Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophy of mind, body and spirit. It’s not a religion (it comes from India, where the sage Patanjali saw the poses in visions, to help people to meditate). It can help physical ailments, as well as improve mental health, and so here are some nice books to get you started.
Avoid inversions if you have heart or eye problems (or are menstruating), and only do poses recommended by qualified practitioners if you have a medical condition or are pregnant.
The Best Beginner Yoga Books
Yoga Where You Are welcomes readers of all backgrounds, body sizes and abilities. Build a custom yoga practice to support you where you are now, and at every stage of life’s journey. Introducing elements like breathwork and meditation, find tips on alignment for real bodies and photos of a range of yoga practitioners, to deepen your practice with clarity and confidence.
365 Days of Yoga offers inspiration for your practice every day. This beautiful book features step-by-step guidance on the best-loved yoga poses, along with uplifting quotes and mindfulness techniques.
Yoga: The Guide to Poses, Practices and More is a beautifully designed guide to the history and philosophy, before tips on how to use it in everyday life. Author Lucy Lucas is a yoga teacher who began practicing after 15 years in finance. After training in Bali, she taught yoga in Ibiza and teaches classes and retreats in the UK. Learn to understand this ancient wisdom, with over 50 step-by-step sequences. Learn how we move and why it matters, and how yoga impacts upon the brain. The guide includes poses, a practice for hip strength and a gentle flow for boundaries, and letting in more of the good.
Yoga Bones is by occupational therapist and yoga teacher Laura Staton, who shows how to use yoga to recover from injury or after orthopedic surgery, with exercises designed to increase strength, and decrease pain. Organised by sections of the body, each chapter includes menu of photographed yoga exercises, with tips on healing. For example, a reader with neck pain can find a menu of physical stresses to lessen pain, but also energy exercises and meditations for holistic healing.
Kundalini Yoga Demystified is one of the first ‘non-whacko’ books to be written on this interesting subject. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will likely know of the controversy in finding out that the man who brought this unique style of yoga to the west, was not the man people thought he was. Yet it’s important to remember that he only brought it to the west – he was not Kundalini Yoga, which was kept secret for a long time, in order to prevent the powers it brings, to avoid any kind of abuse of power happening. This book has rave reviews from a woman who used the techniques she shares, to heal her own life.
Chair Yoga (for accessible sequences)
Chair Yoga is a nice guide for accessible yoga sequences, to help people be comfortable and fit, if you have physical restrictions due to age, a health condition, limited space etc. Find a quick primer on the benefits of chair yoga, and learn how to create your own practice.
There are 4 complete sequences to warm up your body, move while seated, incorporate more dynamic movement, and unwind or relax. You can then find 10 and 20 minute programs, with variations for each pose, so you can tailor your practice to your needs and schedule. This progressive approach builds up strength and flexibiity safely and comfortably, with exercises that slowly increase in difficulty.
Yoga for Pregnancy & Birth
Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond offers a safe guide to yoga postures specially adapted for each trimester, along with relaxation techniques and simple breathing exercises to adjust to the physical demands of labour, and give birth with confidence. From conception to birth, help to develop shared well-being and continue to reap the benefits of yoga after the birth, as you bond with your new baby, and regain your shape.
Yoga for Good Emotional Health
Yoga for Your Mood Deck offeres a unique and welcoming approach to fostering inner balance and mental stability. Certified yoga therapist Amy Weintraub offers beautifully illustrated cards that offer simple breathing protocols, basic stretches and traditional hand gestures (mudras) to sooth and integrate your emotional state. Each card is colour-coded and numbered for easy access. Pull a calming blue card if feeling stressed, or a red one to elevate your mood. Or a red breathing card and a blue relaxation pose if anxiety is paying an unwelcome visit. Green cards offer grounding practices, to close your mini-yoga session.
Yin Yoga is a lovely book by Canadian teacher Kassandra Reinhardt. This is a much slower style of yoga where you hold the poses for minutes at a time. As yin balances yang in Taoist philosophy, yin yoga focuses on holding and breathing through floor-based poses, for time and space to clear your mind and stretch your body. The 54 poses and 20 targeted sequences will help you attain mindfulness and physical wellbeing. The perfect antidote to a busy active yang lifestyle, to bring you back into balance.
Restorative Yoga for Beginners is a simple guide that focuses on this relaxing style of yoga that uses simple props, ideal for people who feel very stressed. Find the right position to reduce lower back pain, relieve stress, breathe easier, improve your energy and even prepare your body for childbirth. The book’s illustrated instructions help you get in and out of each pose safely, and comfortably. The book features 36 restorative yoga poses with labels of the therapeutic benefits of each, and 20 deeper healing sequences.
Yoga Books for Children
Dinosaur Yoga is by children’s yoga teacher Mariam Gates, combining yoga poses and a fun educational romp through prehistory. Children are encouraged to follow along as triceratops, pterodactyls and tyrannosaurs set aside their differences, and engage in a lively yoga session. The book features a parents’ guide to the depicted postures and a glossary of dinosaurs. With Dinosaur Yoga, children can stomp, stretch and snort their way to skills, to serve them for a lifetime.
Yoga Animals at the Seashore takes us to a beautiful day at the seashore, for readers age 3 and up. Follow Crab’s day along the shore and learn 13 yoga poses. First Crab will do it, then it’s the reader’s turn to try. The poses are devised by yoga instructor Christiane Kerr. Each pose is easy to learn and accompanied by simple instructions and pictures. The gentle story and beautiful illustrations are sure to stimulate a lifelong love of yoga.
Yoga Animals in the Forest is filled with adorable artwork and a charming introduction to yoga poses for children age 3 and above. A sluggish bear wakes from a deep sleep, and needs a good stretch to get his energy back, after a long nap. Follow Bear as he goes about his day, and learns some fun yoga poses on the way. Children are shown how to stretch, balance, reach and leap. And Bear also meets forest friends, who teach him how to boost his energy, stay calm and relax, using yoga.
Ten Little Yoga Frogs will have children trying all the different poses, alongside their new frog friends. A bright colourful story introduces children to ten basic yoga poses, and also doubles as the perfect first counting book. Can you count the different yoga frogs, and try out all the yoga poses?
My Heart Flies Open is an inclusive, empowering and uplifting picture book for girls of colour about yoga, meditation and coming home to self-love. Written and illustrated by Omileye Achikeobi-Lewis, all children will be charmed by this book. Starting with Easy Post (‘I am love’) and moving through Mountain Pose (‘I am stillness’), the guide presents a grounding sequence of 15 poses and affirmations. For ages 4 to 8.
Nurturing Your Family with Yoga shows how yoga can be a real part of everyday family life, and bring harmony and happiness to the home. Illustrated with beautiful inspiring photographs of children and adults practicing yoga together, the book includes clear concise explanations and a guide to 26 classic postures. Also includes visualisations to reduce anciety, and a Yoga in Bed sequence, to help children settle and sleep.
Zero Waste Yoga Mats & Clothing
If you practice yoga, choose zero waste yoga mats rather than toxic vinyl ones. A lot of yoga clothing is now made from recycled plastic bottles, so if you use it, wash in a microplastic catch bag.
Cork Yogis is a company that makes quality biodegradable cork yoga mats. Cork is a natural substance that is tapped from trees (they are not cut down). Keeping the cork industry alive (in a world of plastic wine corks) helps to preserve jobs, and therefore also to preserve trees, forests and native wildlife in Portugal.
Cork is a grippy substance that grips more as it gets wet, so an ideal material if you sweat during yoga class. The company sells quality yoga mats alongside blocks for people who practice yoga with props like blocks. The small ridges help to grip the floor with ease (lay your mat flat, with the rubber side down). Crafted to last a lifetime, these items donate a portion of profits to organisations that help to stop human trafficking in India.
Ocean Vegan Yoga Mat is made from premium organic jute fibres, for a durable non-slip surface that repels sweat, and is 100% biodegradable. This mat will last years, and is also good for any kind of home workout.
Downward Duck Upcycled Yoga Block is made from upcycled flip-flops, to stop them polluting the oceans. Each block is made from 21 flip-flops and also provides local jobs in Kenya.