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If you’re just starting out, it can be a minefield trying to find the right resources and information to help you get the most from your time on the mat.
Coming away from the online world, there’s a huge array of books to get your teeth into.
Assuming you haven’t got hours and days on end to read them all, which ones should you start with first to increase your understanding and get the most from your practice?
This is by no means a comprehensive list of books but these are the 5 books that have helped me greatly in my young journey into yoga.
This is invaluable for beginners!
Included in the pages are in-depth illustrations of the poses themselves, which muscles are being worked and the ones that are assisting. Aside from the illustrations, Leslie Kaminoff also explains in detail what you should be feeling and which muscles you should be activating.
The section on breathing and Pranayama is a great starting point for all beginners to understand the effects breathing properly has on the body and how it can help you get deeper into the pose.
It’s so good that I use the illustrations from the book to help me explain the poses in my blog posts.
Great starting point!
The Science Of Yoga
I haven’t been able to put this book down.
It’s not just yoga but most fitness programs or workouts have an air of mystery and spin to it in order to for that system to be sold.
Yoga is no different.
Don’t get me wrong, there are so many benefits to doing yoga that affect a lot of areas of your body for the better, such as your mind and joints. However, certain publications and websites tout about a wide-ranging list of benefits that are grossly exaggerated, such as yoga being able to increase aerobic capacity significantly.
William Broad has done a great, unbiased job of explaining what yoga is and what it isn’t. What you’re left with is an understanding of the strengths of yoga (and just how great it can be) but also what to look out for and the gaps to fill if you’re looking for all-round wellness.
Yoga for men
I’m a MASSIVE fan of what Dean Pohlman is doing over at Man Flow Yoga! Not enough men take to the mat, in my opinion.
Dean offers guys yoga without the spiritualness that many people are put off by. Just straight up, no BS yoga. The way I like it!
In the book, he explains what yoga is and demystifies some myths surrounding the world. Not only that, he gives you key postures that should be fundamental to your practice and then 20 routines to get you started!
If you’re a bloke not knowing where to start, start here.
Your Body, Your Yoga
It’s incredibly frustrating when you first start out to see all these people get into weird and wonderful shapes but you’re shaking like a tree just trying to touch your toes!
The thinking is that if you aren’t in that position, you’re doing it wrong.
Sometimes, it feels like you’ll never get there.
But that’s OK.
What I’ve learnt is the poses are directions. Everyone is different and can get the same benefit and feeling from being on different parts of the road.
In certain scenarios, your body just won’t allow it. And that’s because it’s built differently from everyone else. This book explains the differences in the body right down to the size of the heads of your bones and the effect that will have on limb position.
It also teaches you to learn how to feel for these things so if you can’t get your legs wide enough in straddle, for example, and you can understand the feeling of bones impinging muscle, then that’s your limit. No instructor telling you to get wider will change that.
This book gives you the tools to be your own instructor. It’s a lesson into your own body.
Light on Yoga
This is a yoga classic from one of the granddaddy’s of yoga, B.K.S Iyengar (you’ll recognise the name, he created Iyengar Yoga).
Aside from deep explanations of what yoga is, there’s illustrations and descriptions for a ton of yoga poses.
It’s broken down into various parts each with its own focus, including the poses themselves, the history of yoga and Pranayama (breathing).
Considered a must-have by a lot of yoga practitioners so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us!
Which is your favourite yoga book?