Yoga with Tori
Yoga with Tori

Recommended reading

There are literally hundreds of great yoga books. I've listed a few below that I hope you will find helpful, but it's by no means exhaustive. Please remember that the best way to learn is with a teacher, so that they can help you to modify poses to meet your own needs and ability, adjust you where necessary, and emphasise safe practice - so it's best to practice what you have learnt in class and are confident with, mindfully. I hope you will find the following list a useful starting point.

You may also like to try Yoga Journal and Yoga International on-line for their home practice section.


  • Light on Yoga - BKS Iyengar (Thorson) - an absolute classic text - lots of poses, good instructions and attention to detail - a very comprehensive book if your focus is on asana (postures) and pranayama (breath work)
  • Yoga - An Illustrated Guide - Howard Kent - this is a great first book for introducing the many elements of yoga and meditation in a clear and simple way, although it only has a fairly basic range of asanas.
  • Yin Yoga - Outline of a Quiet Practice - Paul Grilley - a good introduction to Yin practice written by a master. This is a slim book but covers the essentials of Yin Yoga well.
  • Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness - Erich Schiffmann- Another good first book on yoga - thorough and comprehensive introduction to a range of yoga practices and background.
  • How Yoga Works - Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally - a beautifully written story that incorporates a lot of the classic yoga sutras or teachings in an accessible and enjoyable story.
  • Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha - Swami Satyananda Saraswati - this is a more traditional text, and probably more suited for students who are progressing with their practice. It does cover contraindications and details for each asana thoroughly, including benefits, awareness points etc. This also contains more information on Pranayama and Bandhas than some of the other books.
  • Living your yoga - Judith Hanson Lasater - a great book on how to apply the traditional teachings of Patanjali to modern life.
  • The Handbook of Ayurveda, Dr Shantha Godagama - introductory book on the sister science of Ayurveda. Here you can learn more about your Dosha.
  • The Heart of Yoga - TKV Desikachar - another classic text - great for beginners through to experienced students - includes Pantajali's yoga sutras.
  • Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World (Includes Free CD with Guided Meditations) Paperback by Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman


For those doing teacher training / Foundation Course, also:


Teaching yoga, exploring the student-teacher relationship by Donna Farhi - a great book on ethics and the role of the teacher, with sections on how to handle a number of potentially tricky dilemmas or situations you may come across as a yoga teacher.

Your body, your yoga - Bernie Clark - an absolutely fantastic book on individual differences and how that affects yoga practice. 'Practice and all is coming' is not available to all students! This book explores 'what stops you' and helps us as teachers to understand where we can help students best. His follow up book Your Spine, your yoga, is also excellent.

Ray Long's books on Yoga anatomy and postures - great illustrations that show the anatomy within yoga poses - highlighting agonists, antagonists, stabilisers and breaking down the anatomy of yoga asana.

Very Short Introduction to: Indian Philosophy, Sue Hamilton – Oxford university press

Yoga Body - the origins of modern postural practice – Mark Singleton

Roots of Yoga – James Mallison and Mark Singleton – draws from a great variety of traditional texts – covers a wide range of concepts and practices. Detailed and thorough


The translations of the classic texts I used during my own teacher training were these:

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga Publications, ISBN 0-932040-38-1

I can also highly recommend Edwin Bryant's edition of Patanjali's sutras which contains a number of different commentaries for contrast.

The Bhagavad Gita, translation by W J Johnson, Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-283581-5

The Bhagavad Gita, a walkthrough for westerners, Jack Hawley, New World Library, ISBN 1-57731-147-

The Upanishads, translation by Patrick Olivelle, Oxford World Classics, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-283576-9

Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Swami Muktibodhananda

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