The 7 Best Books for Yoga Teacher Training


f you are ready to become a yoga teacher, it is time to start investing in some books that will help train you. With all of the books on the market today specifically targeting yoga teacher training, the question becomes where to start. Since your time is valuable, it is important to look for only the best books for yoga teacher training. 

The best yoga teacher training books are those that combine philosophy with insightful and meaningful meditative practices. You will find that these books help you to physically learn each yoga pose and movement while simultaneously deepening your own practice and connection with your inner-self. 

The 7 Best Books for Yoga Teacher Training are:

  1. Hatha Yoga Pardipika – Swami Satyananada Sarawswati
  2. Yoga for Wellness – Gary Kraftsow
  3. Four Chapters on Freedom – Swami Satyananada Saraswati
  4. The Royal Path – Swami Rama
  5. The Bhagavad Gita – Translation by Christopher Isherwood
  6. Living with the Himalayan Masters – Swami Rama
  7. Path of Fire and Light: Volumes 1 and 2 – Swami Rama

Investing in yoga teacher training is a positive move in terms of your personal and professional growth. However, it is important to use your time wisely and spend it with only the best yoga teachers and mentors. Continue reading to discover seven of the best books on the market today for yoga teacher training, and get ready to begin your own journey. 

Article Topics

What Are the Reading Requirements For Yoga Teacher Training?

To be a licensed yoga teacher, several requirements must first be met. One is that training needs to be completed at a Registered Yoga School. Either a 200- or 500-hour level course is necessary. Also, 30 hours of continuing education class must be taken every three years. 

To be a registered yoga teacher at the 200-hour level, all of the training must be taken at the same school. It needs to be in one continuous course, so multiple training academies are not allowed to be combined just to meet the 200-hour requirement for licensing. 

The requirements for a 500-hour level yoga teacher training are a bit different:

  1. Students can complete a 200-hour course at one school
  2. Then go to another registered yoga academy to complete the further 300 hours.

In order to be registered at this level, a total of 100 hours of teaching must be logged after the initial coursework has been completed. 

What Should I Read Before Yoga Teacher Training?

If you are about to begin yoga teacher training, there are a few books that have been recommended by many who have already walked in your shoes. Two of the more commonly recommended books are:

  1. Light on Yoga
  2. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 

Some people about to go through yoga teacher training have found it helpful to read these books before the program begins. This can give you a head start and a better understanding of what you will be learning. Others prefer to wait until the training begins in order to have a fresh starting point. The choice is ultimately up to you and your learning style. 

What Books Are Used for Yoga Teacher Training?

Just as there are many different schools and philosophies of yoga, there are many different books that are used for yoga teacher training. Over 5,000 years, yoga has evolved into a discipline that cannot be boiled down to just a few books. Some books are used more than others. 

The 7 Best Books for Yoga Teacher Training

While there are certainly many books that you can read to prepare for yoga teacher training, there are some that are simply better than all of the others. Some have been written more recently, while others have been in circulation for many decades. With that in mind, here are what we believe are the seven best books for yoga teacher training that you can read today. 

1. Hatha Yoga Pardipika – Swami Satyananada Sarawswati

Hatha Yoga is considered by many to be the most essential text ever published about tantric yoga. Many argue that it is not read enough by yoga teachers and practitioners, which is why it is now a required text in many yoga teacher training programs. The book itself is complex in scope but simple in its approach. Once you read it, you will know what we mean. 

The reason that this book is one of the best for yoga teacher training is that it truly takes students through the discipline step by step. It begins by teaching readers what they need to be doing, and then it moves into exactly how to accomplish that. Finally, it touches on areas that many teachers fail at before moving into a description of how to overcome those failures. 

2. Yoga for Wellness – Gary Kraftsow

In Yoga for Wellness, readers learn much more than just the physical poses that have made yoga so popular. While the book does cover how to stretch and twist, it also teachers how to heal the body and soul, leading to a better overall sense of well-being. This is a book created for yoga teacher training as it covers many different practices of yoga in use around the world today. 

This is a contemporary book written by Gary Kraftsow, who is one of the most highly regarded yoga teachers alive today. He focuses this book on the holistic aspect of yoga. A particular focus is healing and well-being. There are also more than a thousand photographs throughout the book, each one depicting basic yoga postures and movements.

This is an aid to teachers. 

What makes this book unique is that it contains a number of case studies. These are real stories of clients that the author has worked with through the years. Each client responds differently to various breathing and visualization exercises. Gary is then able to help aspiring teachers know how to better read their clients and direct them to the school of yoga best for them. 

3. Four Chapters on Freedom – Swami Satyananada Saraswati

Four Chapters on Freedom is believed to be one of the best and most translations of the Yoga Sutras that has ever been printed. This makes it an ideal text for yoga teacher training programs.

This particular translation is concise and gets right to the point of each component of yoga without getting bogged down with too much philosophy or dogma. 

This simplistic nature of the translation allows the essence of the sutras to come alive for the student. The book is comprised of the complete Sanskrit text of Yoga sutras from Rishi Patanjali. It also provides a comprehensive and detailed commentary so that students of yoga can understand it better.

There are also 196 total Yoga epithets contained within the pages of this book. 

4. The Royal Path – Swami Rama

The Royal Path is where the east meets the west in terms of Yoga philosophy. Swami Rama is believed to be the first yogi from the Himalayan region to show the Western world how much self-mastery can be achieved from the Yoga sutras.

He begins by looking at the ancient roots of Yoga and illustrates how they can be used today to attain spiritual relevance in life. 

This book is so effective as a yoga teacher training text because it outlines everything in a step-by-step fashion. Aspiring teachers will leave knowing how to complete the physical poses of yoga and how to teach others how to do them as well.

Also discussed are the principles of mental discipline and ethical commitment that are fundaments to that practice of yoga. 

5. The Bhagavad Gita – Translation by Christopher Isherwood

While there are many translations of The Bhagavad Gita out there, this is considered to be the best one. It is also highly regarded as a yoga teacher training book because it is so simple to follow along with. This book also contains a bonus as it has an introduction included that was written by Aldous Huxley. This is a bit of philosophy you cannot find anywhere else. 

This book focuses on the Hindu aspects of yoga. It is so simple to understand that someone with no background in the religion can easily begin to follow along after just one or two sittings. The translation captures the essence of the text in a poetic and literary fashion. Yoga teachers will be better as a result of reading this book. 

6. Living with the Himalayan Masters – Swami Rama

Living with the Himalayan Masters is a classic memoir written by the late Swami Rama. It is so useful as a yoga teaching training text because it takes certain events that happened in the life of the author and uses those to highlight spiritual truths that are essential to the yogic discipline. It is also a guide to those who are just starting out on the path to enlightenment. 

Since Swami Rama is so highly regarded amongst those who practice yoga, it is amazing to learn directly from him. It is in this book that he talks about his childhood and how he was brought up to learn about the truths found in yoga and Hindu beliefs.

He does not use lectures to illustrate his point. Rather, he talks about his own experiences and uses those to prove a point. 

This book is also so powerful because it contains wisdom from other yoga masters other than Swami Rama. This includes Mataji of Assam. He was a 96-year-old sage who is reported to have never slept. Also, within this book is Uria Baba, who explains why every human being alive today can be healed. 

7. Path of Fire and Light: Volumes 1 and 2 – Swami Rama

Path of Fire and Light is also written by Swami Rama. This is a teacher training text that takes readers through a comprehensive overview of advanced pranayama exercises. If you want to be a hatha yoga teacher, you need to learn these hatha yoga techniques that focus on breathing and how this brings people to a deeper and more meaningful meditative state. 

Swami Rama uses this book to share some of the yoga techniques that are rooted in ancient practices and that lead to spiritual growth amongst its practitioners. It is geared towards western students who might not have a background in eastern philosophy. The goal of the book is to lead readers to a deeper understanding of self-realization. 

Required Books for Yoga Teacher Training

The books that are required for your specific yoga teacher training will depend on the studio or organization offering the training. Every venue tends to have its own books that the instructors feel are most valuable to yoga teacher training sessions. Take a look at the program you are considering, and then purchase the books that are applicable to your program. 


Now that you know more about the seven best books for yoga teacher training, it is time to consider adding them to your library if you have not already done so. Remember that the path to becoming a yoga teacher is a long but fulfilling one. The lives that you will impact along the way will make it all worth it in the end. 

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.


Online Yoga Planet

Subscribe to the Online Yoga Planet email list for exclusive access to curated content and special offers.