The 7 Best Yoga Books for Beginners


oga is not just something you do. As the seven best yoga books for beginners each reveal, yoga is a discipline that is rich in history. There is a background and story to every aspect of yoga, so beginners must understand this in order to get the maximum benefit. In addition, starting anything new requires discipline, and these books will help instill that.

The best yoga books for beginners will not only delve into the more than 3,000-year history of yoga, but they will instruct readers how to do each pose in a proper and meaningful way. Different books will usually approach yoga from a slightly different perspective. You can learn at your own pace. The 7 best yoga books for beginners we recommend are:

  1. Light on Yoga – B.K.S. Lyengar
  2. Yoga Sutras – Patanjali
  3. Yogic Lifestyle – Melissa Lavery
  4. The Language of Yoga – Nicolai Bachman
  5. Eastern Body, Westen Mind – Andonea Judith
  6. The Heart of Yosa – T.K.V. Desikachar
  7. Yoga Rising – Melanie C. Klein

Continue reading if you want to learn more about each book. You might consider reading all seven to gain a solid yogic background. Each of these books is written by individuals who are widely considered to be the foremost experts in yoga. Some were written years ago, while others are more contemporary in their scope. Continue reading to discover why these books can be so meaningful to you.

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What is the Best Yoga Book for Beginners?

Light on Yoga is largely considered the best yoga book for beginners. This book has been educating and informing yoga practitioners since 1979. By reading it, you will learn how the various poses complement one another and lead to a state of mindfulness. There are other books to consider as well. 

Can I Learn Yoga from Books?

Books are a great way to be introduced to the basics of yoga. This is how you can learn about the history of the discipline and begin to understand the various poses that you will want to do. At some point, you will want to learn from an experienced yoga instructor, but books will give you a jump start. 

You will find that the great way to learn yoga is by doing the actual poses. However, knowledge is what gets you there. It is helpful to read about yoga from professionals so that you can have a better feel for what you need to do. This is how you will be able to develop the healthier person that yoga is meant to provide for you. 

(You can also learn yoga from videos. Check out the best yoga YouTube for beginners!)

The 7 Best Yoga Books for Beginners

The best yoga books for beginners are those that give the reader a foundation in the discipline upon which they can build. While not every book will resonate with everyone who reads them, the following seven books get consistently positive reviews. They are known for solidifying yoga as an art and teaching practitioners how to get the most out of the discipline. 

1. B.K.S. Lyengar by Light on Yoga

Light on yoga is such a helpful book for beginners because it focuses on the basics of the discipline. Iyengar does this by going over the three essential components of yoga. These include:

  1. Postures
  2. Breathwork
  3. Mindfulness

This is not merely an introductory book. Each of the concepts covered in this book is delved into with quite a bit of detail. It is a comprehensive book for beginners that helps the reader master the art of yoga through the printed word.

As you go through this book, you will be greeted by hundreds of images that detail how each physical posture should look. This allows you to then work hard to replicate each pose in order to get the maximum benefit. You can gauge your own progress against the images that are contained in the book to discover areas for improvement. 

Light on Yoga is also a book that contains detailed instructions for how to engage in pranayama effectively. This is the breathing part of yoga. Readers will discover how to bridge: 

  1. Breath
  2. Mind
  3. Body

This will increase one’s own mindfulness. There are plenty of images in the book to help guide you. While not all of the images will be helpful to a beginner right away, they are building blocks upon which one can easily grow in their ability to do yoga effectively. 

2. Patanjali by Yoga Sutras

If you have ever wanted to learn more about yoga and its non-asana components, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the book for you. This is a beginner’s book that will provide you with some great advice if you wish to become a master over your own mind. This book is translated into English, but the original Sanskrit is still there to explore if one desires to in the future. 

There are a number of sutras presented in this book. Sutras are thought threads that help individuals get their minds centered and ready to be rid of the clutter the everyday life tends to fill us up with. The sutras are designed to help beginners learn just what it means to practice yoga.

The first sutra in the book illustrates how useful this text is to beginners. Since the sutras are timeless and fundamental to yoga, this is a book that everyone will continually use for years. You will keep opening its pages to receive some new words of wisdom or insight. 

Each time that you read a sutra, a new meaning or message will likely come across. This is what makes yoga so worthwhile as an art. It creates a new sense of mindfulness that removes clutter and replaces it with positive thinking. This book teaches so many things about yoga and life, such as how to better interact and communicate with others. (Also, learn more about who is Patanjali here)

3. Melissa Lavery by Yogic Lifestyle

This is a book that provides beginners with the solid foundation that they need almost immediately to find benefit from the practice of yoga. The Yogic Lifestyle sets a foundation for the true freedom that yoga can bring to individuals. It approaches yoga from the perspective that it leads to actualization. 

This book will help readers see that yoga can lead to an awakening of the mind. This is a way to achieve mindfulness so that individuals will feel more fulfilled and purposeful in their lives. By setting a solid foundation from the beginning, yoga can be a part of one’s lifestyle that never goes away.

Much of the Yogic Lifestyle is written in Sanskrit. There really is no substitute for this language, as it is beautiful and leads to a purer understanding of yoga and its benefits. The author points out how yoga in Sanskrit means union. This brings about liberation from suffering unlike anything else in life can provide.

Readers will also discover how yoga leads to the joy of just Being. Slowing down and savoring every moment that life brings is what will bring us true fulfillment and allow us to get rid of the fears and attachments that often keep us from living a joy filled life.

4. Nicolai Bachman by The Language of Yoga

The Language of Yoga is written as a postural guide to yoga, so beginners will be able to better understand the ancient roots of the practice. This is vital to understanding how yoga has benefitted so many people over the millennia. 

Through reading this book, readers will learn all about yoga’s ancient roots and how that has resulted in the modern practice of asana. The names of the postures are written in Sanskrit, as the Bachman aims to use this book as a way to pay tribute to the traditional roots of yoga.

The book itself is rich with imagery. You will find more than poses, each one illustrated and containing both the Sanskrit and English names. Also contained in this book are a number of chants and sutras. 

If you have never learned how to speak Sanskrit and properly pronounce various aspects of yoga, this book contains a pronunciation guide that will help you do exactly that. Beginners will quickly learn to master the various poses and the scripts that go with various meditative chants.

5. Anodea Judith by Eastern Body, Western Mind

With Eastern Body, Western Mind, beginners will find a book that teaches them a great deal about the chakras. If you have ever wondered what that is and how it applies to yoga, this is the book that will get you there. Essentially, chakras are various energies that exist within the body and soul of every person. 

The author does a great job explaining chakras in a way that virtually anyone can understand. This leads to an understanding of eastern philosophy mixed with western psychology. By bridging these two concepts, the ancient practice of yoga will begin to click in the beginner’s mind.

6. T.K.V. Desikachar by The Heart of Yoga

The Heart of Yoga is a great book for beginners because it contains many of the teachings of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. He is one of the instrumental figures in the development of yoga. The teachings he provided have served to inspire yoga practitioners for several thousand years. Learning from him is like learning from the founding father. 

The Heart of Yoga contains a summary of his teaching, most of which were passed down to his son, who then wrote them down. Readers will discover the notion of viniyoga as they read this book. This is how yoga can continually evolve in the life of practitioners and provide each individual with the energy they need to move through life. 

In effect, yoga is designed to be what the person needs in the moment. The Heart of Yoga will help readers to visualize that and then begin to put it into practice. The following are included in this book:

  1. Poses
  2. Meditations
  3. Philosophical practices
  4. Much more

The entire book is dedicated to helping beginner, and advanced yoga practitioners alike achieve asana in their own way and on their own time.

7. Melanie C. Klein by Yoga Rising

The stories contained within the pages of Yoga Rising make it a meaningful read for beginners. These are the type of personal and first-hand accounts that highlight why yoga has become such an important part of the lives of millions of people around the world.

The author has assembled 30 people from various walks of life to talk about the ways that yoga has impacted them. You will find people of various disability statuses, sexual orientations, races, and ages represented here. It is this cross-section of people that makes this book so effective. 

Readers will learn how to liberate their bodies through the practice of yoga. These are the stories of average individuals with normal lives who have turned to yoga to give them meaning and purpose. Their stories are inspirational and can really help beginners get excited about the practice of yoga. 

(If you want to learn more about yoga, there is a whole community of beginners learning yoga online!)


While it is something you need to do in order to gain benefit from, books are a great way to teach you how to maximize the discipline. These seven books will give you a well-rounded education in the art of yoga. You will learn about its history and how it can benefit your whole body. 

Now that you’ve read some good books to get you started with yoga, you may want to look into online yoga for beginners.

Caleb Sharbono is a writer, bio-hacker, wellness advocate, and yogi. Caleb, who grew up on a small Montana ranch, joined the Navy at 17 to study cryptology. He later graduated from the US Naval Academy with a Minor in Mandarin, a Bachelor's in General Engineering, and a Major in English Literature. Caleb's interests and career cover diverse industries and disciplines. Caleb lives in San Antonio and is a Certified Yoga Instructor. He is also studying Zen Buddhism, practicing Holistic Psychology, and working towards his 300-hour yoga teacher training.


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