The 9 Best Yoga Books of 2019

Read your way to a better practice

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First Look

Best Overall: "Light on Yoga" at Amazon

"B.K.S. Iyengar's classic 1966 book is still the gold standard."

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

"Offers creative modifications of many poses."

Best Illustrated: "Yoga Anatomy" at Amazon

"Muscular-skeletal actions in each pose are described in detail."

Best Inclusive: "Yoga for Everyone" at Amazon

"Poses for everybody and every body."

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

"This book sets itself apart with truly good writing."

Best History: "Yoga Body" at Amazon

"Makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about yoga."

Best for Pregnancy: "Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful" at Amazon

"Advice for pregnant women is unique in the sea of pregnancy books."

Best for Postpartum: "The Fourth Trimester" at Amazon

"Helps new moms reach physical and spiritual healing."

Best on Modern Yoga: "The Goddess Pose" at Amazon

"A look at how yoga came to Western mainstream culture."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: "Light on Yoga"

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

B.K.S. Iyengar's classic 1966 book is still the gold standard for its encyclopedic illustration of hundreds of yoga poses and many breathing techniques. Without a doubt, "Light on Yoga" is must-have for any yogi's library. The subtitle is "The Bible of Modern Yoga" and that's no stretch.

Need more ideas? Check out our roundup of the best yoga mats.

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.

Looking for more options? Read our article on the best yoga blocks.

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 Diane 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 look by scholar Mark Singleton into the history of yoga asana. This book is a real game changer, taking everything you thought you knew about yoga's roots in ancient India and turning it on its ear. 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 women 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 women 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.

Take a peek at our reviews of the best yoga mat bags and the best fitness books in general.

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