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.

The books I picked & why

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The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

By T.K.V. Desikachar,

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

Why 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. 

The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

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…

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

By Ann Swanson,

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

Why 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.  

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

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…

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

By Tias Little,

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

Why 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.  

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

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.


Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body

By Jivana Heyman,

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

Why 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.

Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body

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.


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

By Sage Rountree, Alexandra DeSiato,

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

Why 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.

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

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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Hatha yoga, yoga, and chakra?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Hatha yoga, yoga, and chakra.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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