Anatomy of Hatha Yoga by H. David Coulter
I think this just might be my favourite yoga book of all time. Yes, it is an anatomy book and it is not an exciting read but it is very practical. It is very important, as a yoga teacher or practitioner, to understand how the body moves through yoga. I would even venture to suggest that people doing other forms of activities and sports might like to read this one.
This book is broken down into simple chapters so you really do not need to read it from cover to cover. You can start reading where you might feel you need the most help and go from there. Here are the chapters as they are broken down: Movement and Posture, Breathing (yes, this books talks about how to breathe), Abdominal Exercises, Standing Postures, Backbending Postures, The Headstand, The Shoulder Stand, Relaxation and Meditation.
There is a great deal of potential with a book that talks about anatomy in the way that yoga moves but I find that it is very difficult to find an engaging and specific book about anatomy for yoga practice. This is my go-to book. There are bright and colourful diagrams to help as the book does get quite technical. Don't be afraid of the technical parts here. In the book, Coulter even explains that if some parts get too technical for what you like or understand, you can read the important parts within each section and stop there. Once you are ready to delve deeper into the land of anatomy, then you can go there.
This book really challenged me to think about specific movements and postures and how my body moves into the poses as well as how my body is structured. I have learned a lot about myself and common challenges people face when they are in specific yoga poses. I have read this book once cover to cover and continually go back to reference specific things. It is definitely not possible to absorb it all in one sitting. This is one of those books you keep forever and read over and over again. Even just looking at the pictures helps me to better understand some concerns that yoga students and peers express when I speak with them. This is a must for your yoga library.