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The 4 Best Books for Yoga Teacher Training

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One of the most effective ways to deepen your understanding and enhance your teaching skills is through reading. In this article, I’ll share with you a curated list of the best books for yoga teacher training. These gems have not only stood the test of time but have also been instrumental in shaping the journey of aspiring yoga teachers. So, grab a cup of tea, get cozy, and let’s dive into the world of transformative literature.

  • Yoga teachers can deepen their understanding and improve their teaching skills by reading books on yoga teacher training.
  • Books provide valuable information on various aspects of yoga, including philosophy, asana, anatomy, and ethics.
  • Some recommended best books to read before yoga teacher training include “The Heart of Yoga” by T.K.V. Desikachar and “Light on Yoga” by B.K.S. Iyengar.

The Importance of Reading Books for Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga is a complex and multifaceted discipline that encompasses not only physical postures, but also philosophy, ethics, spirituality, and more. As such, it can be challenging for yoga teachers to acquire all the knowledge and skills they need through their own practice or training programs alone.

This is where books come in as an invaluable resource for deepening one’s understanding of yoga. By reading books on yoga, yoga instructors and yoga teachers can gain a wealth of information on everything from the history and philosophy of this ancient tradition to the anatomy behind each pose to best practices for teaching and working with students.

They can learn from some of the most respected experts in the field and access insights that might not be covered in their teacher training program or personal practice. Moreover, reading books on yoga can help teachers stay up-to-date with the latest research and trends in the field.

The world of yoga is constantly evolving as new discoveries are made about its benefits and potential risks. By staying informed through books, teachers can adapt their teaching methods accordingly to ensure they are offering students safe, effective, and engaging classes.

Finding the Best Yoga Books for Teacher Training

There are so many books on yoga available today. It can be overwhelming to decide which ones are worth investing time (and money) into reading. While there are countless great options out there depending on your area of interest or specialization within yoga (such as prenatal or therapeutic), some books have stood the test of time as go-to resources for every aspiring or experienced teacher. When looking for these top-tier books on yoga teacher training, it’s important to consider factors such as:

  • author credibility (have they been practicing/teaching yoga for a long time?)
  • are they well-respected in the field?
  • content quality (is it easy-to-understand? Comprehensive? Relevant?)
  • reader reviews (what do other teachers say about the book?)
  • and your own personal needs/goals as a teacher.

In the sections below, we’ll explore some of the best books to read before yoga teacher training that meet these criteria and offer unique insights and knowledge to help you become a more effective, knowledgeable, and inspiring teacher.

stack of books with person in yoga pose in background

Best Books for Yoga Teacher Training

“The Heart of Yoga” by T.K.V. Desikachar

“The Heart of Yoga” is a must-read for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of yoga philosophy and practice. The author, T.K.V. Desikachar, was a prominent yoga teacher and scholar who studied under his father, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, one of the most influential figures in modern yoga. In this book, Desikachar shares his father’s teachings on the ancient texts and practices that form the foundation of modern yoga.

One of the unique aspects of “The Heart of Yoga” is its emphasis on tailoring yoga practice to the individual student’s needs rather than following a one-size-fits-all approach. This makes it an excellent resource for yoga teachers looking to create personalized classes that cater to each student’s strengths and weaknesses.

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Additionally, the book delves into topics such as pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, and chanting, making it a valuable tool for teachers looking to expand their knowledge beyond just physical asana practice. Overall, “The Heart of Yoga” is an essential read for any serious student or teacher of yoga looking to deepen their understanding and connection with this powerful practice.

“Light on Yoga” by B.K.S. Iyengar

“Light on Yoga” is a classic text written by one of the most respected figures in modern yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar. The book covers over 200 different asanas (yoga poses) with detailed instructions and photos, making it an invaluable resource for teachers looking to expand their knowledge and repertoire when it comes to teaching physical postures.

In addition to its extensive coverage of asanas, “Light on Yoga” also includes sections on pranayama (breathing techniques) and yoga philosophy. One of the unique aspects of Iyengar’s approach to yoga is his emphasis on precise alignment and the use of props such as blocks, straps, and blankets to help students get into postures safely and effectively.


This makes “Light on Yoga” an excellent resource for teachers looking to improve their own understanding of alignment principles and how to teach them effectively. Overall, “Light on Yoga” is a must-read for any yoga teacher looking to deepen their understanding of asana practice, alignment principles, and the broader philosophy that underlies this ancient practice.

Read my full review of “Light on Yoga” by B.K.S. Iyengar.

“Yoga Anatomy” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews

“Yoga Anatomy” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews is a comprehensive guide to the anatomy behind each yoga pose. The book includes detailed illustrations and explanations of the bones, muscles, and joints involved in each posture, making it an invaluable resource for teachers looking to understand how to cue students effectively for safe alignment.

In addition to its anatomical focus, “Yoga Anatomy” also includes sections on breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation, and sequencing classes. One unique aspect of this book is its emphasis on preventing injuries through proper alignment cues.

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By understanding the anatomy behind each pose better, teachers can help prevent common injuries such as strained hamstrings or lower back pain that can occur from incorrect alignment. Overall, “Yoga Anatomy” is an essential read for any yoga teacher looking to improve their knowledge of anatomy principles behind each posture while promoting safe alignment in their classes.

“The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice” by Deborah Adele

While physical practice (asana) is often what first comes to mind when we think about yoga practice, ethical principles are just as crucial a part of traditional yogic teachings. In “The Yamas & Niyamas,” author Deborah Adele explores the ethical principles that underlie yoga practice and how they can be applied in our daily lives. The book covers the five yamas (ethical restraints) and the five niyamas (ethical observances), exploring each principle in detail and providing practical examples of how to apply them in everyday life.

As teachers, understanding these principles can help us create a more supportive, compassionate environment in our classes and promote a deeper sense of connection with our students. Overall, “The Yamas & Niyamas” is an essential read for any yoga teacher looking to deepen their understanding of yogic ethics and create a more mindful, supportive practice environment.

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Other important reads for the yoga teacher

The books listed above are the most often referred to as the best books for yoga instructors and best books for yoga teacher. I would like to suggest some additional books to read before yoga teacher training.

“The Yoga Bible” by Christina Brown

The Yoga Bible” is an excellent resource for both beginner and advanced yoga practitioners. It offers an extensive collection of over 150 asanas, along with clear instructions, benefits, modifications, and variations. This book serves as a valuable reference for sequencing classes and expanding your repertoire of postures.


“The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda

For an in-depth exploration of the philosophical roots of yoga, turn to “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.” Sri Swami Satchidananda’s translation and commentary offer clarity and practical applications of Patanjali’s teachings. This text provides guidance on ethical conduct, meditation, and achieving a state of yoga, making it an essential companion for aspiring teachers.

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“Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques” by Mark Stephens

To excel as a yoga teacher, a solid understanding of teaching methodology is crucial. Mark Stephens’ “Teaching Yoga” is a comprehensive guide that covers the essentials of designing effective classes, skillful cueing, assisting students, and creating a supportive environment. With its practical advice and valuable tips, this book will help you refine your teaching skills.


“The Key Muscles of Yoga: Scientific Keys, Volume I” by Ray Long

Anatomy is a vital aspect of yoga teacher training, and “The Key Muscles of Yoga” by Ray Long is an invaluable resource. Through detailed illustrations and explanations, Long highlights the key muscles involved in various yoga poses, helping you understand the body’s biomechanics and how to optimize alignment and prevent injuries.


“The Bhagavad Gita” translated by Eknath Easwaran

Considered a spiritual classic, “The Bhagavad Gita” is a philosophical text that offers profound insights into life, duty, and the path of self-realization. Eknath Easwaran’s translation captures the essence of this ancient scripture, making it accessible and relevant to modern yogic practitioners. The Gita’s teachings are a source of inspiration and guidance for yoga teachers on their own journey and in supporting their students.

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May your teaching journey be filled with joy, growth, and transformation!

As yoga teachers or yoga instructor, you have a responsibility to constantly improve our knowledge of this ancient practice. These books are just a few examples of the countless resources available for teachers looking to deepen their understanding of yoga philosophy, asana practice, alignment principles, anatomy concepts behind each posture and ethical principles. By regularly seeking out new information from reliable sources like these books, you can continue to grow your knowledge base as a teacher and provide an even more effective and beneficial experience for your students. The learning process is continuous, and the books on this list are just the tip of the iceberg. Keep exploring, stay open-minded, and let these resources be your companions on the path of becoming an exceptional yoga teacher.

What are you reading? Please let share your best books for yoga teacher training in the comments below?

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