Classic Books on Yoga

(1) B.K.S. Iyengar’s seminal 1966 book Light on Yoga is still the best for its encyclopedic illustration of hundreds of yoga poses. He is considered the world’s greatest living yoga master, having refined and perfected many of the techniques now widely taught in the West.

(2) Recently departed Pattabhi Jois was one of the last great living Yoga masters and Yoga Mala was his distillation of the philosophy and practices of his own creation ‘Ashtanga’. Brought into English by Eddie Stern, a student of Jois’s for twelve years and director of the Patanjali Yoga Shala in New York City, Yoga Mala will be an indispensable handbook for students and teachers of yoga for years to come.

(3) The Practice Manual by David Swenson. Containing the entire Primary and Intermediate series of Ashtanga Yoga with three options for every asana, this spiral bound book is designed to remain easily remain open while practicing. It contains over 650 photos with clear instructions and commentary.

(4) Anatomy of Hatha Yoga is an authoritative source book that correlates the study of hatha yoga with anatomy and physiology. This book is a cornucopia of readable and reliable information, written and edited to meet the needs of a general audience largely unschooled in the biomechanical sciences. This book features 230 black and white photographs and more than 120 diagrams and anatomical illustrations.

(5) The Heart of Yoga – Developing a Personal Practice by Desikachar ‘I can think of no better book to recommend to a friend beginning to be excited by yoga but bewildered by the plethora of different schools and their sometimes-conflicting teachings. In addition, I would be hard-pressed to think of a book I would recommend more highly to any yoga student seeking to deepen a yoga practice. . . . The great gift of The Heart of Yoga lies not simply in the depth of Desikachar’s learning, but in the compassion, gentleness, practicality, and down-to-earth spirit that permeate the book.’ — Yoga Journal