Yoga is a powerful tool for relaxation, strength building, and mental health. A few simple stretches can help your body relax and even treat mobility issues like back pain. Exercise has been known to combat the effects of depression and anxiety. This is especially true for yoga, which frequently uses mindfulness, another mental health technique, as a tool to center anxious or unkind thoughts.
Whether you’re a practiced yogi or looking to start on a fresh mat, here are 10 yoga books for all levels:
General Yoga Guides
1. Science of Yoga: Understand the Anatomy and Physiology to Perfect Your Practice
If yoga’s claims for health, mobility, and mental health feel far-fetched, then this anatomy-focused book is here to provide detailed information backed by science. Each asana, or yoga posture, features anatomic diagrams outlining the musculature and physical body of each pose, including blood flow, respiration, and body mechanics. This book provides research on yoga’s claims and provides readers with a thorough understanding of yoga’s impact on mental health and the physical body from a scientific standpoint.
2. Perfectly Imperfect: The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice
Author Baron Baptiste popularized his form of power yoga that revolves around flowing from one pose to the next, linking breathwork into each form rather than focusing on static holds. If that sounds intimidating, don’t worry, you can still explore the powers of yoga with this book.
Learn what happens to your body in each pose and how to tap into the personal growth that can blossom while working through the motions.
Daily Yoga Plan Books
3. Yoga Mind: Journey Beyond the Physical, 30 Days to Enhance your Practice and Revolutionize Your Life From the Inside Out
Yoga is more than meditative poses and mindfulness – the lessons found in yoga can enrich our lives every day. This 30-day guide gives readers opportunities to find peace in the busiest parts of our daily lives; in traffic, at work, or home. Author and renowned yogi Susan Colon takes the seemingly-lofty yoga ideal and helps readers create real, lasting change in their mental health, on and off the mat.
4. 365 Days of Yoga: Daily Guidance for a Healthier, Happier You
Looking for a guided, practical way to ease into a daily yoga practice? This bite-sized book offers easy, accessible ways to incorporate yoga into your everyday routine. It’s also full of mindfulness and meditation tips to help you make the most of your practice whether you have five minutes or 25.
Practical Yoga Pose Books
5. Restorative Yoga for Beginners: Gentle Poses for Relaxation and Healing
It’s not all about warrior or tree poses. Restorative yoga provides ample opportunity for rest and healing, whether readers are recovering from a recent injury or looking to add more relaxation to their daily practice. This book features 36 different poses and the therapeutic benefits of each. When you’re ready, you can curate a series of postures to suit your needs and help you relax even further.
6. Yoga: The Top 100 Best Yoga Poses
This informative, visual guide is perfect for those who want to know what child’s pose and sphinx pose look like before stepping onto a mat or taking a class. Filled to the brim with photos of each pose and step-by-step instructions, you can build your yoga practice from the ground up or use it to practice specific postures on your own time.
Accessible Yoga Books
7. Chair Yoga: Accessible Sequences to Build Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Calm
If the thought of trying to contort yourself into downward-facing dog fills you with dread, you’re not alone. This book offers accessible, easy yoga poses that can be done from a chair or couch, allowing beginners to ease into a yoga practice with compassion, self-love, and care. Perfect for those with mobility issues, pregnancy, or anyone who is maybe intimidated by the more intense-looking poses, this book offers simple, step-by-step introductory workouts for want-to-be yogis.
8. Yoga Happy: Simple Tools and Practices for Everyday Calm & Strength
This simple, beginner-friendly companion book is perfect for those who are looking for a slow introduction to yoga or want to deepen their practice in an accessible way. It includes full-color illustrations, daily practices, and ways to incorporate yoga lessons into everyday life. It also offers modified poses, breathing practices, and mindfulness techniques designed to make you more resilient and content against life’s challenges.
Yoga Books for Moms & Moms-to-Be
9. Yoga Mama: The Practitioner’s Guide to Prenatal Yoga
This prenatal yoga book is designed for pregnant mothers who have been doing yoga for some time. Practices are divided by trimester and offer insight into how the body changes during pregnancy, as well as mini-sessions to target things like morning sickness, low back pain, and more. It also includes pelvic floor work to aid mothers when giving birth.
10. Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby: Ayurveda and Yoga for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth
This all-around Ayurveda lifestyle book is for those who want to incorporate more than just yoga into their pregnancy journey, including journal prompts, massage tips, and yes, yoga for each month of pregnancy. It also includes tips for living with a newborn in the weeks following childbirth.
When to See a Therapist
For many, yoga and its elements of mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools to have in your mental health toolkit. They can all also help to improve your brain and body responses to daily anxieties and stressors. However, if you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, or toxic stress that has changed your quality of life, it’s probably time to talk to a professional and incorporate therapy alongside your yoga practice.