The Top 10 Books to Have for Yoga Teacher Training

books for yoga teacher training

What are the best yoga books to read? What books should I have for yoga teacher training?

With an arsenal of yoga books out there vying for your attention, which ones should you have and invest in. How do you distinguish the books that are fluff versus the yoga books with substance and meaning.

Our List Of The Top 10 Books To Have For Yoga Teacher Training

The Top Ten Books To Have For Yoga Teacher Training

1. Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Satyananada Saraswati

Books For Yoga Teacher Training Hatha Yoga PradipikaThe Hatha Yoga Pradhipika is the most under-read book among yoga teachers and yoga practitioners alike, but probably one of the most important tantric yoga texts ever published. It is complex and yet so simple. This text will not only tell you what to do, how to do it, how you may fail and what you need to do in order to over overcome your failures. Most importantly it will fully describe what you should gain in great detail.

“This book is a classic treatise on Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is a combination of two beeja mantras. It has been explained in hatha yoga that tha represents prana, the vital force and ha represents mind the mental energy. So hatha yoga means the union of the pranic and mental forces. When union between the pranic and mental forces takes place,then a great event occurs in man. This is the awakening of higher consciousness. “

This book is required for those who take Yoga Teacher Trainings Immersions at Blue Osa.

2. Yoga For Wellness by Gary Kraftsow

Books to Have for Yoga Teacher Training Yoga For WellnessYoga for Wellness is a book for those of you who are looking for a better understanding of basic alignment, and for those of you who are looking to build your own practice. This book also has many different practices for those who want to build more virility, or are suffering from depression. There’s more to yoga than stretching and bending and twisting.

“In Yoga for Wellness, one of America’s top yoga teachers gives a clinic on the holistic nature of yoga practice, especially in regard to healing and well-being. With over a thousand photographs, Gary Kraftsow covers the basic postures, the specific movements of each posture, and how to sequence postures in a routine. More importantly, he moves from form to function, showing how sequences of postures can alleviate ailments in each system of the body, from lower back pain to hypertension–even depression and multiple sclerosis.

In case studies of his own clients, we see how Kraftsow’s holistic approach has him recommending not only posture prescriptions, but breathing exercises, sound techniques, and visualizations, not to mention such commonly neglected wisdom as eating a healthy breakfast and getting closer to nature. Yoga for Wellness is the rare yoga instruction manual that teaches the basics of yoga while also paying more than just lip service to the original intention of yoga–achieving a balance of mental, physical, and spiritual wellness.

This book is required for those who take Yoga Teacher Training Immersions at Blue Osa.

3. Four Chapters on Freedom by Swami Satyananada Saraswati

Books to Have for Yoga Teacher Training Four Chapters On FreedomThere are many translations on the Yoga Sutras, but this is one of the best. This translation is direct and to the point without much of the dogma which can cloud the essence of the teachings.

Four Chapters on Freedom contains the full Sanskrit text of Rishi patanjali’s Yoga sutras as well as transliteration,translation and an extensive commentary.

The Yoga Sutras, containing 196 epithets or threads of Yoga,is the most respected treatise on Yoga.In his commentary on each verse,Swami Satyananda Saraswati fully explains the text and the path of raja yoga. Serious yogic aspirants and spiritual seekers will find invaluable guidance within these pages.

This book is required for those who take Yoga Teacher Training at Blue Osa.

4. The Royal Path by Swami Rama

books for yoga teacher trainingSwami Rama was the first Himalayan yogi to demonstrate to the Western scientific community the astonishing level of self-mastery achieved by Indian adepts. In The Royal Path, he introduces us to the ancient yogic techniques as they’re practiced by those who attain the highest goal of life. In this step-by-step program, Swami Rama outlines the basic physical exercises, mental disciplines, and ethical commitments of Raja Yoga, the Royal Path to self-transformation and enlightenment.

The Royal Path is an enduring classic, one of the clearest and most inspiring introductions to yoga science available in English. Whether our goal is improved health, emotional balance, enhanced creativity, or spiritual exploration, the practices Swami Rama describes here hold the key.

This book is required for those who take Yoga Teacher Training at Blue Osa.

5. The Bagavad Gita – translated by Christopher Isherwood

books for yoga teacher trainingThis classic translation of the Bhagavad Gita, is, I believe, one of the best around. It is elegantly poetic, reads beautifully, and is easy to understand. And a wonderful bonus is the Introduction by Aldous Huxley, which is one of the best expositions I’ve seen of the “Perennial Philosophy” common to all religions. One of the gems of the world’s culture, this little book is an ever-new source of inspiration and joy.

The critics have singled out this translation:“The book is self-contained. A complete stranger to the Hindu gospel can pick it up and in one or two evenings follow the poem from its terrific beginnings to its sublime end.” — New York Times

“A distinguished literary work.” – Time Magazine, “A highly readable interpretive translation.”– American Library Association, “The best from a literary point of view.” — Aldous Huxley.

This book is required for those who take Yoga Teacher Training at Blue Osa.

6. Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama

books for yoga teacher trainingThe late Sri Swami Rama recalls his own spiritual journey in this memoir, Living With The Himalayan Masters. Using specific incidents to illustrate spiritual truths, he presents a practical guide for those embarking on the Hindu path of enlightenment. “I will tell you how I grew up and how I was trained, about the great sages with whom I lived and what they taught me, not through lectures and books but through experiences,” writes Sri Swami Rama in the opening pages of this timeless saga. These stories record his personal quest for truth and enlightenment. Inspiring, illuminating, entertaining, mystifying, and frequently humorous, they bring you face-to-face with the great Himalayan Masters, including:

Mataji of Assam, a ninety-six-year-old sage who never slept.
Gudari Baba, who taught Swami Rama the value of direct experience.
Yogi Sri Aurobindo, who integrated meditation with action.
Uria Baba, who teaches that every human being has a potential for healing.
Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.

7. Path of Fire and Light: Volumes 1 and 2

books for yoga teacher trainingEssential reading for all serious hatha yoga students.

Swami Rama provides an in-depth study of swarodaya, the science of breath, with step-by-step instruction on advanced pranayama exercises.

In Path of Fire and Light Swami Rama shares with Western students, for the first time, remarkable and practical information on the systematic techniques of an ancient and profound tradition of spiritual growth. The ancient yogic teachers and sages developed a powerful and subtle science of breath, swarodaya, by which they intensified their sensitivity to body and mind and successfully attained their ultimate goal: Self-realization.

8. The Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation

Best Books For Yoga Teacher Training ChakrasIn the ancient science of tantra, the human body is viewed as the most perfect instrument for the expression of consciousness, a perfection realized through the development of psychic centers known as chakras. Located within the cerebrospinal system, the chakras are the stage upon which the interaction between higher consciousness and desire is played out. Consequently, it is through understanding and utilizing the energies of the chakras that we ultimately reach an enlightened state of being.

In Chakras, Indian scholar and tantra practitioner Harish Johari introduces the classical principles of the chakras as well as their practical application for today. In this expanded edition, complete with new art and text, he unfolds the mysteries of these subtle centers of transformation with visualization techniques essential to a fully realized tantric practice. Unlike other books in its field, Chakras provides the tools to activate these centers of transformative energy and elevate one’s intellectual knowledge to an experience of spiritual growth.

Meditating on the beautiful, full-color illustrations of each chakra vitalizes the cerebrospinal centers and harmonizes the entire system both physically and psychically. Explanations of each chakra elaborate on the chakra’s connection to elements, colors, sounds, sense and work organs, desires, planets and deities, as well as on behavioral characteristics and particular effects of meditation. For scholars and spiritual aspirants of every level, Chakras is an invaluable, practical source of information and techniques.

9. The Art of Joyful Living – by Swami Rama

Top Ten Books To Have For Yoga Teacher Training The Art of Joyful Living

In The Art of Joyful Living, Swami Rama imparts a message of inspiration and optimism: that you are responsible for making your life happy and emanating that happiness to others. This book shows you how to maintain a joyful view of life even in difficult times.

Contains sections on transforming habit patterns, working with negative emotions, developing strength and willpower, developing intuition, spirituality in loving relationships, learning to be your own therapist, understanding the process of meditation, and more!

Excerpt: “Your culture teaches you to smile at others, but such smiles are only momentary and do not reflect your real feelings. Actually, there should be a perennial and real smile on your face all the time. To achieve that, you should have a clear concept of the meaning of life, and the philosophy of life. Then, you will start to live on a deeper level, and will begin to enjoy your life…When you understand your real responsibility in life, you’ll know that every human being is responsible to make his life happy, and then to emanate that happiness to others…”
– Swami Rama

swami rama of the himalayas - author of many of our top books for yoga teacher training
The book is, as the title suggests, all about the art of joyful living, and like mastering any craft, living joyfully takes some time, effort, tools, and practice. In this little book, Swami Rama covers a wide array of topics, including emotions, desires, willpower, wisdom, and the spirituality of loving relationships, and provides us with tools that can help us to live more joyfully.

Tantra teaches us to live in the world, but not to be of the world, in other words, to enjoy life, but at the same time not be attached to all that is worldly. Most of us are taught about, and spend our lives dealing with the external world, but few devote much time to thinking about or working to understand their internal reality. This is where Swami Rama⎯one of the greatest Tantric sages of our time⎯takes us, and this book helps us to explore that inner reality. Swami Rama tells use that happiness is our own creation, that each and every one of us is responsible for making our own life happy, and that we are all capable of being joyful, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. In fact, everything we need is already inside of us…that is what he helps us to discover in this book.

If you are interested in learning to lead a happier and more peaceful and joyous life, then The Art of Joyful Living is a book for you. Don’t be discouraged by the occasional passage that is difficult to read or hard to understand. There are plenty of things that will make sense to anyone who reads this book, and if you are like me, the more you read the more you will understand.

10. The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar

The Heart of YogaSri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who lived to be over 100 years old, was one of the greatest yogis of the modern era. Elements of Krishnamacharya’s teaching have become well known around the world through the work of B. K. S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi, who all studied with Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya’s son T. K. V. Desikachar lived and studied with his father all his life and now teaches the full spectrum of Krishnamacharya’s yoga. Desikachar has based his method on Krishnamacharya’s fundamental concept of viniyoga, which maintains that practices must be continually adapted to the individual’s changing needs to achieve the maximum therapeutic value. In The Heart of Yoga Desikachar offers a distillation of his father’s system as well as his own practical approach, which he describes as “a program for the spine at every level–physical, mental, and spiritual.” This is the first yoga text to outline a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to the age-old principles of yoga. Desikachar discusses all the elements of yoga–poses and counterposes, conscious breathing, meditation, and philosophy–and shows how the yoga student may develop a practice tailored to his or her current state of health, age, occupation, and lifestyle.

BONUS Book – Autobiography Of A Naked Yogi

The autobiography of Yogi Aaron.

Autobiography Of A Naked YogiSee how a life spent largely outdoors—in the wilds of northern Canada, the underwater wonderland of the Caribbean, and throughout the untamed Himalayas—presented the challenges that shaped a timid mother’s boy into a confident yogi and ambassador for self-transformation. Through humorous and poignant life stories–attending an all-male boarding school, coming out as a gay man, building a successful yoga career–here Yogi Aaron shares lessons in living with empowerment and authenticity.

From the creator of Hot Nude Yoga, a global phenomenon during the early 2000’s, a story of struggle and healing found through the practices of Tantric yoga. Today owner and yoga director at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa in Costa Rica and leader of world-wide retreats through Blue Osa Journeys, Yogi Aaron is known for his humorous yet vastly knowledgeable approach to teaching this centuries-old wisdom.

A must-read for aspiring yogis, yoga teachers, world travelers, nudists, gay men, people wanting to manifest positive change in their lives.


And there you have it – the top ten books to have for yoga teacher training (plus a bonus)! This is just the start of all the amazing books out there that yoga students can read to further deepen their practice. We hope it will ignite your passion for the practice and learn something new! Now, tell us!

What books for yoga teacher training do you think every yoga student should read?

6 Comments on “The Top 10 Books to Have for Yoga Teacher Training”

    1. Hi Ashely, all of these books are required for the 200 + 300 trainings. If you would like to know what specific books are required, they are listed on the respective web pages. You can click here for access to them. https://www.blueosa.com/yoga-teacher-training/.

      Additionally, when you register, you are told specifically what books you will need as they vary from course to course.

  1. i want to start doing yoga,i havent done any form of yoga till today…so which book should i follow where all yoga steps are shown and explained,

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