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  • Baxter Bell, MD

Baxter’s Yoga Reading List

Yoga Reading List by Baxter Bell

During a recent online workshop, someone asked if I had a reading list of my favorite yoga-related books I could share, and sheepishly I had to admit that I did not. Today, I remedy this gaping hole in what I offer on my website with this What’s on Your (Yoga) Mind? blog post.

The challenge, of course, is that I own way too many excellent books on yoga in my personal library. That said, there are some books I find myself referring to again and again, whether to find an answer to a question I have, to plan a workshop, lecture or class, or to share with my students or yoga therapy clients. So, those are the ones I share with you here today, while begging forgiveness for all those I leave out!


Yoga History and Philosophy:

Original Yoga: Rediscovering Traditional Practices of Hatha Yoga, by Richard Rosen This is a fascinating look at the earliest written records of Hatha yoga poses and practices, and you get Richard’s dry sense of humor, ta-boot!

Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, by Stephen Cope This is the first of 2 books from Cope that I really like, and it’s very relatable and delivers some of the gems of yoga philosophy for the modern person.

Yoga FAQ, Almost Everything You Need to Know about Yoga- from Asanas to Yamas, by Richard Rosen Richard answers a wide variety of fascinating questions about yoga, certain to educate and entertain at the same time.

The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living, by Stephen Cope This is the follow-up to his first book, and via real life examples and stories, Cope takes you further into the vast wisdom of yoga. Both his books are very readable!

The Yoga Sutras Workbook, by Nicolai Bachman This is very accessible dive into the yoga philosophy that underpins much of our modern take on the ancient practice. Well worth the investment, it includes a spiral bound workbook, flash cards and audio CDs to give you multiple ways to learn about the Sutras of Patanjali.

The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy and Practice, by Georg Feuerstein, PhD This is like the encyclopedia of all things yoga related. Although not a book many will sit down and read cover to cover, it is an invaluable reference whenever I want a deep dive into Yoga.


Yoga Asana:

Light on Yoga, BKS Iyengar I still find myself occasionally referring to this modern classic on the Iyengar approach to yoga poses…look for the newest edition for ease of use.

Yoga for Healthy Aging, by Baxter Bell and Nina Zolotow Yep, I actually do re-read my book often and still find it quite useful on many levels!

The Heart of Yoga, TKV Desikachar (good for yoga philosophy, too) This is a great introduction to the yoga of Krishnamacharya, who influenced both Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois, and could be a fine starting book for someone newer to yoga.


Yoga Anatomy Books:

Science of Yoga: Understanding the Anatomy and Physiology to Perfect Your Practice, by Ann Swanson A newer addition to other good primers for yoga practitioners, this book has some great information and very cool illustrations.



The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama, by Richard Rosen A great look at pranayama through the Iyengar lens by a teacher who has practiced and investigated these techniques for decades. Also, check out his follow-up book, Pranayama: Beyond the Fundamentals.

Restoring Prana, by Robin Rothenberg A newer take on pranayama that questions some of the modern assumptions around the techniques of pranayama and investigates newer models of breathing, also.


Yoga Therapy books:

Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing, by Timothy McCall, MD This book was pretty ground-breaking when it first came out in 2007, and well worth a read, and it is quite readable and gives some great ideas on the application of yoga for a variety of health conditions.

Principles and Practices of Yoga in Health Care, edited by Sat Bir Khasala, MD, Lorenzo Cohen, MD, Timothy McCall, MD, and Shirly Telles, MD This is my go-to book for all the research on the applications of yoga for health issues. Although it is somewhat academic in its presentation, there are some nice clinical pearls at the end of each chapter.

Yoga and Science in Pain Care, edited by Neil Pearson, Shelly Prosko, and Marlysa Sullivan This is the most comprehensive look at yoga for addressing persistent or chronic pain, and is fairly accessible, even for the non-yoga therapist.



Mudras: for Healing and Transformation, by Joseph and Lillian LePage This is my everyday, go-to book that is so practical and useful, and worth the extra cost.

Mudras of India, by Cain and Revital Carroll This is a great book that will give you more background on mudras and includes both those used in yoga as well as those used mostly in classical Indian dance.

Mudra: the Sacred Secret, by Indu Arora This is the newest to my collection, and it is also fairly user friendly for your everyday practice, and includes some mudras that my first choice above does not include.

1 Comment

Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette
Dec 30, 2021

Baxter, is the name of the sutras book actually The Yoga Sutras: An Essential Guide to the Heart of Yoga Philosophy?

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