Updated April 2023.
I get asked a lot about books, and frankly, I’ve been known to say a time or two “there’s this book you should read…”. So, I decided to comprise a book list.
In my opinion, book lists are rarely complete. There’s always new books coming out, books that serve a time and a place, books of new subject interests.. but, this also gives a starting point.
Yoga Philosophy & History
Radiance Sutras – Lorin Roche
A beautiful poetic exploration of the sutras. I love the simplicity and depth of the interpretations.
Bhagavad Gita – Stephen Mitchell
A staple I think for anyone wanting to study the ancient texts
The Yamas & Niyamas – Deborah Adele
Easily the best book on the first two limbs of the yogic path that I’ve explored. It’s relatively easy to read, and gives great concrete examples, and, it makes you think.
The Wisdom of Yoga – Stephen Cope
I think I’ve read this – or at least parts of it – almost a dozen times. Each time I read it I get something else out of it. This was required reading for my 200 hour training and though I enjoyed it then, I enjoy it more and more each time I go through it.
The Upanishads – Eknath Easwaran
Definitely not the kind of book you can read through in one go – but again, a staple if you’re sparked by ancient texts. As well, I find the blurbs before the story to be exceptionally helpful.
How Yoga Works – Michael McNally
I love this book and it chokes me that it’s so hard to find in Canada. A fictional story, the book goes through the yoga sutras and applies them to support the story. It’s a must read.
Living The Sutras – Kelly Dinardo & Amy Pearce-Hayden
Such a wonderful, digestible version of the sutras. If you’ve never read anything about the sutras, I suggest starting here.
Embrace Yoga’s Roots – Susanna Barkataki
For anyone who is curious to know where yoga comes from and how yoga in the west fits in. A must read to get a deeper sense of Cultural Appropriation and what we can do in North America to continue to honour the roots of yoga.
Yin Yoga & Traditional Chinese Medicine & Anatomy
Brightening Our Inner Skies – Norman Blair
A newer book but quickly becoming one of my faves. Funnily it’s not because of the explanation of the science of yin, but for the energetics and mindful impact of yin that is so cleverly explored.
The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga – Bernie Clark
My go to. Bernie is fantastic and a leader within the yin community. This is also my recommended reading requirement for yin trainings.
Wood Becomes Water – Gail Reichstein
A wonderful guide to how Traditional Chinese Medicine is impactful upon our lives.
Energy Medicine – Dr Jill Blakeway
Another great guide on how TCM is used in every day life.
The Language of Yin – Gabrielle Harris
Great book especially for sequencing yin classes, but can be used for sequences any classes! Gabrielle is a New Zealander heavily involved in the yin community.
The Subtle Body – Cyndi Dale
I picked this book up after searching for a long time for a book about energy systems. This did not disappoint. The graphics alone in the book make it worth the purchase. That said, the information is compelling and explained beautifully.
Your Body, Your Yoga – Bernie Clark
A fabulous anatomy book full of spectacular drawings and real time examples.
Mental Health Related
Calming Your Anxious Mind – Jeffrey Brantley
A great beginner book to anxiety and using mindfulness techniques to help to manage anxious times. This book has a lot of great tools and practical applications.
Yoga for Depression – Amy Weintlaub
Amy not only wrote this great book with lots of information, examples and exercises, but she also has a highly informative website!
Expanding Your Awareness
Loving Kindness – Sharon Salzberg
Easily one of my top 5 recommendations. Salzberg makes the Brahma Viharas and the concepts of loving kindness not only accessible but readable and digestible. My personal copy is quite tattered and has done of tags marking off pages.
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
Another relatively easy to read book. I’m always a fan when people use stories to make points. I love that Gilbert links so poignantly to creativity.
The Gifts of Imperfection – Brené Brown
Brené Brown has such a delightful writing style that reads as though you’re having a conversation with her. This book is one of her shorter ones, and makes it easy to grab in a pinch. Most of what’s in here is common knowledges but her approach to it can make it feel as though it’s the first time you’ve considered such things.
Daring Greatly – Brené Brown
i think it’s likely becoming obvious I’m a Brené fan. That said, I read this book when it first came out and it blew my mind. Even though we’ve known about vulnerability and shame and resiliency, having it all in one place, using case studies and life examples – it was page after page of “whaaaaaaaaa!”
Braving the Wilderness – Brené Brown
Ok I promise – last Brené book. All about the importance of human connection. A book that is so necessary in this time.
Self-Compassion – Kristin Neff
Neff is a pioneer in the world of research on self-compassion. It’s important to realize that she’s not defining new terms here – but rather again, Presenting it in a way that is easily absorbable. I love her different points of what is self compassion and her guided exercises are spectacular.
Living Your Yoga – Judith Lasater
A great book to have when your practices starts to get dull, when you want to figure out how to apply yoga to your life, and when you need a spark to be ignited within you.
Love Warrior – Glennon Doyle
When I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I consumed this book in one day. I’ve since read it again. Raw, real, and just ridiculously good.
Zen and the Art of Happiness – Chris Prentiss
A quick but necessary read. It’s quite black and white, but I encourage you to find the grey.
The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff
It took me a while to get through this book, but I keep going back to it again and again to replenish myself. Plus come on. Winnie the Pooh!!
Radical Acceptance – Tara Brach
Recommended to me years ago, this is another book I devoured it remains one of my top faves, and I love going through and re-reading what I’ve highlighted in the past.
When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron
I spent an entire year only reading passages from this book in my classes. The book that made me fall in love with fear, gratitude and love. Buy two copies so you can give one as a gift.
A Fierce Heart – Spring Washam
I saw this book recommended on a page I follow, and I’ve since devoured it. Twice. So many gems in this book. Ultimately a book about compassion and love.
The Body Keeps the Score – Bessel van der Kolk
Probably one of the most referenced books out there. How does trauma land in the body and what happens when it does. A must-read.
When the Body Says No – Gabor Maté
Another must-read of how experiences in life land in the body and can lead to chronic illness.
Trauma & Recovery – Judith Herman
This is a difficult read so heads up. Herman is a pivotal researched in complex trauma and is referenced virtually everywhere and in every book subsequently written about trauma.
Unbound – Tarana Burke
I’m including this in the trauma-informed segment because I really feel that’s where it belongs. The original founder of #metoo back in the early 2000s, this memoir is stunning in all ways. Powerful, gripping and heartbreaking with a whole lot of hope and beauty in it.
Deep Diversity – Shakil Choudhury
Recommended to me when I requested more info on intersectionality and what that means, Choudhury (a Canadian), takes us on an exploration of race, diversity, and racial justice.
My Grandmother’s Hands – Resmaa Menakem
Easily one of the most uncomfortable books I’ve ever read. Looks at our own internalized biases (primarily as they pertain to race) and how to mend them.
Seven Fallen Feathers – Tanya Talaga
Looking deeply into the racist norms of Thunder Bay after 7 teens died within a few years. This book is an excellent example of systemic racism.
Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga – David Emerson & Elizabeth Hopper
A must read for anyone who teaches yoga. Easy to read and understand as it’s presented both with facts and anecdotes. I can’t express enough how much information is in this book.