The best books for yoga teachers who feel stuck in a rut

Alexandra DeSiato Author Of Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses: A Practical Workbook for Integrating Themes, Ideas, and Inspiration Into Your Class
By Alexandra DeSiato

Who am I?

My passion for teaching yoga stems from over a decade as a yoga teacher. I’ve taught a variety of populations including college athletes, aging practitioners, and prenatal and postpartum moms and people. I’ve written two books on yoga; one is about how we can use yoga as we age healthily and the other is a helpful guide for yoga teachers who would like to incorporate philosophical theming in their classes. I know what it means to feel stuck in a rut as a yoga teacher, and I have so often counted on these well-loved books to help me find my way out of that rut and into inspired teaching. 


I wrote...

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

What is my book about?

Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses is for yoga teachers and advanced practitioners who want to create a framework for delivering thoughtful, philosophical, and inspiring messages to their students. It’s a handbook for yoga teachers who want to feel confident in sharing the wisdom they inherently have. It’s for teachers who want to elevate their teaching, and it’s a book for teachers who are stuck in a rut. 

The books I picked & why

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The Professional Yoga Teacher's Handbook: The Ultimate Guide for Current and Aspiring Instructors

By Sage Rountree,

Book cover of The Professional Yoga Teacher's Handbook: The Ultimate Guide for Current and Aspiring Instructors

Why this book?

If you haven’t read The Professional Yoga Teacher’s Handbook, you need to. This book covers so many aspects of teaching that otherwise get overlooked in yoga teaching texts. Of course, I’m deeply biased, as Sage is my mentor and co-writer! But I promise my bias doesn’t undermine the value of this book. Sage’s observations are honest and clear. She reminds readers that being a yoga teacher is about so much more than just knowing how to teach asana. It’s about having a clear intention, thinking financially (something yoga teachers don’t always do!), and doing the work to discover the yoga teacher you truly want to be. 

The Professional Yoga Teacher's Handbook: The Ultimate Guide for Current and Aspiring Instructors

By Sage Rountree,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Professional Yoga Teacher's Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's so much more to teaching yoga than doing yoga - from building a relationship with a studio (or opening your own) to navigating client relationships, publicising classes, and avoiding burnout. Sage Rountree has been training yoga teachers for over a decade, and she's heard the same concerns over and over: How can I help my students best? How can I keep my teaching fresh? How can I make smart choices around my schedule, my money, and the next steps in my career?

The Professional Yoga Teacher's Handbook speaks directly to these concerns in a warm, friendly voice - boosting…

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

By Kristin Neff,

Book cover of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

Why this book?

If you thought my list would be all yoga-based texts, you thought wrong. This book is a book I have turned to again and again to find my way out of a rut—a yoga teaching rut or a life rut. At the heart of her message, Neff reminds readers that they are the people most able to offer care, compassion, support, and love to themselves. This book is empowering, eye-opening, and a call to action on self-ahimsa. It’s a book that builds up your sense of self in a real, tangible way (not a self-helpy, talk show kind of way.) Self-Compassion is a book that helps you develop emotional resilience—something that helps on and off the yoga mat! 

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

By Kristin Neff,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Self-Compassion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION WITH A NEW FOREWORD FROM KRISTIN NEFF

'Kristin Neff offers practical, wise guidance on the path of emotional healing and deep inner transformation.' Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance

Kristin Neff PhD, is a professor in educational psychology, and the world's expert on self-compassion. A pioneer who established self-compassion as a field of study, Kristin offers a powerful solution for combating negativity and insecurity - the symptoms of living in a high-pressure world.

Through tried and tested exercises and audio downloads, readers learn the 3 core components that will help to heal destructive emotional patterns…


Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice

By Mark Singleton,

Book cover of Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice

Why this book?

I’m convinced that anyone working in the field of yoga needs to read this book. Singleton offers a sweeping overview of yoga history, and it’s never boring or dull. Instead, it’s riveting. His historical overview helps readers understand how key yogis and yoginis shaped modern yoga, and he shows that cultural movements in India helped yoga become what it is in our modern world. I was amazed to discover some of the fascinating roots of yoga, including how much gymnastics and physical movement culture from India and Europe influenced modern poses. It’s a book that reinvigorated my love for teaching yoga and being a part of the beautiful culture of yoga. 

Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice

By Mark Singleton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Yoga is so prevalent in the modern world-practiced by pop stars, taught in schools, and offered in yoga centers, health clubs, and even shopping malls-that we take its presence, and its meaning, for granted. But how did the current yoga boom happen? And is it really rooted in ancient Indian practices, as many of its adherents claim?

In this groundbreaking book, Mark Singleton calls into question many commonly held beliefs about the nature and origins of postural yoga (asana) and suggests a radically new way of understanding the meaning of yoga as it is practiced by millions of people across…

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?

Desikachar’s clear wisdom in The Heart of Yoga can’t be understated. Returning to this book reminds me of why I love yoga, why I teach yoga, and why I do yoga. Much of the value of this book is in Desikachar’s simple prose and exposition regarding yoga philosophy. He ends many chapters with a Q & A section, answering questions he anticipates readers will have. And while there are translations in abundance of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Desikachar’s translations have real-world applicability. His approach to yoga helps us understand why the practice has endured for so many years—and it reminds yoga teachers that bringing yoga to our students is an undertaking of immense importance. 

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…

The Essential Mystics

By Andrew Harvey (editor),

Book cover of The Essential Mystics

Why this book?

Harvey chooses from a variety of faith traditions (including Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, and Ancient Greek thought) to share mystical and spiritual passages from sacred texts. His approach is not to explain the meaning as he sees it, but to offer the selections for readers to immerse themselves in the beautiful, historical writings without too much direction. This book is a source of renewal for me. My copy is dog-eared and highlighted. There is writing in the margins and post-its on the pages. I find the words of the mystics, including Rumi, Buddha, and saints like Francis of Assisi as a balm to my weary soul. More than once, sections of this book have been read aloud in my yoga classes. 

The Essential Mystics

By Andrew Harvey (editor),

Why should I read it?

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


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