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Books & Resources: Asana

Asana, General

Some books in this section cover far more than asana but are categorized here because the asana coverage is particularly helpful to teachers. For example, Baron Baptiste, Bernie Clark, Donna Farhi and Erich Schiffman all write beautifully about the much broader philosophy, implications and practices of yoga beyond asana.

30 Essential Yoga Poses by Judith Laster, PhD., P.T.  link

Why We Recommend It

Published in 2003, this book holds up well through the influx of asana-focused books. Lasater offers an “Especially for Teachers” commentary on each pose. These teachings are insightful and practical. She addresses real and common student situations and offers very clear teachings and tools you can use immediately with students. – Shelly

Book Quote

Inevitably, the beginning student will want to touch her toes in [Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee Pose)]. Somehow, we all feel more holy if we do, regardless of how we may distort the body to create the stretch. It is important for the health of your student’s lower back that you pay particular attention to the harmony of her lower back and her pelvis. From the very start, teach her to move the pelvis first and let the spine follow… As your student comes into the pose, her lumbar curve should remain as concave as possible. Remember, a concave arch is actually the neutral position for the lumbar spine. Teaching your student to move in this way will help to prevent lower back pain and dysfunction, especially in the sacroiliac region.

Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit by Donna Farhi link

Why We Recommend It

As a new teacher, I immersed myself in yoga literature and often found myself exclaiming over the amazing teachings I would regularly discover, surprised that I had never been exposed to them in my training. Over the years, I’ve found so many powerful teachings that I now recognize how hard it is for trainers to pick and choose which resources to recommend. This book is one I think many teachers and trainers would agree belongs on the short list! Farhi is a master of the breath and movement and this book, while accessible and enjoyable to read, dives deep. Published in 2000, it sets an extremely high standard for books on asana and movement. – Shelly

Book Quote

While I have given the practice of asanas great emphasis in this book, it is not because the perfection of the body or of yoga postures is the goal of yoga practice. This down-to-earth, flesh-and-bones practice is simply one of the most direct and expedient ways to meet yourself. It is a good place to begin. Whether you meet yourself through standing on your feet or standing on your had is irrelevant. It’s important, therefore, not to make the mistake of thinking that the perfection of the yoga asanas is the goal… The goal of asana practice is to live in your body and to learn to perceive clearly thorough it.

Your Body Your Yoga by Bernie Clark  link

Why We Recommend It

Get acquainted with skillful alignment in a way that is rarely encountered. As is Clark’s way, the book tends to be too dense for many of us to read cover-to-cover… but don’t let that deter you. It’s too powerful to not delve into. Do yourself – and your trainees and students – a favor, and get familiar with Clark’s vital teachings on the powerful facts of individuality in physical practice. – Shelly

Book Quote

Proper alignment reduces stress in the joints and protects them from dynamically moving into hypermobility, where injury may occur. Good alignment may build architectural stability, minimize muscular effort and allow a student to safely linger in a posture. It would be very nice if every posture had alignment cues that worked for every body, and if one medicine would cure every body of cancer. But the reality of human variation teaches us that life is not so idyllic. We are all different, and what works for one person is not guaranteed to work for another.

More Books

While we have highlighted a few outstanding books, there are literally hundreds of wonderful books and we encourage you to peruse the entire list. Any one of these may be just what you need!

  1. Austin, Miriam — Cool Yoga Tricks  link

  2. Baptiste, Baron — Journey Into Power  link

  3. Birch, Beryl Bender — Power Yoga: The Total Strength and Flexibility Workout  link

  4. Brown, Christina — The Yoga Bible  link

  5. Clark, Bernie — The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga  link

  6. Iyengar, B.K.S. — B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health  link

  7. Iyengar, B.K.S. — Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika  link

  8. Iyengar, Geeta — Yoga in Action: A Preliminary Course (For Beginners)  link

  9. Iyengar, Geeta — Yoga in Action Intermediate Course  link

  10. Jois, Sri K Pattabhi — Yoga Mala: The Original Teachings of Ashtanga Yoga Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois  link

  11. Kirk, Martin & Boon Brooke — Hatha Yoga Illustrated  link

  12. Lappa, Andrey — Yoga: Tradition of Unification  link

  13. Lasater, Judith Hanson — Yoga Abs: Moving from Your Core  link

  14. LePage, Joseph & Lilian — Yoga Teachers’ Toolbox  link

  15. Little, Tias — The Thread of Breath  link

  16. Long, Ray, MD — Anatomy for Arm Balances and Inversions  link

  17. Long, Ray, MD — Anatomy for Backbends and Twists  link

  18. Long, Ray, MD — Anatomy for Hip Openers and Forward Bends  link

  19. Long, Ray, MD — Anatomy for Vinyasa Flow and Standing Poses  link

  20. MacGregor, Kino — The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace–Includes the complete Primary Series  link

  21. Mehta, Silva, Mira & Shyam — Yoga: The Iyengar Way  link

  22. Mittra, Dharma — Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses  link

  23. Mohan, A.G. — Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind: A Guide to Personal Reintegration  link

  24. Ramaswami, Srivatsa — The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga: The Authoritative Presentation-Based on 30 Years of Direct Study Under the Legendary Yoga Teacher Krishnamacha  link

  25. Saraswati, Swami Satyananda — Surya Namaskara: A Technique of Solar Vitalization  link

  26. Schiffmann, Erich — Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness  link

  27. Shaw, Beth — Beth Shaw’s Yogafit – 2nd Edition  link

  28. Swenson, David — Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual  link

  29. Yee, Rodney — Moving Toward Balance: 8 Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee  link

  30. Yee, Rodney — Yoga: The Poetry of the Body  link

Chair, Wall, Props

Yoga At Your Wall by Stephanie Pappas link
Why We Recommend It

I found this book in the early years of creating Yoga Teacher Central and I was so impressed! There are so few sources that share effective and unique pose variations. And the wall is such a powerful prop. Inspired by Pappas’ book, I would occasionally surprise my intermediate-level class with a whole class practiced at the wall. It was a challenging and enlightening practice for us all. Pappas does an excellent job of teaching how to use the wall to enhance the experience of all levels of students. And her instructions and imagery are uniquely effective. – Shelly

Book Quote

[In Parivrtta Trikonasana Revolved Triangle Pose],there is a lot going on… all at once: balancing, twisting, strengthening, and stretching. As you hold the pose, pick just one of these aspects and focus on it for several breaths. Then shift your attention to another aspect and place your emphasis there.

[In Vrksasana Tree Pose], gather energy from the nutrients and water in the earth beneath you.

If [Virabhadrasana III] pose tends to feel a bit heavy in the legs and lower body, imagine something light, like a feather or leaf as you practice. You can also imagine that your body forms an arrow and the direction of the current is traveling from your foot toward your head and out into the space of the room.

More Books

While we have highlighted a few outstanding books, there are literally hundreds of wonderful books and we encourage you to peruse the entire list. Any one of these may be just what you need!

  1. Adkins, Clarissa C. — Chair Yoga for You: A Practical Guide  link

  2. Dooreck, Stacie — SunLight Chair Yoga: Yoga for Everyone  link

  3. McGee, Kristin — Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch, and Strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You  link

  4. Saudek, Chris — Yoga Kurunta (asanas using wall ropes)  link

  5. Shifroni, Eyal — A Chair for Yoga: A Complete Guide to Iyengar Yoga Practice with a Chair  link

  6. Shifroni, Eyal — Props for Yoga: Standing Poses  link

  7. Shifroni, Eyal — Props for Yoga – Volume 2: Sitting Asanas and Forward Extensions  link

Restorative Yoga

  1. Clampett, Cheri & Mithoefer, Biff — The Therapeutic Yoga Kit: Sixteen Postures for Self-Healing through Quiet Yin Awareness  link

  2. Carey, Leeann — The Yapana Way: Restorative Yoga Therapy & The Art of Being  link

  3. Donohue, Deborah — Restorative Yoga Practice: Gentle Beginners Sessions (DVD)  link

  4. Flamm, Sue (Puja) — Restorative Yoga: with Assists A Manual for Teachers and Students of Yoga  link

  5. Hetherington, Michael — How To Do Restorative Yoga: For Home Or In A Class  link

  6. Lasater, Judith PhD — Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times  link

  7. Platania, Jon — The 12 Step Restorative Yoga Workbook  link

  8. Rentz, Kristen — YogaNap: Restorative Poses for Deep Relaxation  link

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