10 Best Yoga Books | December 2016

10 Best Yoga Books
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Whether you use it for meditative purposes, fitness or strength training, yoga can be an excellent addition to any daily regimen, promoting physical and mental health. Our selection of yoga books will help you improve your knowledge and technique, and are written for a variety of audiences, from beginners to those training to work as instructors. Skip to the best yoga book on Amazon.
Yoga Anatomy-2nd Edition is arranged into 11 chapters, and each one deals with a different part of the body, giving you a complete education on the body's reaction to yoga. It has a lot of in-depth info and full-color anatomical illustrations to help you understand it.
  • will quickly improve your yoga skills
  • contains a muscle index for reference
  • writing may be too technical for some
Brand Human Kinetics
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
In Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit, the author outlines seven simple movement principles that help readers understand how they can achieve all yoga postures. It features 240 two-color photographs and illustrations of yoga poses, which is especially helpful for beginners.
  • discusses ethical foundation of yoga
  • chapters are well-organized
  • requires a lot of flipping around pages
Brand Farhi, Donna
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
If you are interested in the technical aspects of yoga, then the Functional Anatomy of Yoga is a good read. It allows both the casual reader and the seasoned yoga veteran to understand and implement the anatomical structure and function of the body in yoga.
  • underlying theme is integration
  • explains the "why" behind yoga poses
  • illustrations are not high quality
Brand Functional Anatomy of Y
Model pending
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
In Yoga Girl, Instagram star Rachel Brathen shares stories of her travels around the world, while also offering step-by-step yoga sequences and practical advice. Not only will it inspire you to delve further into yoga, but also to get out and see the world.
  • includes lots of healthy recipes
  • photos are taken in beautiful settings
  • has a lot of non-yoga related content
Brand Brathen, Rachel
Model pending
Weight 14.1 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
Guide to Yin Yoga is a perfect option for those looking to gain insight into both the philosophy and physical practice of Yin Yoga, which is a discipline that focuses more on the meditation aspect of yoga. It goes into great detail on how to go into each pose correctly.
  • features passive nature postures
  • explores physiological benefits
  • may be too challenging for beginners
Brand Clark, Bernie/ Powers,
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
Hatha Yoga Illustrated has nearly 650 full-color photos to visually demonstrate 77 standard poses from start to finish. This helps you correctly settle into the pose and achieve proper alignment and breathing to facilitate a challenging, yet safe, execution.
  • fitness-based pose variations included
  • includes astanga and bikram styles
  • minimal info on creating a full session
Brand Power Systems
Model 9780736062039
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual contains the entire primary and intermediate series of Ashtanga Yoga in a spiral bound book that stays open when you practice. If you want a book that's easy to reference during yoga sessions without breaking poses, this is a good choice.
  • includes 3 options for every asana
  • features insightful commentary
  • very user-friendly formatting
Brand Ashtanga Yoga Productio
Model pending
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
Teaching Yoga addresses 100% of the teacher training curriculum standards set by the Yoga Alliance. It covers a wide spectrum of perspectives and all the fundamentals, making it not only a good choice for yoga teachers, but also students looking to increase their skills.
  • features more than 150 photographs
  • includes history of contemporary styles
  • contains a useful appendix
Brand North Atlantic Books
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
In Yoga for Life, former fashion model Colleen Saidman Yee shares personal anecdotes along with compassionate insights and practical yoga instruction. It has specific yoga sequences that focus on particular health aspects that accompany each chapter.
  • covers topics like depression and stress
  • focuses on the spiritual aspect of yoga
  • helps improve body awareness
Brand Atria Books
Model pending
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
The Key Muscles of Yoga takes a scientific approach to explaining hatha yoga using four-color, three-dimensional illustrations of major muscles and tendons. It highlights the agonist, antagonist, and synergist muscles that come into play with each pose.
  • good for both beginners and experts
  • great for physical therapy students
  • breaks down complex concepts
Brand Greenleaf Book Group
Model pending
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

A Brief History Of Yoga

If you and your friends enthusiastically frequent the newest "Hot Yoga" studio, then indeed you are practicing a form of yoga that is itself rather new. Hot yoga, a common term for what is more specifically known as Bikram Yoga, is a practice created in the 1970s by world famous yogi Bikram Choudry.

The practice consists of a series of 26 yoga postures (or positions) and breathing exercises all conducted in a space heated to approximately 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperatures associated with Hot Yoga are intended to facilitate greater flexibility, increased calorie burning, and, with long term commitment to the practice, reduced body fat and increased strength.

Many experts warn that some of the benefits associated with Hot Yoga may be limited at best, and that the practice can lead to dehydration and hyperthermia, both of which are dangerous conditions to be avoided whenever possible. Few people, however, question the many benefits of practicing traditional yoga, which is more traditionally known as Hatha Yoga, a practice that dates back thousands of years. Yoga may have been practiced as much as 3,500 years ago, as it seems to be mentioned in the sacred Hindu text known as the Rigveda which dates to approximately 1400 BCE.

The practice of yoga can be definitely linked to various practitioners alive during the 5th and 6th Centuries BCE, with mentions and illustrations of yoga located across much of present day India. Yoga remained largely an Indian (and Hindu) pursuit for much of the Common Era, with its practice only making inroads in Western society around the turn of the last century. Throughout the 20th Century yoga slowly grew in popularity in America, and in the last few decades of that century it caught on globally, both as a part of a fitness regimen and as a spiritual practice.

The word itself, yoga, is interpreted in many ways. It can be taken to mean everything from "to unite" or "exertion" or "combined." Regardless of the etymological specificities, which are blurred by time and by individual interpretation anyway, yoga is more popular today than at any point during its millennia of history. Those interested in practicing yoga or in studying its influences and its influence have at their disposal a wealth of source material, with more yoga books joining the panoply each and every year.

Yoga As Part Of A Fitness Routine

If you are interested in learning about and participating in yoga as part of a fitness regimen, then your study should involve both the positions and practices associated with yoga as well as a study of human anatomy. By blending a scientific approach to understanding the physiology of the body and the movements and exertions yo will experience in yoga, you can craft a holistic approach to exercise.

Yoga can help build long, lean muscles, and it can do wonders for flexibility. It cannot greatly increase your strength or build developed (e.g. "cut") muscles associated with lifting, however, and yoga can only do so much in terms of cardiovascular fitness development. (For the record, weightlifting will do little to improve flexibility, and might even limit it.)

A savvy athlete will use the practice of yoga to help maintain a flexible body and to strengthen his or her core. They will also use traditional strength training exercises, such as weight lifting, resistance training, and/or calisthenics, to develop specific muscle groups. Other cardiovascular training routines should also be a requisite for the dedicated fitness enthusiast, as yoga simply can't help someone achieve the same consistently elevated heart rate that jogging, cycling, rowing, or other activities provide.

The more a fitness enthusiast reads about yoga, the better he or she can fit its practice into a wider exercise routine. And keep in mind that while many people associate yoga with its spiritual aspects, there is no need to approach the practice as anything more than a physical activity if you so wish it. The benefits of limberness and flexibility are without question, even if you question your need for added mind-body and emotional connection.

Practicing Yoga For Mental And Spiritual Balance

Beyond the physical aspects of yoga -- the balance it requires and helps to develop, the core strength it refines, and the flexibility its long term practice leads too -- there is a potent emotional and spiritual side to the committed practice of yoga. If you're not sure yoga will suit you, or if you are struggling to make a deeper connection to this ancient discipline after your first forays, reading the right yoga book might be a great way to foster a deeper connection.

Some people treat yoga as a meditative experience, losing themselves in the practice and even melding aspects of Zen Buddhism (or other religious prayers or practices) with their yoga routine. Regardless of the depths to which you choose to associate yoga with emotional or spiritual introspection, the mere act of taking time to work on a discipline that inherently requires patience and devotion can have a markedly beneficial improvement on one's life.

Practicing and mastering yoga can help someone who may feel as though they are floundering in one aspect of their life find a renewed sense of balance and control. Even practicing yoga without mastery can have its benefits, as it forces the mind to reorient itself to a new set of challenges and goals.

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Last updated on December 15, 2016 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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