Stuck at home? Get qualified as a personal trainer onlineSign up to our online courses
Blog

13 Best Yoga Books to Read This Year (2020)

best yoga books banner image

Finding the best yoga books to read in 2020 is incredibly difficult, especially since there are so many available on the market.

That’s why OriGym has put together the ultimate list of yoga books, so that you’re only choosing from the best out there! 

Before we jump straight in, there is something you should know; we didn’t just throw together our list with the first books that we could find, like most other articles do. 

We took some time to research the market, and discover the most popular books across each of the main platforms here in the UK so that you have a better idea of what you’re about to read. Here’s a quick insight into our research:

  • We searched through 4,294 books (Waterstones), 350 books (WHSmith), and 50,000+ books (Amazon)
  • Only 13 books made it into our definitive list 
  • There is one book that landed itself as the overall winner, as it ranked consistently across each platform and stood out for its fantastic reviews (listed at the bottom of this article) 

Hopefully this information re-assures you, and you can select your next read with confidence… so let’s get started!

OR, if you happen to be interested in kick-starting your career in fitness, go check out our Online Personal Trainer Certification or download our free prospectus before you carry on reading.

In no particular order… 

Join 1000s of other Fitness and Health enthusiasts and get updates packed with career advice, nutrition tips, product reviews and more

#1 - Yoga: A Manual for Life (by Naomi Annand) 

best yoga books image

In Yoga: A Manual for Life, Naomi Annand does so much more than introduce readers to the basic practice of yoga.

The clue is in the name, and we can safely say that this book works as a guide to a better life through the practice of yoga. It focuses strongly on the mindfulness that can be achieved through the ancient practice, that is sometimes overlooked by modern methods. 

To give you some background on the author, Naomi Annand is a former Royal Ballet company dancer since her career came to an unfortunate end due to injury. This drastic change to her life is what led her to start practising yoga, not only to repair her body, but also to soothe her mind.

After having to let go of something that she had worked towards since she was twelve years old, this is completely understandable! 

Annand set up her own studio in 2012, based in Dalston and named ‘Yoga on the Lane’, so you can rest-assured that this book has been written by someone with plenty of experience in yoga itself. It could be considered one of the best books for yoga teachers, especially those that are new to the game and are looking for some inspiration before developing their own style. 

All in all, if you’re looking for a book that will encourage you to build on your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health, then Yoga: A Manual for Life should be one of your first choices. 

Not only does it contain an array of yoga poses aimed at beginners, all the way through to advanced yogis, but it includes plenty of guidance on how to tackle anxiety and insomnia, and how to to generally improve your life whilst living in the busy 21st century. 

Even Harper’s Bazaar dubbed the book ‘beautiful’, ‘succinct’, and ‘full of imaginative sentences’, which is probably one of the biggest recommendations a book could receive!

Available at: Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon

Published: 2019 (Bloomsbury Sport)

Ratings on Amazon: 5 stars

Price: £20.00 (Waterstones), £16.00 (WHSmith), £14.99 (Amazon) 

#2 - Yoga: Relaxation, Postures, Daily Routines (by Charmaine Yabsley & David Smith)

books on yoga

This is no doubt one of the best yoga books for beginners, thanks to the introduction that it gives to each of the main yoga traditions, starting with the ancient discipline that began in India over 5,000 years ago.   

It includes practical photography in a step-by-step format, meaning that following this book as an inexperienced yogi is easier than ever, as you don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed by the more advanced poses. Even when you do decide to try them, you’ll be able to do so with confidence! 

Charmaine Yabsley has authored seven other health related books alongside Yoga: Relaxation, Postures, Daily Routines, and is a successful freelance journalist, specializing in health and wellbeing. 

Her co-author David Smith is the editor of the best-selling yoga magazine here in the UK, known as OM Yoga & Lifestyle, which certainly qualifies him to put together a holistic guide to yoga alongside Yabsley. 

 

Enquire about our Level 4 Nutrition for Sport Course

Kick-start your career in nutrition by enquiring today! 

The layout is fantastic, the information is nicely broken down for anyone who is new to the practice, and the information given is accurate and intriguing throughout. 

Available at: Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon

Published: 2017 (Flame Tree Publishing)

Ratings on Amazon: 4.6 stars

Price: £9.99 (Waterstones), £8.19 (WHSmith), £8.19 (Amazon) 

#3 - Wisdom of Insecurity (by Alan Watts) 

best books on yoga image

It may have been 69 years since the 1st edition of this book was published, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less relevant to the practice of yoga today. 

If you didn’t already know, Alan Watts was a famous writer who had over 25 books published during his lifetime, all centred around philosophy and religion. He is best known for boosting the popularity of Buddhism and Hinduism in the West, and was particularly absorbed in Zen Buddhism. 

Armed with this information, it’s easy to see how Watts’ work is intriguing to many yogis across the globe. He was deemed an expert in the spiritual side of yoga, thanks to the fact that he was highly educated with a master’s degree in theology, rather than being ‘all talk’ like many of the other individuals who were associated with the hippie counterculture at the time. 

His 1957 book named The Way of Zen turned out to be one of the first bestselling Buddhism books in the West, which is impressive to say the least! 

While Wisdom of Insecurity may not appear to be directly related to the practice of yoga, the message that it carries about spiritual and psychological certainty is rivalled by no other books on the topic. 

If you’re looking for one of the best books on yoga and meditation, this should definitely be your go-to read. If its summary isn’t enough to draw you in at first, you should know that its reputation speaks volumes, and is enough on its own to encourage any yogi to pick it up. 

Available at: Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon

Published: 1951 (Pantheon Books)

Ratings on Amazon: 4.6 stars 

Price: £11.95 (Waterstones), £8.19 (WHSmith), £7.72 (Amazon) 

#4 - Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice (by Mark Singleton)

yoga books free download

Ever wondered how yoga rose to popularity in the modern world, and became so prevalent in pop culture? 

Let’s face it; for every photo of coffee that we scroll past on Instagram, there’s a celebrity posting a shot of themself meditating in a tropical location, with the hashtag #namaste. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how yoga became the biggest fitness craze to hit the globe, and has sustained this title for decades, you should definitely read Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice. 

The author is Mark Singleton (PhD), who is a Senior Research Fellow at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), and who works with the Hatha Yoga Project which is funded by the European Research Council. 

He has structured the book in the form of an academic study on the history of modern yoga, and how it has become what it is today. He focuses on the history of Hatha yoga in particular, and on the practice of asanas, which are becoming increasingly popular. 

The #asana hashtag on Instagram has over 4.2M posts to give you an insight into this, and if you’re interested in seeing more evidence of how popular yoga is on social media, you should definitely look at our yoga hashtags for Instagram and Twitter guide. We also explain how to use the hashtags for growth on each of the platforms, in case you happen to run a yoga Instagram account yourself! 

Yoga Body has 92% positive reviews on Amazon, and is frequently reviewed by instructors on the platform, perhaps making it one of the best yoga books for yoga teachers in terms of the depth of the information. 

Available at: Waterstones, Amazon

Published: 2010 (Oxford University Press)

Ratings on Amazon: 4.4 stars

Price: £12.99 (Waterstones), £11.99 (Amazon) 

#5 - Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses (by Claire Dederer)

best yoga books for beginners

Are you a fan of memoirs? If so, this book will be right up your street. 

We couldn’t put together a list of the best yoga books on the market without including something for everyone. We’ve even included a couple of yoga books for kids lower down in the article, so you can rest-assured that you’ll find something that’s a perfect fit here if you haven’t already! 

Claire Dederer is the author of this best-selling book that happens to be written in the style of a memoir. Her own yoga journey began a decade ago when she put her back out while breastfeeding her daughter, and was looking for something to ease her pain. 

She was told by multiple people that she came across to try yoga, but was skeptical at first, as she associated it with the new wave of people who ‘only buy organic foods’ etc., but she fell in love with the practice as soon as she gave it a try. 

The books follows Dederer’s journey with yoga, and how it allowed her to ‘discover that being joyful is sometimes more important than being good.’ It’s funny, honest, and incredibly truthful throughout, and will make you want to give yoga a try if you haven’t already. 

It encourages you to look at yoga in a new light, and see it as something other than an Instagram trend to follow. The book has 87% positive reviews on Amazon, and is frequently praised for its open and honest approach. 

Available at: Amazon

Published: 2011 (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Ratings on Amazon: 4.2 stars

Price: £1.09 (Amazon) 

#6 - Sensory-Enhanced Yoga for Self-regulation and Trauma Healing (by Lynn Stoller)

books on yoga and meditation image

Slightly different from the books that we’ve covered so far is Sensory-Enhanced Yoga for Self-regulation and Trauma Healing by Lynn Stoller, which is largely focused on yoga as a form of psychological therapy. 

Within the book, Stoller herself writes:

The model is informed by the highly successful yoga treatment protocol used with U.S. military personnel deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq, which the author co-developed.

Clearly, this form of yoga has been proven successful through extensive research, and the fact that it has been tested on those who are working within an environment where conditions like PTSD and severe anxiety are extremely likely to occur. 

While it explores a pretty niche area of yoga rather than taking a holistic approach, this book could certainly be classed as one of the best books on yoga and meditation for those who are looking to use yoga as a tool to improve their own mental health and wellbeing. 

Lynn Stoller is actually the founder of the Sensory-Enhanced Yoga® Institute, which is an organization that focuses on using yoga as a means to improve the mental health conditions of those suffering from extreme stress. 

They spread awareness of Sensory-Enhanced Yoga® to yoga instructors, therapists, health and fitness professionals, etc. so that their practice can be made accessible to those who would benefit from it. It is in itself a fusion of yoga and occupational therapy practices, which stands it apart from other yoga styles. 

If you’re a yoga teacher looking to learn more about the types of professional development available to you, you’ll be glad to know that this book will give you a deeper insight into how yoga can be used as a form of therapy, and may even aid you in pointing clients suffering from these conditions in the right direction! 

Available at: WHSmith, Amazon

Published: 2019 (Handspring Publishing Limited)

Price: £31.50 (WHSmith), £31.50 (Amazon) 

#7 - Yogabody: Anatomy, Kinesiology, and Asana (by P.T. Judith Hanson Lasater) 

hatha yoga books

Yogabody: Anatomy, Kinesiology, and Asana by Judith Hanson Lasater (Ph.D, Physical Therapist) is centred around the ‘dynamic movement of asana’. 

It provides the reader with a brilliant understanding of this by delving into anatomy and physiology before it explains the practice of yoga itself. 

The book is divided into five chronological sections that follow:

  • The locomotor system 
  • The vertebral column
  • The lower extremity 
  • The trunk
  • The upper extremity 

It contains helpful illustrations and charts, meaning that the information is sometimes displayed in a visual way rather than in a huge block of text, which can be extremely off-putting for some when reading about heavily scientific topics. 

To give you some background information on the author, Lasater has been teaching yoga internationally since 1971, which gives her almost 50 years of experience in the industry. You’d struggle to find someone more qualified to write about the practice of yoga, especially since Lasater holds a Ph.D in East-West Psychology! 

The book has 90% positive reviews on Amazon, and is often referred to as a good choice out of all of the books for yoga teachers on the platform, especially those looking to learn more about the science behind asana. 

Available at: Waterstones, Amazon

Published: 2009 (Rodmell Press)

Ratings on Amazon: 4.7 stars

Price: £25.00 (Waterstones), £22.43 (Amazon) 

#8  - Basic Yoga for Improving Flexibility: Yoga Flexibility and Strength Sequences (by Aventuras de Viaje)

yoga spirituality books

Moving on to a book that targets a specific niche, let’s take a look at Basic Yoga for Improving Flexibility: Yoga Flexibility and Strength Sequences. If your main goal for stepping into the practice of yoga is to improve your flexibility, then this is certainly the book for you! 

There are many benefits that come along with improving your flexibility, the main ones being that it can improve your performance in competitive sports, allow you to build more strength and stability through other exercise methods, and increase your overall range of motion. 

Having a greater range of motion is not only good for your health, but it can aid you in avoiding injuries that are easily sustained through everyday activities by people with a limited range of motion. 

In the book, Viaje outlines multiple aspects of yoga that allow those who practice it to improve their flexibility and strength alongside it. There are over 65 yoga poses illustrated throughout, accompanied by clear instructions on how to follow them, as well as safety information on when to practice or avoid certain poses that have the potential to be risky. 

There are also some free bonus resources included with each purchase, such as:

  • A daily health and fitness cheat sheet 
  • 5 mindful meditations to follow alongside yoga poses 
  • 16 principles of self-defense 

Available at: Waterstones, Amazon

Published: 2019 (Survival Fitness Plan)

Price: £9.99 (Waterstones), £8.99 (Amazon) 

#9 - 2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses (by Daniel Lacerda)

best yoga books for home practice

We’ve mentioned asanas a few times already in this article, and for good reason; there’s no doubt that they’re one of the most popular and widely used methods of modern yoga. 

Luckily for all of us, Daniel Lacerda has put together an ultimate catalogue of 2,100 asanas, and I think that we can all agree that we won’t be growing tired of practising yoga anytime soon whilst we’re armed with this book! 

It is described by Waterstones as ‘a gorgeous work of art, showcasing the beauty and athleticism of the human form’. We can vouch for this statement, as it’s true that the book focuses on visual aspects rather than bombarding the reader with unnecessary chunks of text, which would be out of place in a book of its kind. 

The book is aesthetically pleasing, with a fresh and modern theme evident in each of the photographs; it’s impossible not to find inspiration on every page. One glance will make you want to work at becoming an expert yogi, which is the sort of feeling that we were hoping to find when putting together our list of the best yoga books. 

Ever felt overfaced by other books of this kind, and wondered, how on earth am I going to read through 2,100 different poses? 

If that’s the case, you can rest-assured that this book won’t give you that feeling. It’s separated into 8 different sections, meaning that you can dip in and out of it whenever you please. These are:

  • Standing poses
  • Seated poses
  • Core poses
  • Quadruped poses
  • Backbends
  • Inversions 
  • Prone poses
  • Supine poses 

With this neat organisation, you’re able to put together an endless combination of different yoga poses and craft your own yoga routines, that are tailored to your personal fitness needs. 

2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses has 92% positive reviews on Amazon, which proves just how popular it has been with readers so far. If you’re looking for one of the best yoga books to read in terms of it being simple, refreshing, and overtly positive, then this is the book for you! 

Available at: Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon

Published: 2015 (Black Dog & Leventhal)

Ratings on Amazon: 4.5 stars

Price: £26.99 (Waterstones), £21.59 (WHSmith), £20.99 (Amazon) 

#10 - Yoga Whale: Simple Poses for Little Ones (by Sarah Jane Hinder)

books on yoga

As this is the ultimate collection of yoga books to read in 2020, we wanted to make it as well-rounded as possible. This is why we’ve included the best yoga books for kids as part of our list! 

Yoga Whale: Simple Poses for Little Ones is aimed at toddlers, and therefore classed as being part of the ‘picture book’ age category. Within its pages parents can find simple yoga poses suitable for their little ones to try out, performed by a cluster of sea creatures. 

The group of characters includes jellyfish, crabs, seahorses, dolphins, etc. that are all beautifully illustrated by Hinder, in a bright and eye-catching colour palette. 

Join 1000s of other Fitness and Health enthusiasts and get updates packed with career advice, nutrition tips, product reviews and more

There are easy-to-follow instructions included alongside them, and accompanying illustrations of human children so that parents are able to see the exact positions that their little ones should finish in. 

It’s no secret that this is one of the more funny yoga books available on the market, but it’s true that children can participate in the practice of yoga, even those that are under the age of 4. 

After all, it’s been stated by kidshealth.org that children aged 2-3 should ‘get at least 30 minutes of structured (adult-led) physical activity’, and ‘get at least 60 minutes of unstructured (active free play) physical activity’. 

With this advice, it’s easy to see how yoga can be a useful companion to cardiovascular based exercise for toddlers, especially if parents are looking for inventive ways to encourage them to exercise. 

We’d definitely recommend this book to parents who are looking to try something new with their children, and who want to encourage them to read at the same time as exercising; it’s like killing two birds with one stone! 

Available at: Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon

Published: 2019 (Sounds True Inc)

Price: £7.99 (Waterstones), £6.55 (WHSmith), £4.55 (Amazon) 

#11 - Yoga For Kids: Simple First Steps in Yoga and Mindfulness (by Susannah Hoffman)

kids yoga books

Aimed at children aged 5+, this book is a suitable companion to Yoga Whale for parents who have older children too. 

It actually won the Silver Award in the Made for Mums 2019 Awards in Books for Ages 5-8, which speaks volumes about how effective it is at engaging children in the practice of yoga. If this doesn’t make it one of the best yoga books for kids, then we don’t know what does! 

Not only does Yoga for Kids cover 50+ poses and activities for children to try, but it actually promotes the practice of meditation and relaxation, which is usually something that children would only be exposed to later on in life. 

It’s clear to see how an early introduction to mindfulness techniques could benefit children, not just at their current age and mindset, but even when they grow into young adults. While studies are limited, it could be a skill that steers them clear of generalised anxiety disorders, or even something that helps them to keep mild stress at bay during their academic studies. 

Another great aspect of this book is that it provides notes for parents on each pose, so that they can ensure that their child is practising them safely. It also gives them the opportunity to explain the benefits behind each pose, which is extremely important when encouraging their children to exercise!

It has 100% positive ratings on Amazon so far, and really seems to have been a huge hit within the yoga community, as well in the age 5-8 children’s book category. If you want to encourage your child to partake in the practice of yoga, or even join a local yoga class, then this is the book for them.

Available at: Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon

Published: 2018 (DK Children)

Ratings on Amazon: 4.9 stars

Price: £10.99 (Waterstones), £9.01 (WHSmith), £8.34 (Amazon) 

#12 - Laughter Yoga: Daily Laughter Practices for Health and Happiness (by Dr Madan Kataria)

funny yoga books image

As far as funny yoga books go, this book HAS to take the prize. If you haven’t heard of Hasyayoga practice (yes, it has an official yoga term), then you’re in for a real treat!

Hasyayoga is all about ‘voluntary laughter’, which is essentially the opposite of spontaneous laughter. It is practiced by those who believe that voluntary laughter can have an equal psychological and physiological effect on the body and mind as regular laughter. 

While Hasyayoga is usually performed in groups, Laughter Yoga: Daily Laughter Practices for Health and Happiness enables you to practice it alone, which is probably relieving to most of those who are new to this yoga style. 

The author, Dr. Madan Kataria, has actually been recognised as the individual who popularised ‘laughter yoga’, hence why his book made it onto our list of the best yoga books. He insists that a 20-minute session of laughter yoga is enough to reap the benefits of the practice, and that our mind isn’t able to identify the fact that the laughter is ‘fake’. 

Readers of the book can discover how to trigger ‘voluntary laughter’, and how to experience the scientifically proven benefits of Hasyayoga. The benefits include weight loss, an enhanced mood, and stress and pain relief, which is surprising to say the least! 

The book was initially released in April 2020, and is set to be a hit in the yoga community this year. We’d definitely recommend checking it out, not only for the fact that it has been written by an expert on yoga, but because it’s one of the most unique reads on this list. 

Available at: Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon

Published: 2020 (Yellow Kite)

Ratings on Amazon: 5 stars

Price: £9.99 (Waterstones), £11.99 (WHSmith), £11.99 (Amazon) 

#13 - Light on Yoga: The Definitive Guide to Yoga Practice (by B. K. S. Iyengar)

iyengar yoga books

B.K.S. Iyengar is one of the most influential figures in the history of yoga. The greatest evidence of this is the fact that he has a yoga form named after him, and that this style originated from Light on Yoga

Iyengar Yoga is a popular yoga practice that focuses on asanas, which are postures that promote better flexibility, strength, and overall health. They have also been heavily linked to improving mindfulness in individuals who practice them, as well as allowing them to awaken the physiological systems of the body. 

It often involves the use of various types of yoga equipment, with yoga blocks and belts being some of the most popular options. If you happen to be interested in giving Iyengar Yoga a try, you should definitely take a look at our list of the top 15 yoga blocks on the market, so that you have a head start! 

When reading Light on Yoga, it’s clear to see how it has managed to have an unrivalled impact on the yoga community, and why it has been deemed the ‘bible of yoga’ by so many different media outlets. 

It contains over 600 pictures of the 200 asanas, all of which are displayed in a clear and easy-to-follow format. 

As a whole, the book itself doubles as a yoga development plan that spans over a 300-week period, so those who are new to yoga will benefit from being able to progress to more advanced yoga techniques over a reasonable amount of time. 

Not just this, but those who are practising yoga at an intermediate level will be able to polish their routines, and push themselves further than their current level of practice. It’s easy to become comfortable with yoga once you read an intermediate level, but this book will help you to push past any plateaus. 

Light on Yoga has over 700 reviews on Amazon, of which 74% are 5-star ratings, which certainly speaks volumes about what previous readers have thought about the book. We couldn’t recommend it enough, and it’s definitely a must-read for anyone who practices yoga on a regular basis, or plans to in the near future! 

Available at: Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon

Published: 1966 (George Allen and Unwin)

Ratings on Amazon: 4.6 stars 

Price: £18.99 (Waterstones), £15.19 (WHSmith), £14.26 (Amazon) 

Conclusion

We hope that you've enjoyed reading our ultimate list of the best yoga books, and that you've found the perfect read to inspire your yoga journey! 

If you're interested in starting a career in fitness, or learning more about the areas that interest you, be sure to take a look at our Level 4 Certificate in Nutrition, or download our prospectus for more information on the range of courses that we provide.  

References

  1. Lynn Stoller. (2019). In: Sensory-Enhanced Yoga for Self-Regulation and Trauma Healing. Handspring Publishing Limited.
  2. Mary L. Gavin. (2019). Fitness and Your 2- to 3-Year-Old. Available: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/fitness-2-3.html#:~:text=Physical%20activity%20guidelines%20for%20toddlers,a%20time%20except%20when%20sleeping. Last accessed 9th June 2020.

 

Enquire about our Level 4 Nutrition for Sport Course

Kick-start your career in nutrition by enquiring today! 

Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Chloe on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Chloe graduated with a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and prior to OriGym worked at J&R Digital Marketing Agency on the Liverpool 'Female Founders' series. Since joining the company, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist. Chloe’s professional interests intersect content-development and the world of online fitness, especially across social media and YouTube, and Chloe has herself contributed pieces on fitness and weight loss to sites including the Daily Star and The Express. Outside her day-to-day role, Chloe enjoys playing the guitar, gaming and kettlebell training. 

Recommended Posts