Foundational And Inspiring Books for A Budding Yoga Teacher

Two years ago, I discover that I wanted to switch from just sweating it out in my hot yoga classes and trying to master half moon pose to actually sharing this practice with others. I wanted to be the kind of person that my yoga teachers were: calm, kind, grounded, and incredibly athletic. Certainly, doing a lot of yoga would push me to get in the right kind of shape. However, I also wanted to find the right headspace for becoming a yoga teacher, and for that I knew I needed more guidance. I found those with yoga teacher books.

I started with two yoga teacher books by Donna Farhi, Bringing Yoga to Life and Teaching Yoga. These two texts opened me up to how much yoga is about a method for living life and creating good decisions. It’s not just a way to work out and feel good. I learned that yoga teachers have a whole host of other concerns even as they seem totally serene. They are keeping an eye out for students who are pushing themselves too far, and they are handling the unnecessarily-chatty person who doesn’t respect the general silence of the yoga class. It made me see how much must be learned in the Yoga Teacher Training classes (YTT), which are usually hundreds of hours long.

If you too are thinking about yoga teaching, formally or just to share a practice, here are some more yoga teacher books that might help you take into account the complexity of teaching yoga, just like Farhi’s work did for me:

Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews

This text is a great option for those who want to understand what is physically happening to people in different yoga poses. Knowing these kinds of facts can be helpful as a yoga teacher for preventing re-injury or strain.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Translated by Edwin Bryant

Some of the most valued teaching over the past 2000 years of yogic history, these sutras are the core of the mindset that guides yoga. Knowing the roots of the practice makes you a more grounded and mindful teacher.

Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques By Mark Stephens

This guide is used in a lot of YTTs, and because the Yoga Alliance curriculum standards are all there, reading it is kind of like getting the core of the YTT without taking the class. Obviously, Yoga Teacher Trainings are hands-on and interactive, but if you are seriously considering signing up, this text can give you a glimpse of where you’ll go in the class.

Four Chapters on Freedom: Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Not sure you quite “get” the yoga sutras? A book of well-regarded commentary may make some things clearer and may leave you with more questions still. Pushing through the confusion to greater understanding is part of the process, and this book is one way to get new insight into the ancient sutras.

Restorative Yoga: with Assists A Manual for Teachers and Students of Yoga by Sue Flamm (Puja)

Restorative Yoga is specifically geared toward healing and relaxation, so learning from this practical guide can help you to impact those in your future yoga classes with truly helpful and wholesome postures. Don’t think push-yourself kind of yoga in this case: these postures are helping us to release tension we didn’t even know was there.

The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T. K. V. Desikachar

An interesting perspective on making yoga more personal, this book can help you to break out of your habits if you’ve become almost immune to what happens in yoga class or your daily rituals. If you are ready to remember what yoga felt like at the beginning, read this through.

The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chodron

Chodron’s books are more about understanding life and the human experience than they are directly about teaching yoga, but this book in particular can help you see how yoga can be a part of the path of loving-kindness. Other yoga teacher books by Chodron are also good options for getting out of the daily mindsets of regular life and into a better, more aware state.

Still can’t get enough? Check out another Rioter’s take on Books for the Yoga Obsessed. What are your favorite yoga teacher books that have inspired your practice? 

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