25 Best Books on Ashtanga Yoga - Deepen Your Practice

Exploring the world of Ashtanga Yoga is a transformative journey that blends physical discipline with spiritual growth. For practitioners and enthusiasts alike, books on Ashtanga Yoga serve as invaluable guides. Guides offer insights into this ancient practice’s techniques, philosophy, and history. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, the literature of Ashtanga Yoga provides a comprehensive resource. 

In this exploration, we delve into essential books on Ashtanga Yoga. Each book offers unique perspectives and teachings to enhance your practice on and off the mat, from detailed guides on postures and sequences to philosophical explorations and personal narratives. These books are more than just instructional manuals; they are gateways to a deeper understanding and appreciation of Ashtanga Yoga.

A Brief Overview of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga, a revered practice within the yoga community, is known for its dynamic and disciplined approach. Key features include:

  • Sequential Movement: A set series of postures performed in a specific order, enhancing physical and mental stamina.
  • Energy Locks (Bandhas): Techniques to control and direct energy flow, integral to the practice.
  • Focus on Breath (Ujjayi): Synchronized breathing with movements, creating a meditative flow in practice.

These elements combine to form a practice that is not just physically challenging but also deeply meditative and transformative. Fortunately these books on Ashtanga Yoga exist to help students with the deep and challenging aspects of the practice. 

The Significance of Books in Ashtanga Yoga Learning

In understanding and mastering the practice, books on Ashtanga Yoga play a crucial role:

  • Philosophical and Practical Understanding: They provide insights into the deeper philosophical roots as well as practical aspects of the practice.
  • Transition from Oral to Written Tradition: Historically, yoga teachings were transmitted orally. Books have now made these teachings more accessible and widespread.
  • Bridge Between Ancient Wisdom and Modern Practice: Books on Ashtanga Yoga serve as a vital link, making the ancient teachings of Yoga accessible and relevant in the modern context.

Categories of Books on Ashtanga Yoga

To explore the rich literature of this practice, we categorize these influential books on Ashtanga Yoga into three main types:

Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series: Step-by-Step Guides to the Practice

  • These books on Ashtanga Yoga focus on offering practical tips and detailed instructions for Primary Series practitioners. Enhancing both the home Ashtanga Yoga practice and a more profound understanding.

Intermediate Series and Beyond: Taking Ashtanga Yoga Deeper

Insights and Stories:  Ashtanga Yoga Journeys, Interpretations, and Self-Discovery

  • The authors of these books on Ashtanga Yoga share their insights, memoirs, interpretations, and stories related to the practice.
We’ve also included links to learn more about the authors at the end of this article.

Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series: Step by Step Guides to the Practice

image of books on ashtanga yoga Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois: Written by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois: Written by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Primary Series Books

  • Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois: Written by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, this seminal book offers foundational teachings straight from the source. It covers the philosophical and ethical principles underlying the practice. Guiding readers through the primary series with a focus on the benefits and techniques of each asana.
  • The Power of Ashtanga Yoga by Kino MacGregor: Kino, a renowned Ashtanga practitioner, leads readers through the Primary Series with detailed instructions and insights. She intertwines these practical aspects with discussions on the spiritual journey of yoga. Her book on ashtanga yoga illustrates how the practice can lead to inner peace and strength.
  • Ashtanga Yoga The Definitive Primary Series Practice Manual by Petri Raisanen: This manual provides a comprehensive look at each pose in the Primary Series, individually and as part of a holistic practice. Raisanen delves into the multidimensional philosophy of Ashtanga yoga. His book connects the practice to daily life and offers insights into its transformative power.
  • Ashtanga Yoga The Essential Step-by-step Guide to Dynamic Yoga by John Scott: This guide is a meticulous walkthrough of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series. His book offers clear and precise instructions for each posture. Ideal for practitioners of all levels, helping to deepen understanding of the series and enhances practice precision.
  • A Guide to Ashtanga Yoga’s Primary Series (As Developed by Pattabhi Jois) by Anthony Grim Hall: An accessible breakdown of the Primary Series. This book on Ashtanga Yoga methodically explains each pose, making the series approachable for beginners and a valuable refresher for experienced yogis. It offers insights into the alignment and purpose of each asana, enhancing understanding of the practice.

Primary Series Books Continued

  • Ashtanga for Beginners by Michael Gannon: This book is an inviting introduction to Ashtanga Yoga, focusing on the basic postures and breathing techniques essential for beginners. Gannon’s approach makes the practice accessible, laying a solid foundation for new practitioners to build upon.
  • Ashtanga Yoga As It IS by Matthew Sweeney: Sweeney’s book offers systematic and intuitive guidance through the primary series. His book emphasizes the importance of alignment, breath, and focused gaze (drishti). It’s a comprehensive resource for deepening practice and understanding the nuances of each posture.
  • Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners by Kim Roberts: This book is tailored for beginners. Her book highlights the foundational aspects of Ashtanga Yoga and emphasizing mindfulness throughout the practice. It serves as a gentle introduction, guiding newcomers through the essential elements of the practice.
  • Ashtanga Yoga Practice and Philosophy by Gregor Maehle: Maehle’s book on Ashtanga Yoga thoroughly explores the practice, offering detailed instructions for asanas alongside rich philosophical insights. It’s a valuable resource for deepening both the physical practice and understanding of the theoretical background of Ashtanga Yoga.
  • Ashtanga Yoga: An In-Depth Guide to the Fundamentals of Ashtanga Yoga by Adam Keen: Keen’s book covers the core elements of Ashtanga Yoga, including posture alignments and modifications. It’s a practical and comprehensive resource for practitioners of all levels, aiding in developing a safe and effective practice.
  • Ashtanga Yoga An Introduction by David Garrigues: This beginner-friendly guide demystifies the basics of Ashtanga Yoga, making it accessible to newcomers. Garrigues focuses on foundational principles, offering clear explanations and guidance to start the Ashtanga journey.
  • The Heart of Ashtanga Yoga by Laruga Glaser: Glaser’s book on Ashtanga Yoga explores the Primary Series, enriched by her personal experiences and philosophical insights. It invites readers to understand Ashtanga Yoga as a physical and spiritual practice.

Intermediate Series and Beyond: Taking Ashtanga Yoga Deeper

image of books on ashtanga yoga The Power of Ashtanga Yoga II The Intermediate Series: A Practice to Open Your Heart and Purify Your Body and Mind by Kino MacGregor
The Power of Ashtanga Yoga II The Intermediate Series by Kino MacGregor
  • Astanga Yoga Anusthana by R. Sharath Jois: This comprehensive book on Ashtanga Yoga by R. Sharath Jois delves into the postures and vinyasas, thoroughly explaining their execution and significance. It also explores the philosophical and spiritual foundations of the practice, making it a well-rounded resource for Ashtanga practitioners.
  • The Power of Ashtanga Yoga II The Intermediate Series: A Practice to Open Your Heart and Purify Your Body and Mind by Kino MacGregor: In this sequel, Kino guides readers through the Intermediate Series of Ashtanga Yoga. The book focuses on deepening the practice and explores how it can open the heart and purify both body and mind, suitable for those ready to advance their Ashtanga journey.
  • Ashtanga Yoga The Intermediate Series by Gregor Maehle: For experienced practitioners, Gregor’s book offers a detailed analysis of each pose in the Intermediate Series. It delves into Indian mythology and the significance of the Sanskrit language in yoga, enriching the understanding of the practice’s cultural and historical context.
  • Ashtanga Yoga The Practice Manual by David Swenson: This manual by David is renowned for its precise illustrations and accessible approach. It covers the primary and intermediate series of Ashtanga Yoga, making it a versatile resource for practitioners of all levels. * This book is featured in Best Books for Yoga Teachers *
  • Nadi Shodhana Ashtanga Yoga Intermediate Series by Petri Räisänen: Focusing on the Intermediate Series, Petri’s book provides detailed instructions and comprehensive background information. It’s an invaluable guide for those looking to deepen their understanding and practice of the more advanced stages of Ashtanga Yoga.
  • A Gem for Women by Geeta S. Iyengar: Geeta’s book addresses women’s unique needs and challenges in Ashtanga Yoga practice. It offers tailored advice and modifications to accommodate various stages of a woman’s life, making it a crucial resource for female practitioners.
  • Ashtanga Yoga for Women by Sally Griffyn: Sally’s book offers specialized advice for women engaged in Ashtanga Yoga. It focuses on adapting the practice to suit different life stages and conditions unique to women, making it an essential guide for female yogis.
  • Intermediate Series of Ashtanga Yoga by Tim Miller: In this comprehensive exploration of the Intermediate Series, Tim’s book on ashtanga yoga provides deep insights and detailed guidance for advanced practitioners. His approach helps deepen the practice, thoroughly understanding the series’ complexities and nuances.

Insights and Stories:  Ashtanga Yoga Journeys, Interpretations and Self Discovery

image of books on ashtanga yoga My Search for Yoga by David Williams
My Search for Yoga by David Williams
  • Guruji by Guy Danahaye and Eddie Stern: This insightful book comprises interviews with senior Ashtanga yoga teachers, shedding light on the practice’s intricacies and teachings. It offers readers an intimate look at the wisdom and experiences of long-time practitioners and teachers, deepening the understanding of Ashtanga Yoga’s lineage and philosophy.
  • The Art of Vinyasa by Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor: In this book, Freeman and Taylor explore Ashtanga Yoga as a meditative practice, emphasizing the importance of alignment and anatomy. They interweave the eight limbs of yoga into the narrative, offering a holistic approach to understanding and integrating Ashtanga into daily life.
  • Ashtanga Yoga The Definitive Guide to Therapeutic & Traditional Yoga by Manju Jois and Greg Tebb: This comprehensive book presents a creative and therapeutic approach to Ashtanga Yoga. The authors combine traditional methods with modern insights, making it an invaluable resource for practitioners seeking a balanced and integrative approach to their yoga practice.
  • The Mirror of Yoga Awakening the Intelligence of Body and Mind by Richard Freeman: Freeman delves into yoga’s philosophical and reflective elements, making solid connections with the meditative aspects of Ashtanga Yoga. This book guides readers through a deeper understanding of yoga’s reflective practices, enhancing their journey’s physical and mental aspects.
  • My Search for Yoga by David Williams: This memoir takes readers on a captivating journey with David Williams, one of the pioneers in bringing Ashtanga Yoga to the West. It narrates his personal experiences, discoveries, and the challenges he faced in becoming a respected Ashtanga Yoga teacher. His book offers unique insights into the spread and evolution of this practice.
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