6 Great Iyengar Books for your Bookshelf

Open book image
photo credit jonas jacobsson

Whether you’re an Iyengar fanatic or not, if you love yoga then there are a few Iyengar books you need on your bookshelf. Now!

BKS Iyengar and his family have dedicated their lives to the study, practice & sharing of yoga. Take a dip in to these six books and get yourself some yoga learning.

Light on Yoga – BKS Iyengar

The yoga text book of the Gods! If this isn’t on your teaching training book list you probably need to find out why. This. Instant!

Amazing to think that it was first published in 1966 and yet it is still one of the most popular and relevant yoga texts. I bought my copy many years ago when I started teaching and refer to it regularly!

Filled with photographs of a young Mr Iyengar in the yoga poses. Each photographed pose is accompanied by a breakdown of the pose’s sanskrit meaning, a detailed, step by step description of the pose technique and a conclusion describing the effects of the pose.

There are also separate chapters discussing bandhas, pranayama & therapies along with other aspects of yoga. I review Light on Yoga in more detail here.


It’s amazing to think that Light on Yoga was first published in 1966

The Tree of Yoga – BKS Iyengar

If you are keen to understand yoga in all its depth then this is a book for you. Not an asana book but a study of the whole of yoga philosophy in the words of Mr Iyengar.

It is a small book of small chapters but it packs a punch with its meaning and insight. Yoga is a vast topic but this book manages to break down and explore those topics with clarity in just a few pages.

It’s the kind of book that you can dip in and out of and use as reference. I love those sort of books!

The Tree of Yoga is broken down into five parts exploring the following:

Part 1 – yoga & life. Covering aspects of love, family, faith & death

Part 2 – the tree of yoga. How the elements of the tree symbolize the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Part 3 – yoga & health. The health benefits we are all familiar with

Part 4 – self & its journey. Spiritual journey and the growth of the yoga student

Part 5 – yoga in the world – the art of yoga and the role of the teacher

Scattered Iyengar yoga books with cup of herbal tea

Light on Life – BKS Iyengar

 Mr Iyengar incorporates his yoga journey and personal anecdotes in the pages of this fascinating exploration of yoga.

Focusing on his own experiences and discussing the role of yoga and how it can improve our lives for the better. Delve in for a clearer understanding of the yoga journey.

I’ve also found this book to be a great help from a teaching perspective. Many of the quotes and passages are a great inspiration.

“Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal”

Iyengar books are great resources for the yoga practitioners and yoga teachers

YOGA – The Path to Holistic Health – BKS Iyengar

If you’re a yogi you’ll love this book. If you’re a yoga teacher you’ll need this book.

This is one Iyengar book that is more of a manual than a yoga text (although there is a section on yoga philosophy). This is a great book describing poses and sequences using the props that Iyengar yoga is synonymous with.

If you are a visual person like me you will find this book to be worth it’s weight in gold. (And that’s a lot because this book is heavy!)

Individual poses are broken down in to there sanskrit meanings, instructions on the one and necessary cautions.

There is a large chapter on the topic of ‘yoga for stress’ which also incorporates a number of restorative yoga poses.

The chapter ‘yoga for ailments’ incorporates pages of yoga sequences to address specific ailments and conditions.

Soooooo useful. Don’t underestimate its value for your class planning and yoga teaching career.

BKS Iyengar isn’t the only family member publishing books

Yoga, A Gem for Women – Geeta S. Iyengar

Ok, so not by BKS but, nevertheless, an invaluable book for practitioners and teachers alike which is why I’m including it in this list of Iyengar books.

Written by BKS Iyengar’s daughter, Geeta, this is the classic yoga book for women.

Wherever you are on your female journey, Geeta discusses the milestones in a woman’s life – menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Separate chapters are dedicated to the poses, breathing techniques and meditation to support a woman through these milestones.

Another great book for teachers as there are lots of variations and special instructions for using props and adapting poses for all levels of practitioner.

Iyengar The Yoga Master – Kofi Busia

Although not strictly an Iyengar authored book, this is a collection of stories, anecdotes and essays about BKS Iyengar written by yoga practitioners.

I only recently came across this book and have loved reading the stories of the many yoga teachers and yogis who have contributed.

I always enjoy reading about the experiences of others. It is fascinating to learn from the different perspectives of other people.

This is not a complete list of all of the published Iyengar books available but if you haven’t yet got yourself a copy beg, buy or borrow a copy now for a dose of pure yogic wisdom.

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Great Yoga Business Resources for Yoga Teachers

Love the practice. Yep. Got the certification. Yep. All inspired to get started on teaching. Yep. Got the business side sorted. Hmmm……..

Yoga teachers are always bursting with enthusiasm and passion for teaching but sometimes the business side of it all goes a bit awry.

Every yoga teacher needs access to great yoga business resources as much as they need a classic yoga text. Take a look at these readily available and super useful resources to support your yoga teaching career.

Books

The Art & Business of Teaching Yoga by Amy Ippoliti & Taro Smith

A great business book to support your yoga teaching career

This book packs a punch and is presented in a down to earth and understandable way.  And like a good class, yoga themes are weaved in to the business advice.

These are the reasons I love it…

  • Written by a yoga teacher who walks the walk.  Personal experience of the whole ‘building a yoga business’ thing.
  • Lots of practical and realistic tips on the tedious but, nevertheless, important stuff.  You know the kind of thing.  Finances, insurances, liability issues etc
  • A great chapter on how to present yourself as a teacher.  You, after all, are the business
  • Useful and implementable social media marketing tips
  • Great yoga class planning and teaching tips too
  • Small paperback, throw in your bag, kind of format.  I love that this is not a hefty, intimidating textbook.
  • Overall, a ‘go to’ reference for any yogi building a yoga teaching career

The Yogi Entrepreneur – A Guide to Earning a Mindful Living by   Darren Main

Earning a mindful living for yoga teachers

Darren is a long term yoga teacher and his book shares many great tips for the entrepreneurial yoga teacher

Reasons to read

  • Lots of information presented in lists, bullet points and Q&A’s.  I find this kind of presentation much more readable.
  • A great chapter on website building.  Although a website isn’t an absolute must do initially it does have its benefits.
  • Comprehensive section on finances and taxes.
  • Very useful examples of how to figure out pricing for classes & workshops and bigger events such as retreats and trainings.
  • A big section with marketing suggestions that vary from simple & free to more complex & costly.

Darren also published a book in 2019 that focuses fully on Social Media for Teachers and Healers.  Although I haven’t read a copy I’m sure it is worth a look.

Organization Stationery

Keeping your business organized and efficient helps to manage your time and, in turn, keep your career on track.

yogaskinnystudio’s range of yoga stationery is a great way to keep your classes, time and finances in check.

Use a printable timesheet to track your classes, student numbers, invoicing and payments.

yoga timesheet filled in example
Numbers are just an example!! Yoga timesheets available for full time & part time yoga teachers

Podcasts

Yoga Teacher Resource with Mado Hesselink

I came across Mado’s podcast and haven’t stopped listening and re-listening since!

She posts every week and her podcasts are a mixture of interviews, advice pieces and business tips. She’s covered a spectrum of yoga related topics from beginner teaching nerves to joint health in poses.

I love her podcasts as they are just like Goldilocks’ porridge.  Not too long and not too short.  Just right.

There are several podcasts discussing marketing and making a living – one of the biggest challenges for any yoga teacher!

I encourage you to take a listen.  You won’t regret it.

Every yoga teacher needs some great business resources

J Brown

If you are interested in listening to some thought provoking yoga interviews covering business (among other great yoga topics) then J Brown’s podcast is the way to go.

Over time J Brown has interviewed many amazing and inspiring yoga teachers and practitioners covering all sorts of yoga related topics.

The length of the podcasts are quite long so more of a time commitment for this one but a great deal of interesting and useful content.

Websites

Yoga Journal

Yoga Journal has been around for some time now and is always to be found on Barnes & Noble shelves.  The online version of Yoga Journal has some great content for yoga teachers.  You can also subscribe to Yoga Journal to gain access to sequence builders, teaching insurance and teaching advice.

Yoga International

Yoga International is a great resource for teachers and practitioners alike.  It features a great amount of teaching and business related articles.  It is on a subscription basis but you can sign up for a 30 day trial if you want to take a commitment free peek.

teach.yoga

This website offers a really inspiring and eclectic selection of articles from yoga teachers and practitioners.  It has a very welcoming community vibe to it and appeals to me as it doesn’t have the corporate glossiness of some yoga websites. Curl up in your comfy yoga pants with a cup of tea for company and have a browse.

Mindbodygreen

There are a number of yoga related websites similar to mindbodygreen in that they publish articles across a range of health & self care topics.  They’re all great with something to offer but my go to website is mindbodygreen.

Take advantage of all of the many resources available to you and make your yoga teaching career shine!

Please know that I am an affiliate which means that I may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you, from any items you may buy through a link from my website 🙂

Yoga Decluttering for Yoga Teachers & Instructors

Declutter and streamline your yoga class plans
Do your yoga class plans spark joy?

Do your yoga class plans spark joy?  Have you ever applied Marie Kondo’s decluttering method (the life changing magic of tidying up) to your yoga class planning?  As the evenings get longer and the weather cooler, take the opportunity to declutter and streamline your yoga teaching.

Downloadable PDF yoga class plans
Choose from 3 designs for your yoga class planner template

Midway through a recent office declutter I came across old bundles of yoga class plans on scraps of paper, index cards and spread throughout numerous notebooks.  It was time to transfer all of the elements of my class planning that ‘sparked joy’ and incorporate them in to the new, streamlined and organized yoga class plan system that I’d started to use.

Declutter Your Yoga Life

Out went…..

Yoga Magazines

Numerous yoga magazines from different publishers.  I tore out a handful of inspiring and teaching related articles that I wanted to keep.  And I also spent time gathering a stack of yoga imagery that I like to use for art journaling purposes.

I haven’t renewed any of my yoga magazine subscriptions since as I want to be more selective with my purchasing.  To be honest, I haven’t missed them.

Yoga Books

Not all of them but a handful.  I do have a great deal of yoga, anatomy & yoga philosophy books but I simply don’t read or refer to them any more.  I know which titles I constantly pick up and love and the more post it notes and pencil marks there are confirm their value to me.  If I haven’t felt compelled to underline or highlight anything then there is a good chance it isn’t the right yoga book for me.

As with magazines, I’ve reviewed my book buying habit and if I feel it’s a book I would really use and enjoy then the library or ebay will be my go to place.

Streamline Your Yoga Class Plans

Yoga class plan template
Downloadable PDF yoga class plan template

Yoga Class Plans

I came across a big, higgledy piggledy pile of papers notebooks and index cards.  I’ve used many different techniques for yoga class planning over the years.  I now know that working on individual sheets of paper with written notes & sketches is the technique that works best for me.  This inspired me to create my own yoga class planner which I now print as needed and file in one location.  It makes preparing for classes and working on sequences, themes and class types so much easier and organized.

With the paper clutter sorted, I moved on to other yoga related physical clutter.

Yoga class planner in use
Organized yoga class plans

Yoga Clothing

Ooh dear.  Way too many leggings!  Going through the yoga clothes was a quick project.  Washed out yoga leggings had lost shape and gained transparency in areas you wouldn’t want.   As for the gold embellished bootleg legging that had been worn only once, it was time to let go.  And for tops, I don’t have many but a couple of the baggier ones were removed – they don’t do well in inversions!

Yoga Props

My yoga space stores a set of basic props – home yoga mat (another lives in the car), 2 cork blocks, 2 straps, 1 bolster and 4 blankets (possibly too many but I had to invest in them for a restorative training).  I haven’t donated anything as I’ve repurposed the props I’ve replaced.

I’ve cut up an old yoga mat for various upcycling projects and a pair of old foam blocks make great homemade stamps for crafting!

Yoga Websites

I have subscribed to many yoga related websites across recent years.  Digital clutter is just as suffocating as physical so I’m spending time every day reviewing all yoga related email.  My intention is to receive email from yoga sites that I really love to read each time they post.  This decluttering exercise may take some time …..