My 5 favourite yoga books

5 favorite yoga books


Often I get asked the question what books I can recommend for yoga. There are so many, so which ones are the best? I am still struggling with this same problem, there are so many I still want to read, go through and see what insights they can give me. But so far, I have a small collection of books which I prefer over the other books I’ve read and studied.

The books are listed in random order, all of them bring something else to the table. So depending on what you’re looking for, these are my favourites.

The Key Poses of Yoga – By Ray Long

This book has a perfect illustration and description on how to perform the key poses in yoga. It shows which muscles you work and it explains how to use them correctly. I also gives insights about how the body functions: what happens when you stretch, how to awake the muscles, how to use the bandhas in the practice and it has an index of the poses discussed in the book.

To me it is a perfect book to look up a pose and figure out if I do it right and how I can improve. I also use it to prepare my classes: how to explain this pose clearly, what are the key pointers to look out for with my students.

Light on yoga – By B.K.S. Iyengar

This thick and elaborate book explains most poses you will perform during your practice. It has pictures of beginners’ poses up till advanced poses. Different from the Ray Long book, here the poses are explained from a yoga theory perspective. So not by showing the muscles and what happens under your skin, but it explains what yoga is. What are the key concepts, the stages in yoga, etcetera. After which it goes in-depth into the explanation and build up of the poses. The technique of each pose is explained in steps followed by the desired effects.

I use this book as a reference for my practice, my classes and as an inspiration to my sequences. It deepens my knowledge. Every time when I open this book, new information is there. Not only because it has so many poses, but also because my understanding of yoga and the poses deepens.

The heart of Yoga ­– By T.K.V. Desikachar

Desikachar is the son of the greatest yoga legend of modern time. So my expectations of this book were high. Rightfully so! If you are a beginner or advanced yoga practitioner, this book really helps you in many situations. When you begin it gives you a solid understanding on how to do yoga, how to connect your movement with the breath and how to do asana’s (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises). If you are more advanced, it also give great insight in the philosophy of his father, Krishnamacharya. To me, this is a must read for any level yoga practitioner.

How yoga works – By Geshe Michael Roach

This book had been on my shelf for a very very long time. And I did not dare to start it, because it is thick and I felt that I had to be ready to go into a detailed book about how yoga works. But nothing of that fear turned out true. This is a great book which I love to read, over and over again. It is a story, in which yoga is being explained. The yoga sutras are being passed on in a playful way. It gave me the feeling it was ok to not remember everything at once, but to grasp the underlying concepts and ideas behind yoga. Every time I go back to the book, it shows me something new and it makes me realize how much more there is to yoga: how much more I can still learn. And I love it!

The power of now – By Eckhart Tolle

A classic book if you are looking for more understanding about your spiritual path. It doesn’t necessarily write about yoga poses or yoga philosophy, but it does give you an incredible insight in how to be in the now. Why is this important, why do we not live in the now? And what can we do about it.

This is the first book I ever read when I became interested in spirituality or simply just getting to know myself better. It was truly eye-opening at that time and inspiring now. Whenever I re-read this book, the insights are countless.

I hope you enjoy my list of books. I am always looking for inspiration and tips. So if you have any, please feel free to share them!

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