People often ask me to recommend yoga books or materials and I'm sometimes not sure how to respond because as you can see there are are a lot of things I love! I'm sorry there are not more videos/DVDs on this list, but the only DVD I ever used regularly was the MTV yoga way back in the day (actually it was pretty good!). Enjoy!
Yoga: The Spirit & Practice of Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann
Erich is my mentor, and so his book is obviously at the top of my list! This book delivers the big picture of yoga in lovely, easy to understand way. The meditation practices are easy to follow, and the asana instruction is perfectly clear.
Yoga For Wellness by Gary Kraftsow
My dance teacher is a student of Gary Kraftsow and few of my dance friends and I took several months to do every single practice in this book. It’s a wealth of information about functional movement patterns and the therapeutic applications of yoga. Also check out his Viniyoga DVDs for the back, which I always recommend to beginners and people with back pain.
The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar: This is one of the first yoga books I ever bought and I keep going back to it over and over again and learn something new every time.
The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle
This book, and the research Daniel Coyle has done on how people learn skills has revolutionized how I practice and how I teach, and this book in particular is full of inspiring little nuggets that are short enough to read in class.
Your Body Your Yoga by Bernie Clark
Bernie Clark is a longtime student of Paul Grilley and this book is an anatomy manual that reinforces my approach to anatomy with the understanding that every body is unique.
Anatomy Trains by Tom Myers
This book is seriously dense. Another, perhaps more accessible, way to get this material is through Tom Myer’s awesome webinars on the Anatomy Trains website. The main point is that muscles do not work in isolation, but in connected lines (trains) via fascia. Yay, fascia!
Scientific Keys Volume 1: Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga by Ray Long
Illustrations are creepy skeletons with eyes! But also great visualization of what muscles are being stretched and being strengthened in various yoga poses.
Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff
Leslie Kaminoff masterfully describes the anatomy of breath, how to breathe, and goes into great detail about what is going on anatomically in various asanas. Awesome illustrations.
Back Sense by Donald D. Siegel, Psy.D, Michale H. Urdang, and Douglas R. Johnson, MD
This book describes the cycle of back pain, how stress contributes to chronic pain, and how to break that cycle. Great for understanding back pain and how yoga can help.
The Complete Book of Vinyasa by Srivatsta Ramaswami
Complete, indeed! Lots of photos and detailed descriptions of various vinyasa sequences in the tradition of our pal Sri T. Krishnamacharya.
Yoga the Iyengar Way by Silva, Mira & Shyam Mehta
This book contains wonderful photos and simple instructions for getting into and out of the fundamental asanas, as well as outlines benefits and contraindications.
Hands-on Adjustments: Techniques for Adjusting Yoga Postures DVD by David Keil
A good resource for yoga teachers, the main benefit of this DVD is that it clearly describes the intention behind the assists, and there is an emphasis on making connections not corrections.
How to Meditate by Pema Chodron
Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun whose writings are very personable, funny, and profound. All of her books are delightful. This is a great place to start and even experienced meditators will find gems in here.
The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
Originally letters to a student, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh elaborates on the practice of mindfulness in daily life.
Eastern Wisdom for the Western Mind by Joseph Apraia and Lobsang Rapgay
This book contains several basic meditation techniques as well as “case studies” that illustrate how meditation can benefit people in their everyday lives.
Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch
Yes, the director of all those weird movies. It’s fun to listen to this as an audiobook. A short read about how transcendental meditation has benefits for creativity.
Sanskrit & Yogic Texts
Language of Yoga by Nicolai Bachman
The CD that goes along with this book makes learning Sanskrit vocabulary super easy. Play it in your car and practice and your pronunciation will be on point!
The Secret of the Yoga Sutra: Samadhi Pada by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
This is my current favorite translation of the yoga sutras (though it covers only chapter one of four). It makes the real-life application of the sutras relevant to today, and it also has the sankskrit, transliteration and word-for-word translation. Other good sutra translations are Light on the Yoga Sutras by B.K.S. Iyengar and How to Know God by Swami Prabhavanda & Christopher Isherwood.
The Bhagavad Gita by Stephen Mitchell
This is a less scholarly translation, that is actually a compilation of multiple translations of the conversation between Arjuna and Krishna about yoga, and the yoga of action. Though maybe not word-for-word accurate, the writing is poetic and easy to read.
Myths of the Asanas by Alanna Kaivalya
The stories behind the names of the poses! An engaging little book.
Yoga Gems by Georg Fuerstein
A collection of inspiring anecdotes and quotes about all things yoga.
Mudras by Gertrud Hirschi
Various mudras illustrated, with descriptions of benefits and applications.
Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
These aren’t yoga books at all but they’re still great little books about how to stay inspired and do creative work (like teaching!).
Yoga Therapy & Integrative Medicine: Where Ancient Science Meets Modern Medicine by Larry Payne, Terra Gold, and Eden Goldman
If you’re interested in the therapeutic applications of yoga this is a good place to start. Contributions from yoga teachers and doctors of western medicine on various topics.