehydration and hyperthermia, both of which are conditions to be avoided whenever possible. Few people, however, question the many benefits of practicing traditional yoga, which is more traditionally known as Hatha Yoga, a practice that dates back thousands of years. Yoga may have been practiced as much as 3,500 years ago, as it seems to be mentioned in the sacred Hindu text known as the Rigveda which dates to approximately 1400 BCE.

The practice of yoga can be definitely linked to various practitioners alive during the 5th and 6th Centuries BCE, with mentions and illustrations of yoga located across much of present day India. Yoga remained largely an Indian (and Hindu) pursuit for much of the Common Era, with its practice only making inroads in Western society around the turn of the last century. Throughout the 20th Century yoga slowly grew in popularity in America, and in the last few decades of that century it caught on globally, both as a part of a fitness regimen and as a spiritual practice.

The word itself, yoga, is interpreted in many ways. It can be taken to mean everything from “to unite” or “exertion” or “combined.” Regardless of the etymological specificities, which are blurred by time and by individual interpretation anyway, yoga is more popular today than at any point during its millennia of history. Those interested in practicing yoga or in studying its influences and its influence have at their disposal a wealth of source material, with more yoga books joining the panoply each and every year.

Yoga As Part Of A Fitness Routine

If you are interested in learning about and participating in yoga as part of a fitness regimen, then your study should involve both the positions and practices associated with yoga as well as a study of human anatomy. By blending a scientific approach to understanding the physiology of the body and the movements and exertions you will experience in yoga, you can craft a holistic approach to exercise.

Yoga can help build long, lean muscles, and it can do wonders for flexibility.

Yoga can help build long, lean muscles, and it can do wonders for flexibility. It cannot greatly increase your strength or build developed (e.g. “cut”) muscles associated with lifting, however, and yoga can only do so much in terms of cardiovascular fitness development. (For the record, weightlifting will do little to improve flexibility, and might even limit it.)

A savvy athlete will use the practice of yoga to help maintain a flexible body and to strengthen his or her core. They will also use traditional strength training exercises, such as weight lifting, resistance training, and/or calisthenics, to develop specific muscle groups. Other cardiovascular training routines should also be a requisite for the dedicated fitness enthusiast, as yoga simply can’t help someone achieve the same consistently elevated heart rate that jogging, cycling, rowing, or other activities provide.

The more a fitness enthusiast reads about yoga, the better he or she can fit its practice into a wider exercise routine. And keep in mind that while many people associate yoga with its spiritual aspects, there is no need to approach the practice as anything more than a physical activity if you so wish it. The of limberness and flexibility are without question, even if you question your need for added mind-body and emotional connection.

Practicing Yoga For Mental And Spiritual Balance

Beyond the physical aspects of yoga — the balance it requires and helps to develop, the core strength it refines, and the flexibility its long term practice leads too — there is a potent emotional and spiritual side to the committed practice of yoga. If you’re not sure yoga will suit you, or if you are struggling to make a deeper connection to this ancient discipline after your first forays, reading the right yoga book might be a great way to foster one.

Even practicing yoga without mastery can have its benefits, as it forces the mind to reorient itself to a new set of challenges and goals.

Some people treat yoga as a meditative experience, losing themselves in the practice and even melding aspects of Zen Buddhism (or other religious prayers or practices) with their yoga routine. Regardless of the depths to which you choose to associate yoga with emotional or spiritual introspection, the mere act of taking time to work on a discipline that inherently requires patience and devotion can have a markedly beneficial improvement on one’s life.

Practicing and mastering yoga can help someone who may feel as though they are floundering in one aspect of their life find a renewed sense of . Even practicing yoga without mastery can have its benefits, as it forces the mind to reorient itself to a new set of challenges and goals.

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