The best books for yoga teachers

Who am I?

I’m a yoga therapist, health journalist, mother, and grandmother with a passion for helping people harness the powerful medicine of movement. Physical activity is essential to good health, and yoga can be particularly effective because it’s a holistic discipline that enhances all aspects of wellbeing—physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual. I started taking a weekly yoga class in my early 20s to stretch tight muscles and relieve stress from my busy job as a Washington Post reporter. Nearly 50 years later, yoga is central to my life, with practices that have helped me through several major health challenges, and kept me balanced, fit, and centered in our unpredictable world.  

I wrote...

Relax Into Yoga for Seniors: A Six-Week Program for Strength, Balance, Flexibility, and Pain Relief

By Kimberly Carson, Carol Krucoff,

Book cover of Relax Into Yoga for Seniors: A Six-Week Program for Strength, Balance, Flexibility, and Pain Relief

What is my book about?

Yoga can be profoundly healing for older adults, but finding a safe and effective practice is challenging because many commonly-taught postures are risky for seniors. This is why—for over a decade—we have collaborated with experts at Duke Medical Center to create accessible, evidence-informed practices that combine the best of current medical knowledge with the ancient wisdom of traditional yogic teachings.  

Relax into Yoga for Seniors presents a six-week gentle yoga program—with step-by-step instructions, illustrations, and downloadable audiosdesigned to guide older adults through a safe, effective and enjoyable yoga practice. We offer specifics about yoga for healthy aging, including guidelines for safe practice with age-related ailments including arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer, and chronic pain—plus a downloadable Teacher's Guide.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

Carol Krucoff Why did I love this book?

This book is my go-to source for authentic, clear information about the theory and practice of yoga. Written by a world-renowned yoga teacher—who was the son of one of the greatest yogis of the modern era—The Heart of Yoga is a classic that belongs on every yoga teacher’s shelf. The first half offers essential information about how to practice, including specifics on postures, breathing, and meditation. The second half presents the author's translation and commentary on the Yoga Sutras, a classic text written about 400 CE by the sage Patanjali who synthesized and organized information about yoga into 195 Sanskrit sutras (aphorisms). I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Desikachar for a Yoga Journal article back in 2007 and deeply appreciated his kindness, intelligence, humility, and warmth. He died in 2016, and his timeless wisdom lives on in this extraordinary book. 

By T.K.V. Desikachar,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Heart of Yoga as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who lived to be over 100 years old, was one of the greatest yogis of the modern era. Elements of Krishnamacharya's teaching have become well known around the world through the work of B. K. S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi, who all studied with Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya's son T. K. V. Desikachar lived and studied with his father all his life and now teaches the full spectrum of Krishnamacharya's yoga. Desikachar has based his method on Krishnamacharya's fundamental concept of viniyoga, which maintains that practices must be continually adapted to the individual's changing needs to achieve…

Book cover of Science of Yoga: Understand the Anatomy and Physiology to Perfect Your Practice

Carol Krucoff Why did I love this book?

As a mind-body science educator, Ann Swanson specializes in making complex scientific concepts simple and easy to understand. And in this dazzlingly-illustrated, comprehensive guide to how and why yoga works, she masterfully deconstructs more than two dozen basic yoga poses with detailed information on the physical and energetic components. A section on human anatomy explains various systemsincluding cardiovascular, digestive, and endocrineand a Q & A section explores common concerns such as chronic pain, stress, and mental well-being. Full disclosureAnn is a friend and colleaguewith extraordinary energy, deep compassion, and a generous heart.  

By Ann Swanson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Science of Yoga as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explore the biomechanics of 30 key yoga poses, in-depth and from every angle, and master each asana with confidence and control.

Take your knowledge of yoga to the next level with this ground-breaking 360 degree visual resource - made for serious practitioners and teachers.

Recent scientific research now backs up what were once anecdotal claims about the benefits of yoga to every system in the body. Science of Yoga reveals the facts, with annotated artworks that show the mechanics, the angles, how blood flow and respiration are affected, the key muscle and joint actions working below the surface of each…

Book cover of Yoga of the Subtle Body: A Guide to the Physical and Energetic Anatomy of Yoga

Carol Krucoff Why did I love this book?

Much of the Western approach to yoga views it as a fitness activity and focuses primarily on the physical body. Yet authentic yoga practice is rooted in the reality that the body is not separate from the psychospiritual forces that animate it. In this book, Tias Little who is one of the foremost yoga instructors in North Americaoffers a guided tour of the body’s physical anatomy, then uses this awareness to explore the fascinating and mysterious arena of the subtle body. Drawing on ancient texts and modern science, Little explains the yogic view of the energetic body (prana, nadis, and chakras), explores the esoteric subtleties of the mind-body connection, and provides thought-provoking insights into the secrets of our innermost being.  

By Tias Little,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yoga of the Subtle Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With his expert teachings, philosophical insights, and pragmatic imagery, world-class yoga instructor Tias Little turns the anatomy of the physical body into a tool for navigating the subtle body

If you spend considerable time doing yoga, you begin to see that it is about much more than just the body—the practice of yoga in fact reveals that the body is in no way separate from the psychospiritual forces that animate it. Here, Tias Little provides a way to understand these forces as they relate to an integrated yoga of body, mind, and spirit. He unites somatic concepts and wisdom teachings…

Book cover of Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body

Carol Krucoff Why did I love this book?

In recent years, there’s been a growing appreciation that yoga is not just for slim, bendy, twentysomethings, but can offer profound physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits to people of all ages, sizes, and health conditions. Much of this increased awareness is due to the work of Jivana Heyman, director of the non-profit Accessible Yoga Association, whose mission statement proclaims that “all peopleregardless of ability or backgrounddeserve equal access to yoga.” Heyman has spent more than 20 years teaching yoga to people with disabilities, with an emphasis on community building and social engagement. In this book, he offers inspiring and practical guidance on how to break down complex yoga practices in ways that make them accessible, enjoyable, and healing for anyone—regardless of limitations or challenges.

By Jivana Heyman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Accessible Yoga as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A treasure trove . . . what Yoga, capital Y, is all about.” —Donna Farhi
“Nothing less than a gem.” —Judith Lasater
“A vital tool.” —Book Riot

This daring, visionary book revolutionizes yoga practice, making it truly accessible to everyone—in every body, at any age, and in any state of health

Yoga practice has so much to offer us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. But many of us feel discouraged to practice because we see young, slim, flexible, well, and able-bodied people dominating yoga spaces. Yet, yoga is truly a practice for all—conferring enormous benefits to our overall well-being as…

Book cover of Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses: A Practical Workbook for Integrating Themes, Ideas, and Inspiration Into Your Class

Carol Krucoff Why did I love this book?

Yoga is much more than a workout, and the difference between a good class and a great one often centers on the instructor’s ability to inspire students to make a deeper connectionwith themselves, with others, and with the world. In this practical and illuminating book, experienced instructors Sage Rountree and Alexandra Desiato offer a wealth of information designed to give yoga teachers essential tools to find their own, unique voice and take their classes to the next level. The book includes a section of 54 complete themes followed by blank temples and helpful prompts to create your own themes. Amidst bookshelves crowded with volumes on how to teach postures, this book stands out as a uniquely-helpful exploration of how to teach yoga.

By Sage Rountree, Alexandra DeSiato,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Create class themes with yoga philosophy, inspirational quotes, and simple concepts to inspire and motivate students
Experienced yoga instructors Sage Rountree and Alexandra DeSiato give yoga teachers the tools to find their voice and tap into innate wisdom. The authors offer ready-made, detailed themes to use in classes and provide flexible templates for building a toolkit of themes for future use. Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses offers guidance for both new and experienced teachers starting with a section on voice, authenticity, emulation, phrasing, practice, repetition, and finding inspiration. It continues with a second section that contains fifty-four complete themes that…

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Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

Book cover of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

Alan Pearce Author Of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a journalist, I'm driven to find stories that have not been covered before and to make clear the incomprehensible. I like people, and I like asking questions. I've covered wars and disasters, and on any given day, I could expect to see people at their very worst and at their very best. With my book about comas, I've met some of the finest people of my career, doctors, nurses, and other clinicians who are fighting the system, and coma survivors who are simply fighting to get through each and every day. This is the story I am now driven to tell.

Alan's book list on consciousness that demonstrates there is more to life than we know

What is my book about?

What happens when a person is placed into a medically-induced coma?

The brain might be flatlining, but the mind is far from inactive: experiencing alternate lives rich in every detail that spans decades, visiting realms of stunning and majestic beauty, or plummeting to the very depths of Hell while defying all medical and scientific understanding.

Everything you think you know about coma is wrong. Doctors call it 'sleeping' when in reality, many are trapped on a hamster wheel of brain-damaging, nightmarish events that scar those that survive for life. Others are left to question whether they touched levels of existence previously confined to fantasy or whether they teetered on the brink of this life and the next. Coma is not what you think.

Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

What is this book about?

Explores the extraordinary states of expanded consciousness that arise during comas, both positive and negative

Every day around the world, thousands of people are placed in medically-induced comas. For some coma survivors, the experience is an utter blank. Others lay paralyzed, aware of everything around them but unable to move, speak, or even blink. Many experience alternate lives spanning decades, lives they grieve once awakened. Some encounter ultra-vivid nightmares, while others undergo a deep, spiritual oneness with the Universe or say they have glimpsed the Afterlife.

Examining the beautiful and disturbing experiences of those who have survived comas, Alan and…

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