The best yoga books to support your home yoga practice

Kara-Leah Grant Author Of Forty Days of Yoga
By Kara-Leah Grant

Who am I?

My journey into home yoga practice began in 2004 when I moved to a small mountain town with no yoga classes. I started practicing for the health of my mind and body and kept practicing because it became an integral part of my identity. In 2006, when I began teaching yoga, I committed to practicing yoga every day so that I could be the best possible teacher for my students. These were the books that helped me keep that commitment. Many of them I’ve read multiple times, and all of them helped me show up to the mat, and understand both my bodily and psychological experience of home yoga practice.

I wrote...

Forty Days of Yoga

By Kara-Leah Grant,

Book cover of Forty Days of Yoga

What is my book about?

Packed full of ingeniously practical worksheets and examples from Kara-Leah's own life, this book invites readers to reflect honestly and creatively on their own process and aspirations for a home yoga practice. Kara-Leah takes readers on a journey into their psyche and helps them design strategies to make daily yoga practice possible in their life - no matter what that life is like.

Kara-Leah has a no-nonsense approach that is practical, down-to-earth, and also light-hearted. She's encouraging and supportive but leaves no excuses left standing. By the end of the book, you'll know what supports your yoga practice, what undermines your practice, and exactly what you need to do about it.

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

The books I picked & why

Autobiography of a Yogi

By Paramahansa Yogananda,

Book cover of Autobiography of a Yogi

Why did I love this book?

This is a breakthrough, must-read, buy-it-now yoga book that will set the broader context for your home yoga practice. If I stumble across a copy in a secondhand bookshop, I always buy it, because I’m constantly giving away the copy I own. That’s how good it is. Paramahansa Yogananda, a university graduate, was one of the first great yoga masters to come over from India to the West.

This book tells the tale of studying with his guru – and it is a fantastical and magical story of expanded notions of what reality is. There’s everything from dematerialising gurus to an old woman who doesn’t eat or drink but just lives on prana, to prophecies of illness and disorder that are fulfilled, and remembered previous incarnations. There is a practicality and roundedness in this book that makes one think that maybe these experiences truly did happen.

By Paramahansa Yogananda,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Autobiography of a Yogi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Autobiography of a Yogi is at once a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. Profoundly inspiring, it is at the same time vastly entertaining, warmly humorous and filled with extraordinary personages.

Self-Realization Fellowship's editions, and none others, include extensive material added by the author after the first edition was published, including a final chapter on the closing years of his life.

Selected as "One of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century", Autobiography of a Yogi has been translated into more…

Book cover of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

Why did I love this book?

Part autobiography and part exploration of the link between yoga and psychotherapy, this book was crucial in helping me understand the yogic journey within a psychological framework. This is important when embarking on a home yoga practice. Stephen Cope, a psychotherapist who left a practice in Boston to live, study and teach at Kripalu, examines how our practice of yoga affects the psyche – the ups & downs, the traps and pitfalls, the freedoms, and liberation.

You’re unlikely to get this kind of in-depth, specialist understanding from your local yoga teacher, and it helps to ground the spiritual journey in a Western context. Stephen also goes into great depth about the awakening of Kundalini energy within the body – something he both witnessed and experienced during his time at Kripalu.

By Stephen Cope,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yoga and the Quest for the True Self as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than 100,000 copies sold!

Millions of Americans know yoga as a superb form of exercise and as a potent source of calm in our stress-filled lives. Far fewer are aware of the full promise of yoga as a 4,000-year-old practical path of liberation—a path that fits the needs of modern Western seekers with startling precision. Now Stephen Cope, a Western-trained psychotherapist who has lived and taught for more than ten years at the largest yoga center in America, offers this marvelously lively and irreverent "pilgrim's progress" for today's world. He demystifies the philosophy, psychology, and practice of yoga, and…

Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service

By Ram Dass, Ram Dass, Mirabai Bush

Book cover of Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service

Why did I love this book?

Compassion, for self and others, can be an overlooked aspect of practicing at home. I found this book when I was awash with judgmental thoughts about people, and feeling spiritually more evolved or spiritually superior to people. And then I was judgmental against myself for having judgmental thoughts about other people all the time!

This book helped me understand and move through this phase in the spiritual journey. In the first half of the book, Ram Dass talks about his journey. In the second half, Mirabai Bush talks about practical steps for being of service in the world. It was Ram Dass’s journey that really spoke to me initially – especially when he tells the story of having to return to his family home at the age of 55 and take care of his aging father. It is a must-read for those wishing to develop more compassion on the yogic journey.

By Ram Dass, Ram Dass, Mirabai Bush

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Compassion in Action as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Featuring an eye-catching new cover, this classic guide is for those ready to commit time and energy to relieving suffering in the world. No two people are better qualified to help us along this path than Ram Dass, who has spent more than 25 years teaching and writing on the subject of living consciously, and Mirabi Bush, who succeeded him as chairperson of the Seva Foundation.

Book cover of Beyond Power Yoga: 8 Levels of Practice for Body and Soul

Why did I love this book?

This book, and Beryl’s earlier book, Power Yoga: The Total Strength and Flexibility Workout, were my bibles when I began to build a home yoga practice. Not only do they include step-by-step instructions for Power Yoga, a derivative of Astanaga yoga, but they detail other aspects of the yoga journey including Patanjali’s eight limbs.

In Beyond Power Yoga, Beryl explores everything from her journey into yoga and to India, yoga in action, breathing, meditation, and ‘leap into liberation – bliss’. She is a consummate storyteller and uses real-life experiences from her own life to illustrate yogic concepts like bandhas, vayus, tapas, yamas, and niyamas.

By Beryl Bender Birch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Combining the mindfulness of astanga yoga with the high-energy intensity of the work-out routine, this exercise book walks readers through a series of body- and soul-enhancing routines.

Book cover of Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness

Why did I love this book?

An American now living in New Zealand, Donna strongly emphasises inquiring your way into your yoga practice. She invites the readers to ask many questions that other teachers don’t even mention – like why practice asana at all?

This book starts where all yoga starts – with the breath. Donna explores letting the breath move you and guiding the breath. From there, it’s a steady step-by-step look at the foundation of any good yoga practice. She invites readers to look at yielding, radiating, centering, supporting, and aligning within their practice. It’s such a delicious way to explore yoga. 

The book also includes an in-depth look into the various systems of the body and how these function within asana. Donna examines the cellular body, the musculoskeletal system, the fluid body, the organ system, and the neuroendocrine system - and all this before she illuminates the asanas themselves. This book will expand and deepen your understanding of yoga on all levels.

By Donna Farhi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work explains the art of hatha yoga from a perspective that enables westerners to experience authentic yoga practice directly. The principles can be applied to other forms of yoga too.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in yoga, altruism, and spirituality?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about yoga, altruism, and spirituality.

Yoga Explore 107 books about yoga
Altruism Explore 20 books about altruism
Spirituality Explore 259 books about spirituality