Five Really Useful Yoga Books

With schedules changing due to current world events I’ve found myself looking beyond the usual books I refer to on my yoga bookshelf.

This selection of five books is not your usual bundle covering physical poses and sequences. Dip in to yoga asana with props, yoga in day to day life, yoga themes for classes, your yoga business & yoga teacher ethics.

These five really useful yoga books are great options to revisit during stay at home and quarantine days.

The Path to Holistic Health – BKS Iyengar

This is a weighty, hardback book that’s not really easy to tote around in your yoga bag! Ideal for home use – and can be used as a thin yoga block too ūüėČ Bonus!

With yoga practice and online classes from home it’s a great book to leave open for constant referral at the side of your mat.

I love the huge section of the book that incorporates props. Mr Iyengar’s use of props are critical for a balanced practice enabling you to create the form of the poses with support.

The yoga therapy section is also a great help for sequencing for specific needs, conditions and groups. Sooooo useful.

Living your Yoga – Judith Hanson Lasater

This has always been one of my favorite yoga books. I have a very well used copy and will regularly revisit its pages. Nothing about the poses here but lots about how to incorporate yoga into your life – the whole bigger picture of yoga!

Full of personal anecdotes and presented in a down to earth and easy to read way, this book is a must have reference. You can see my more detailed review of Judith’s book here.

Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses – Sage Rountree & Alexandra Desiato

This is a really useful book. In fact, more of a workbook. I bought my copy to help explore new themes when class planning.

As well as using themes from the Yoga Sutras it also explores other quotes and ideas that can support a theme.

There is inspiration to be found in the simple every day moments that are worth exploring and incorporating into your classes.

At the back of the book there are a bunch of useful theme templates that can be used to develop your own ideas. An asset for any yoga teacher or teaching trainee.

every yogi’s bookshelf needs to make space for these really useful yoga books

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The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga – Amy Ippolitti

With the drastic changes in the yoga teaching industry it is crucial to keep a ‘business’ head as we navigate the new normal.

Although some of the teaching scenarios aren’t relevant right at this moment lots of the other content is super relevant. Teaching, marketing, professional relationships, planning & finances are just some of the topics that are all covered in an easy to digest way. You can see a more detailed review of Amy’s book posted here on yogaskinny.

Teaching Yoga – Donna Farhi

I’ve been spending time re-reading Donna Farhi’s book as its focus explores the teacher-student relationship. No yoga sequences or poses to be found here but a well written discussion about the ethics of yoga teaching.

She describes various situations between teacher and student and details ‘ethical inquiries’ as a start point to consider further. It’s a useful read for any yoga teacher wanting to learn more about the teacher/student relationship.

All of these books are worth exploring as part of your own yoga study and practice. Not just focusing on the physical practice but providing an opportunity to nurture your learning, improve your teaching and understand your spiritual connection to this wonderful practice.

As I’m an Amazon affiliate I may receive a small commission for any purchase you make from my blog. However, I do recommend you search for these books through secondhand outlets such as eBay and other sellers. I buy almost all of my yoga books used, have never been disappointed and always save money. win-win!!

Yoga Asana Life Drawing

Quick sketches of yoga poses showing the form of the pose and observing bodies.  Useful for yoga instructors

I had an opportunity to do some yoga asana life drawing.  What better way to combine yoga & creativity!

Life drawing is a wonderful way to fulfill your creativity but also, as a study of the human form, it is very helpful to yoga instructors. In fact, I recently came across a website dedicated to this creative practice!

Observing bodies is part of the job of a skilled yoga teacher.  When we teach a class we are confronted with a group of people all with different anatomical make up, physical challenges and experience.

yoga asana life drawing trikonasana
Observe the student. Sketch credit – yogaskinny

Teach people, not poses

We are all unique and our muscles, joints and posture all work together to give us our own personal, physical blueprint.  As a yoga teacher we need to identify and work with these differences adjusting asana and using props to serve our students best. 

As I’ve heard many an experienced yoga teacher say ¬†– ‚Äėteach people, not poses‚Äô.

So, if you have an opportunity to do some yoga asana life drawing take it!

Keep your sketching loose. Use a soft pencil or pastels to keep the marks you make fluid and not too precious.

You already know the form of the poses but when you look at the student from a sketching perspective you really observe the position of the hand in relation to the shin in trikonasana. Or the length of the spine in a forward fold.

yoga asana life drawing - ardha uttanasana with chair and strap
Notice the spine lengthening. Sketch credit – yogaskinny

As you sketch you’ll notice how differently the over flexible students form the pose in contrast to the new student or the yogi working with injuries or limitations. All useful visual information to help you in your asana and anatomy understanding.

Yoga asana life drawing - inversions
Sketch credit – yogaskinny

Use sketching as a way to keep learning and understanding more about the human body. Use it as a tool alongside other ways of constant learning about the art of yoga.

Asana Life Drawing – the Perfect ‘Pop up’ Class

Sketching in this way is much like yoga class planning. Using your knowledge and experience of yoga to create a flow sequence of poses that work together like pencil marks to form the bigger picture.

See if your local studio is offering a yoga life drawing class, and if they’re not, suggest it. They’re the perfect idea for a ‘pop up’ class and lots of fun to do!

Use your creativity to inspire your teaching and class planning.