5 Books Every Yogi Should Read

Sarah Cutfield ‘s picks:        

So you’re into Yoga. Maybe you’re new to the practice, only just discovering what Yoga really is and creating awkward shapes with your body in your spare time. (Firstly, welcome.) Or perhaps you’ve been practicing for years. Maybe you’ve got your 200 hour Teacher Training Certificate. Maybe your 500 hour certificate? Wherever you are in your Yoga journey, you’ve really only just begun down this rabit hole, Alice. Even if you’ve been teaching for years, you’ve likely barely touched the tip of knowledge involved in the complex world of Yoga. Yoga really is a never-ending adventure of education and expoloration.

Of course, one of the primary methods of discovery is on your mat. The physical asana practice gets us out of our heads and into our bodies, encouraging us to move, breathe, feel and be present. But then there are times when you’ll likely wonder just how your physical practice relates to your daily life, or the meaning of some Sanskrit word and it’s relevance off the mat.

Arriving at a coherent understanding of this rich and varied tradition takes time and contemplation, and books can be great guides along the path. Of course there are many ancient texts that are deserving of serious, scholarly study, but then there are also plenty of great, modern reads that can provide a broader understanding of Yoga and a deeper awareness of the practice.

Curious about all that yoga has to offer? Try stepping off your mat and cozying up with a good Yoga book. We sat down with one of Semperviva’s own, Sarah Cutfield, to discuss her top picks.


  1. My favorite book for new yogis.

“Meditations from the Mat” and “Meditations on Intention & Being” by Rolf Gates.

 These are two thoughtful, accessible books that can be read in short chunks and cover a lot of concepts with practical, “real world” examples.

  1. My favorite book for asana, anatomy and understanding the physical body.

My most recent discovery is “Yoga of the Subtle Body” by Tias Little. It’s not an “introductory” level book, but it has an incredible, comprehensible synthesis of energetic systems (think chakras, prana, koshas etc.) with the physical body in postures. It also includes great investigative exercises!

  1. My favorite book for inspiration for new teachers (quotes, poetry, inspiration etc.)

BKS Iyengar’s “Light on Life”. It covers a lot of territory, from asana to philosophy, and I have often used quotes and concepts from it to help inspire and theme my classes. There are a lot of great “sound bites” in there – small, digestible pieces that can be taken on their own or woven into a bigger picture over time.

  1. My favorite book for everything else (e.g. Philosophy, Meditation, History of Yoga, Pranayama, Myths or Mantra).

“Myths of the Asanas” and “Sacred Sound” by Alanna Kaivalya.

Since mythology and mantra are so important to what I personally practice and offer as a teacher, I love that these books are really great introductions for someone who is getting interested in poses beyond alignment, and in the use of sound as part of their practice.

  1. The book I have read, and re-read and re-read again.

“Bringing Yoga to Life” by Donna Farhi.

This was one of the first “philosophy” related books on Yoga I read years and years ago, and I just keep coming back to it. Donna is a lovely writer and draws in a lot of her life and teaching experiences to make the philosophy come alive.

Bonus question: Currently on my nightstand is …

“American Veda” by Philip Goldberg

“The Mirror of Yoga” by Richard Freeman

“Kailash: In Quest of the Self” by Swami Vedananda