The 9 Best Yoga Books of 2022

Read your way to a better practice with "Light on Yoga"

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Whether you’re looking for a light read about beginner yoga poses or a deep dive into how yoga promotes spiritual healing, the right book can round out your knowledge and improve your practice. The best yoga books cover a topic you're interested in, have a length that fits your needs, and are written by a credible yoga expert.

Reviewed & Approved

"Light on Yoga" is our top pick because it's a comprehensive guide to yoga poses and breathing techniques. If you're a beginner, "The Yoga Beginner's Bible" is a great choice.

Depending on your reading habits, it may also help to look for digital versions of the book. This can be very convenient since you won't have to worry about lugging around a heavy book to read. Illustrations are also a great feature since they can show you how different yoga poses are properly achieved. We researched various yoga books with these features in mind.

Here are the best yoga books on the market.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: "Light on Yoga"

Best for Beginners: "The Yoga Beginner's Bible"

Best Illustrated: "Yoga Anatomy"

Best Inclusive: "Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses For Every Type of Body"

Best Memoir: "Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses"

Best History: "Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice"

Best for Pregnancy: "Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful"

Best for Postpartum: "The Fourth Trimester"

Best on Modern Yoga: "The Goddess Pose"

Best Overall: "Light on Yoga"

Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
Penguin Random House

This classic 1966 book is our top choice for its encyclopedic illustration of hundreds of yoga poses and many breathing techniques. Written by the famous yoga teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar, this book also goes beyond physical exercise and heavily details the philosophy of yoga.

Reviewers note that it's easy to follow and even has modified versions for some of the more advanced poses to accommodate beginners. It also contains a week-by-week guide to advance your skills. Even if you're not a beginner, this book can help you find new inspiration in your yoga journey if you are feeling stagnant or bored.

Best for Beginners: "The Yoga Beginner's Bible"

If you want to do a little homework before hitting your first yoga class, check out "The Yoga Beginner's Bible." This book features clear illustrations of poses to know and instructions on how to do each one. If you're not as bendy as you would like to be (yet), the pages include creative modifications that you can use in class (your teacher will be able to provide more of these too, so don't be afraid to ask). An added bonus: This book also lays out breathing exercises, which are key to your practice.

Best Illustrated: "Yoga Anatomy"

Review - Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The unique strength of "Yoga Anatomy" by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews is its illustrations. Rendered through a process of photography and medical illustration, poses are shown from the inside out so you can see exactly how each one benefits your body. It's a book that instructors and students alike will find helpful for deepening their practice.

Best Inclusive: "Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses For Every Type of Body"

In "Yoga for Everyone," author and yogi Dianne Bondy sets out to celebrate what everybody and every body can do, regardless of age, weight, or physical abilities. People who often feel left out of the yoga or fitness community will find this book to be a breath of fresh air. Each pose photo comes with additional photos of multiple modifications, so you can find what works best for you.

Best Memoir: "Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses"

Poser by Claire Dederer
Courtesy of Amazon.com

In this memoir, author Claire Dederer takes readers on her yoga journey with a book that goes beyond the physical benefits of yoga. She discovered the practice while dealing with a back injury and breastfeeding. Her story is universal, though mothers who have struggled with finding balance in their lives after having children will find it particularly inspirational. (Hint: yoga helps.)

Best History: "Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice"

Yoga Body by Mark Singleton
Courtesy of Oxford University Press

"Yoga Body" is a fascinating book by scholar Mark Singleton into the history of yoga asana. This book is a real game changer, exploring the predecessors of Western yoga practices beyond yoga's roots in ancient India. You'll find yourself questioning a lot of the conventional wisdom you hear in yoga classes after reading this one. 

Best for Pregnancy: "Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful"

Bountiful. Beautiful, Blissful
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa is a leading Kundalini yoga teacher who is especially known for her prenatal yoga classes. The yoga in "Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful" is gentle, but the anecdotes and advice for pregnant people are unique in the sea of pregnancy books. It is empowering for anyone contemplating natural childbirth.

Best for Postpartum: "The Fourth Trimester"

This holistic book aims to help people who are pregnant or who have recently given birth (whether it was a few days or a few years ago) reach physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual healing. Kimberly Ann Johnson, who has experience both as a doula and yoga teacher, explains everything from preparing your body for birth to dealing with complex postpartum emotions. Her words will help you rebuild your body and strengthen your familial relationships.

Best on Modern Yoga:"The Goddess Pose"

The Goddess Pose by Michelle Goldberg
Alfred A Knopf

"The Goddess Pose" is a fascinating look at how yoga made its way into the mainstream culture of the West. Author Michelle Goldberg does this through the biography of Indra Devi, one of the first people to teach postural yoga in the United States. Your understanding of modern yoga is not complete without knowing the significance of Devi's influence.

What to Look for in a Yoga Book

Length

Do you have time to read through an encyclopedic tome on yoga’s backstory? Or would you prefer a brief handbook of basic poses? Some yoga books are a one-time read, whereas others serve as reference to return to time and again. The amount of time you have to devote to a book will determine the length that’s right for you.

Topic 

The beauty of yoga is that it serves different purposes for different people. Some folks turn to yoga strictly for exercise, while others use it as a spiritual practice. Pregnant people, trauma survivors, athletes, and multiple other groups can all benefit from it in unique ways. Choose the book that speaks to your specific area of interest.

Author Experience

Just about anybody can write a book and have it published. But not everyone is an authority. To know you’re getting information from a qualified source, be sure to check an author’s credentials and experience. Look for a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) certification or other certification, such as YTT or E-RYT. The greater the number after the certification (such as 200, 500, or 600), the more training hours the instructor has completed.

Digital Availability

If you want a yoga book you can easily toss in your workout bag or read on your phone, you might prefer a digital read. When easy, lightweight accessibility is a priority, check to see if you can download a book to your phone, tablet, or other reader.

Illustrations or Images

Many people are visual learners, especially when it comes to applying yoga poses in real life. If you’re seeking a book that will help you master the art of the downward dog or reclined pigeon, you’ll probably want to see exactly how it’s done. Look for books that provide high-quality illustrations or images, rather than descriptions alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will yoga books help me become a yoga teacher?

    People enrolled in accredited yoga teacher training programs may be required to read certain books prior to or during their certification process. However, you cannot become a certified yoga instructor just by reading books. Training programs require a certain number of in-person instruction hours for certification.

  • Can I learn from yoga books?

    As with any other subject, researching yoga through reading books is an excellent way to expand your understanding. The more you know about yoga—from its anatomical basis to its spiritual side—the more you’ll enhance your personal practice. Yoga teachers can also benefit from a broader knowledge of yoga’s history and its applications for different people. 

  • What is the science behind yoga?

    Scientific inquiry has examined numerous aspects of yoga. The combination of stretching your muscles and matching your breath to movement has proven merits for health. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga may help people lose weight, relieve stress, manage depression and anxiety, relieve pain, and quit smoking, among other benefits.

  • What can you expect to gain from yoga books?

    What you get out of yoga books will, of course, depend on the books you choose and how much you invest in them. If you’re a beginner, reading an introductory book on standard poses could give you the confidence you need to try yoga for the first time. Or if you’re an instructor, a history of the practice or a nitty-gritty look at technique could be the key to helping others have a more fulfilling experience.

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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