The best yoga books to inspire creativity and joy

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an artist, writer, teacher, and longtime yoga practitioner. I started practicing yoga in my early twenties during a difficult time in my life and the peace, grounding, and community that I discovered in yoga have stayed with me over the years, growing and evolving over time. One of my favorite experiences was the opportunity to teach children and teens who had never even heard of yoga before. Now I'm a professor at San Diego State University and also started and run a statewide program called Prison Arts Collective, bringing art programs to people who are incarcerated. We often include mindfulness and breathing exercises along with art. 


I wrote...

The Kids Yoga Deck

By Annie Buckley,

Book cover of The Kids Yoga Deck

What is my book about?

Yoga is fun! Get kids bending, breathing, and stretching with The Kids Yoga Deck. Playful poses such as Cat, Flower, Airplane, and Gorilla, as well as partner poses that can be performed with friends teach kids the basics of yoga. Easy enough for children to do on their own, The Kids Yoga Deck engages bodies and minds to help youngsters build strength, flexibility, balance, and mental focus. The back of each card includes creative prompts for activities and projects that integrate art and writing to inspire kids to have fun, be creative, and delve into the awareness and interconnectivity that is central to yoga. Kids will move, breathe, draw, write, and play together or with teachers and parents with this imaginative and integrated take on yoga!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Awakening the Spine: Yoga for Health, Vitality and Energy

Annie Buckley Why did I love this book?

This is my all-time favorite yoga book—and I have lots and lots of books on yoga that I really love! The main reason I relate to this one is that it is written in a way that embodies what yoga is and means by someone with a depth of knowledge in the practice—the author studied for years with one of the world's leading yoga instructors, B. K. S. Iyengar. With brief and insightful entries on topics as wide-ranging as transformation, gravity, time, the eagle, and organizations, Scaravelli gradually and generously invites readers into understanding the relationship between ourselves and the world, and through it, yoga. You will find instructions for breathing and postures, but more importantly, you will find the wisdom, expansiveness, interconnections, and joy that define yoga. The is interspersed with beautiful images of art and nature and a number of beautiful photographs of the author in her eighties easily performing complex poses. 

By Vanda Scaravelli,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Awakening the Spine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fully revised and updated edition of the classic yoga book, with a new foreword by B.K.S. Iyengar.

For more than twenty-five years, until her death at ninety-one, Vanda Scaravelli helped transform bodies and lives with her innovative approach to yoga through the proper alignment of the spine. She listened to the body and worked with—instead of against—it. She used gravity, grounding, and breathing to achieve dramatic improvements in health and wellbeing.

Awakening the Spine offers a gentle way to achieve and maintain overall health and a naturally supple spine at any age. Scaravelli’s lasting message reminds readers that, “if…


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

Annie Buckley Why did I love this book?

This is a classic yoga text for good reason, not only is the author an international yoga teacher and scholar, he is the son of the renowned yogi Krishnamacharya, credited with creating the foundation of yoga that was brought to the Western world, and studied with his father all his life. The tone of the book is informative and kind, as if sitting with a wise master on a calm patio with a gentle breeze in the background. The postures are explained in a therapeutic method, explaining how they can be adapted for different bodies and at different times of life. At the start, the author shares his approach and experience studying with his father in an interview. And the book wraps up with the text and succinct translations of Patanjali’s vital Yoga Sutras.

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 Babar's Yoga for Elephants

Annie Buckley Why did I love this book?

This beautifully illustrated Babar book does not disappoint. It is a fun and playful visit with a beloved childhood favorite and includes a bonus chart of basic yoga poses performed by elephants. Children and their adult friends and family will be charmed by the invitation to join the family of elephants in finding tranquility through yoga poses and breathing exercises.

By Laurent de Brunhoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Babar's Yoga for Elephants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Well before yoga became fashionable via Sting and Madonna, the elephant king Babar and all the residents of Celesteville were finding peace and tranquillity through yoga. And now elephants everywhere can join them!
Through easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step illustrations, Babar's Yoga for Elephants presents 15 positions and stretches as well as helpful breathing exercises. The book also provides useful advice on what to do with your trunk while in position, a dilemma that human yoga books often ignore.Written by Babar himself, the book explains how yoga was introduced to Celesteville and how he and Queen Celeste keep fit doing yoga…


Book cover of Practice You: A Journal

Annie Buckley Why did I love this book?

This isn’t technically a yoga book but is a beautiful and relatable book for adult friends of children to connect to their intuition, decompress, and express themselves (so, in essence, it is a yoga book, just not in name!). Adults including parents and teachers can find a space to connect to their inner sense of truth and play, soothing and recharging the spirit. The book has lovely loose watercolor paintings and brief but meaningful prompts throughout, inviting readers to add their own thoughts, ideas, experiences, and responses right on the pages. 

By Elena Brower,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the way forward seems uncertain, where can we turn for guidance we can trust? For yoga luminary, meditation teacher, and artist Elena Brower, the answer has always been close at hand.

"Whenever I've needed direction, strength, or centering, I've so often turned to my own journals. Why? Because many of the answers we seek are found within ourselves."

Now, for those compelled to the pen and page, Elena invites us to gather our own wisdom through writing, self-inquiry, and reflection. Practice You is a portable sacred sanctuary to record our flashes of insight, find our ground, create and clarify…


Book cover of Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands

Annie Buckley Why did I love this book?

This book can be enjoyed by adults and children alike and provides a guide to a lesser-known aspect of yoga, mudras, or yoga for the hands. The author explains the spiritual history of mudras and provides guidelines for how to practice 52 distinct mudras, including the name, an overview of the meaning, and what it is intended to support in the body or mind. The back of the book also includes some basic yoga postures and several helpful indices. When approaching lightly and playfully, I find it relaxing, empowering, and anxiety-reducing to practice mudras.

By Gertrud Hirschi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With a foreword by Shelley von Strunkel.

Mudras - also playfully called 'finger power points' are yoga positions for your hands and fingers. they can be practiced sitting, lying down, standing or walking, at any time and place!

Schooled in the traditional knowledge of this Eastern art of healing, Gertrud Hirschi, the well-known Swiss yoga teacher and author of Basic Yoga for Everybody, shows you how these easy techniques can recharge your personal energy reserves and improve your quality of living. Use these mysterious healing gestures to calm the stress, aggravations and frustrations of every day life. In Mudras: Yoga…


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Transforming Pandora

By Carolyn Mathews,

Book cover of Transforming Pandora

Carolyn Mathews Author Of Transforming Pandora

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Creator Meditator Messenger Shopaholic

Carolyn's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Transforming Pandora, women's fiction with a metaphysical undercurrent, is written with humour and a light touch. As the plot slips between two time frames, separated by more than thirty years, the reader explores her life and loves: her ups and downs.

In the opening chapter, Pandora is attempting to come to terms with her husband's death. At a friend's suggestion, she reluctantly attends an evening of clairvoyance, after which her life is transformed by a mysterious spirit who sets her on a new path.

Her romantic life is reignited when she encounters a new man, but complicated by the…

Transforming Pandora

By Carolyn Mathews,

What is this book about?

Pandora, 51, childless, and still beautiful, is attempting to come to terms with her husband's death. Having a history of being drawn to the esoteric, yet remaining a healthy sceptic, she reluctantly attends an evening of clairvoyance and raises a spirit who sets her on a new path...


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