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The 50 Greatest Self-Help Books

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Yoga and Pilates
Self-Help Books

I often recommend the practice of yoga as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Many of us are paying attention to ourselves "from the neck up" only - living in our heads. Continue reading article on Yoga and Pilates»

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The recommended Self-Help books and resources listed below are helpful guides to exploring the world of yoga and pilates.

See also: Health and Wellness; Meditation

Best Self-Help Books on Yoga and Pilates

Back Care Basics: A Doctor's Gentle Yoga Program for Back and Neck Pain Relief by Mary SchatzMoving Toward Balance: Eight Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee by Rodney Yee"These are the Yoga and Pilates Self-Help books I recommend most frequently."
David Yarian, Ph.D.






More Recommended Self-Help Books on Yoga and Pilates

The Alchemy of Peace & Love: Magical Meditations to Calm Your Mind and Lift Your Spirit (Audio 2-CD Set) by Sandi Anders and David YarianThe Alchemy of Peace & Love: Magical Meditations to Calm Your Mind and Lift Your Spirit (Audio 2-CD Set)
Sandi Anders and David Yarian

This 2-CD guided meditation set is a delicious combination of evocative words, original music and the soothing voice of Sandi Anders. Learn to deeply and fully relax using the Deep Rest Meditaion, a guided body scan relaxation. This meditation will help you to create the Relaxation Response which combats the ravages of chronic stress.

Sandi Anders, R.Y.T.: The Alchemy of Peace & Love: Magical Meditations to Calm Your Mind and Lift Your Spirit

A.M. and P.M. Yoga (DVD) by Rodney Yee; Patricia WaldenA.M. and P.M. Yoga (DVD)
Rodney Yee, Patricia Walden

Rodney Yee says, "The morning is a precious time. Just as the sun rises and falls, so do our natural rhythms. The morning is the perfect time to open our bodies and center our minds." He leads a 20-minute yoga practice that is perfect for beginning your day, with conscious relaxation, a series of yoga poses that are both relaxing and energizing, ending with brief guided meditation. “The evening is the perfect time to calmly transition between being active and being quiet,” offers Patricia Walden, as she introduces the 20-minute program of evening yoga designed to balance, calm, and revitalize you at the end of the day. 2002, Gaiam



Back Care Basics: A Doctor's Gentle Yoga Program for Back and Neck Pain Relief by Mary SchatzBack Care Basics: A Doctor's Gentle Yoga Program for Back and Neck Pain Relief
Mary Schatz

This classic Self-Help book has helped many people become free of chronic back and neck pain. Dr. Schatz offers simple, practical techniques to correct alignment problems, cope with stress, and help you become more aware of the early warning signs of painful flare-ups. 1992, Rodmell Press


B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health by B.K.S. IyengarB.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health
B.K.S. Iyengar

This encyclopedic Self-Help resource on the Iyengar system is profusely illustrated with color photographs and filled with detailed instructions for each posture, along with benefits and cautions for each posture. The book includes a large section on yoga for specific ailments, with posture series illustrated. 2007, DK ADULT; Revised edition


Essential Yoga: The Practical Step-by-Step Course by Judy SmithEssential Yoga: The Practical Step-by-Step Course
Judy Smith

Iyengar yoga for everyone, shown in 400 clear colour photographs. This Self-Help book explains the origins and philosophy of Iyengar yoga, the most widely practised form of yoga, giving advice on how to begin, when to practice and what equipment you will need. The yoga asanas have been specially chosen for beginners and intermediates and are clearly illustrated in a practical and easy-to-follow manner, with step-by-step guidance. The classic asanas are grouped into type for easy reference and graded by difficulty, with modified and more advanced variations to suit all levels of fitness and flexibility. 2009, Southwater


Moving Toward Balance: Eight Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee by Rodney YeeMoving Toward Balance: Eight Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee
Rodney Yee

Internationally renowned yoga instructor Rodney Yee offers yoga practitioners a two-month regimen that they can adopt as a home practice. Anatomy lessons, advice on breathing, photographs and detailed directions enhance this friendly guide. 2004, Rodale Books

Pick of the Month Self-Help BookThis book was a Pick of the Month Self-Help Book! Read David's full Book Review.


The New Yoga for People Over 50: A Comprehensive Guide for Midlife and Older Beginners by Suza FrancinaThe New Yoga for People Over 50: A Comprehensive Guide for Midlife and Older Beginners
Suza Francina

Using the Iyengar system of precise bodily alignment, this fully illustrated Self-Help book teaches how to begin and maintain a yoga program for increasing the health of every system of the body. 1997, Health Communications



Pilates: Body in Motion by Alycea Ungaro and Russell SadurPilates: Body in Motion
Alycea Ungaro and Russell Sadur

This Self-Help book uses step-by-step mat work exercises and a wide range of programs from beginner to advanced to help you build a stronger, leaner, fitter body. 2000, DK Publishing



The Pilates Body: The Ultimate Guide to Strengthening, Lengthening, and Toning Your Body - Without Machines by Brooke SilerThe Pilates Body: The Ultimate Guide to Strengthening, Lengthening, and Toning Your Body - Without Machines
Brooke Siler

While Pilates studios use patented (and expensive) equipment, each exercise in the Pilates body can be performed with just an exercise mat. While all parts of the body are used in the exercises, the focus is on the abdominals which support the back. This makes Pilates an ideal exercise for those with back problems or for those hoping to prevent them. 2000, Broadway Books


A Pilates Primer: The Millenium Edition by Joseph Pilates, et.al.A Pilates Primer: The Millenium Edition
Joseph Pilates, et.al.

This millennium edition includes the only two published works of Joseph Pilates. His work has been nothing short of revolutionary in its impact on the world of fitness and exercise. Pilates shares in these writings his fundamental approach to posture, body mechanics, correct breathing, spinal flexibility, physical education and his law of natural exercises. 2000, Presentation Dynamics


Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times by Judith LasaterRelax and Renew: Restful Yoga For Stressful Times
Judith Lasater

Experience the best rest of your life with restorative yoga. Relax and Renew contains a general sequence of supported yoga postures and breathing techniques to heal the effects of chronic stress, as well as programs for back pain, headaches, insomnia, jet lag, and breathing problems. There is a special section for women during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause as well as a guide to using props and a section on resources. 2011, Rodmell Press


Rodney Yee's Yoga for Beginners (DVD) by Rodney Yee and Colleen SaidmanRodney Yee's Yoga for Beginners (DVD)
Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman

Yoga for Beginners offers two full-length yoga workouts for beginners, with on-screen pose training for perfect form and secrets to overcoming the most common yoga mistakes. Get that long, lean yoga look while centering your mind and improving posture and flexibility. Choose full, in-depth guidance as you get familiar with the routine or opt for minimal conversation so you can take in the sights and sounds of beautiful Molokai, Hawaii. 2009, Gaiam


Thirty Essential Yoga Poses: For Beginning Students and Their Teachers by Judith LasaterThirty Essential Yoga Poses: For Beginning Students and Their Teachers
Judith Lasater

Judith Lasater draws on her wealth of yoga practice and teaching experience as well as her training as a physical therapist to present this comprehensive guide for beginning students. Sequences are presented with photographic charts for easy visual reference; resources for further study are included. 2003, Rodmell Press


The Woman's Book of Yoga and Health: A Lifelong Guide to Wellness by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia WaldenThe Woman's Book of Yoga and Health: A Lifelong Guide to Wellness
Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden

This well-illustrated Self-Help book, focuses on specific postures and sequences for women. Included are chapters on befriending the body, honoring the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, dealing with difficult emotions and aging. 2002, Shambhala



Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause: A Guide to Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health at Midlife and Beyond by Suza FrancinaYoga and the Wisdom of Menopause: A Guide to Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health at Midlife and Beyond
Suza Francina

Francina examines the role yoga can play in promoting physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being in the face of dramatic hormonal changes, the potential for and onset of osteoporosis, and even the experience (and possible avoidance) of cancer and heart disease. This Self-Help book offers a compact but well-rounded practice that even a new-comer can easily begin exploring. 2003, HCI


Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga by Amy WeintraubYoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga
Amy Weintraub

Weintraub makes a viable case for incorporating yoga in the treatment of depression. As a veteran yoga instructor and sufferer from depression, she found that yoga was helpful in freeing her from depression. 2003, Broadway Books



Yoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings and Practices for Healing the Body, Mind, and Heart by Gary KraftsowYoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings and Practices for Healing the Body, Mind and Heart
Gary Kraftsow

Kraftsow leads the modern yoga student in combining posture practice with a rich and deep tradition of mind, heart and spirit. He describes how to incorporate breathing, chanting, meditation, prayer and ritual to add a spiritual dimension to your practice. 2002, Penguin Books



Yoga: Mastering the Basics by Sandra Anderson and Rolf SovikYoga: Mastering the Basics
Sandra Anderson and Rolf Sovik

This Self-Help book is a comprehensive guide to all the elements of a yoga practice including practical advice on postures, breathing, relaxation, meditation and the fundamental philosophy of yoga. 2000, Himalayan Institute Press



Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing by Timothy McCall, M.D. and Yoga JournalYoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing
Timothy McCall, M.D. and Yoga Journal

In 2002, Dr. McCall traveled to India, where most scientific research on yoga's medical benefits has been conducted. The results of that visit and his subsequent study of yoga therapy and ayurveda are presented here, translated into Western medical terms. He demystifies many yogic concepts such as samskaras (unconscious patterns that negatively affect behavior and health), explaining that scientists see these patterns as repeated firings of neurons that change the brain's wiring. For readers challenged by illness, Dr. McCall provides an overview of popular yoga styles and their suitability for various degrees of fitness; steps to finding a yoga therapist; and what to expect from a session. Twenty chapters feature noted yoga instructors describing their approaches to specific conditions—panic attacks, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, infertility, cancer, etc. They offer advice, rather than fixed protocols, based on their tradition and experience. 2007 Bantam


Yoga Journal's: Beginning Yoga Step by Step Session 1-3 (DVD) by Natasha RizopoulosYoga Journal's: Beginning Yoga Step by Step Session 1-3 (For Beginners, 3 DVD Set)
Natasha Rizopoulos

This specially-priced 3-DVD set is designed by Yoga Journal to meet the needs of the beginning yoga student who wishes to build a strong foundation for personal yoga practice. DVD One focuses on standing poses, Sun Salutation sequence of poses, and breathwork for calm and quiet mind. DVD Two demonstrates how bending and twisting poses can enhance your flexibility, lift your spirit and brighten your mood. DVD Three teaches inversions and arm balances for developing focus and energy. Each DVD offers a 35-minute active instructional session; 20-minute flowing workout; demonstration of poses for both flexible and less flexible students; Timothy McCall, MD commenting on the health benefits of each pose; and specific instruction on proper alignment and correcting common mistakes. 2007, Bayview Entertainment/Widowmaker


Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness by Erich ShiffmanYoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness
Erich Shiffman

Shiffman provides simple instruction and clear illustrations to introduce a technique that combines yoga and meditation in order to slow the aging process, decrease stress, promote creativity and improve mental and physical health. 1996, Pocket Books


Yoga and Pilates Self-Help Resources