Meditation and being mindful of our thoughts and actions can have many benefits in the long run. But getting started and maintaining a habit of it can be difficult. These fifteen books can help any yogi, new or old, no matter what they need.
The best mindfulness books explore and discuss multiple aspects of the way of meditation and managing our thoughts. Not every book will be exactly what you need at the moment in your mindfulness and meditation journey. But reading through the following list can help you determine what the best book to start with for you is.
The Top 15 Mindfulness Books Every Yogi Should Read are:
- The Miracle of Mindfulness
- The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction
- Mindfulness in Plain English
- Meditation for Beginners
- Wherever You Go, There You Are
- Yoga for Wellness
- The Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation
- The Art of Joyful Living
- The Heart of Yoga
- Autobiography of a Naked Yogi
- The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness
- Good Morning, I Love You
- You Can Do All Things
Best Mindfulness and Meditation Books for Beginners
If you are just starting to learn about mindfulness and meditation, then these five books are a great place to start. They cover a wide range of topics and even offer some beginning exercises to start you on your journey.
1. The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
Written by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, The Miracle of Mindfulness offers easy to learn exercises and interesting stories to help you learn the basics of mindfulness and meditation. This book is like having the author with you every step of the way as you take your first steps into the mindfulness world.
Just starting out in meditation and practicing mindfulness can be confusing and a little difficult. That’s why the first few chapters are about the advantages and disadvantages of meditation, so you know what you’re getting yourself into. The author also provides specific and profound examples in stories about himself and other people who have deeply benefitted from the practice.
The rest of the book is about simple and easy to follow exercises that you can do yourself. The author provides a step by step guide for each one, with a gentle and easy to read type of guidance. Most of them don’t require too much effort on your part and don’t take up much of your day. The exercises are simple enough for a beginner to do, but the benefits can be reaped by everyone, no matter how far along in their mindfulness journey they are.
2. The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction by Rebecca E. Williams
If you’re turning to meditation and mindfulness to cope and better deal with something you are struggling with, The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction is the best book to start with. It offers tips for meditation that are specifically catered to those struggling with:
Anything that you might be struggling with, this book has advice and exercises to help you conquer it. The author is a licensed clinical psychologist that specializes in addiction recovery and mental illness recovery. Because of her background, the author looks at meditation and mindfulness as less of a spiritual experience, and more of a scientific and psychological one.
While most meditation books focus on improving one’s life with meditation and mindfulness, this book focuses more on starting a healing process that someone may need to begin a new life. This book treats addiction problems and mental health problems, not as something that can be easily treated. It presents them as a process and a journey that is unique to everyone, with multiple exercises to try out to see what works best for you. It’s like having a therapist or a psychiatrist right there in your pocket whenever you need it.
3. Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana
This book is not only a simple guide on the basics of meditation; Mindfulness in Plain English provides a step by step journey through all aspects of meditation. The author is a Buddhist monk who has done meditation and mindfulness work in India, and he takes a deep dive into subjects such as:
- The myths and realities of meditation and mindfulness
- Benefits and disadvantages of meditation and mindfulness
- Meditating for your specific needs and lifestyle
But one thing that makes this book stand out from the rest is the chapter it has on cultivating loving kindness. The idea of cultivating loving kindness is manifesting enough self love and kindness towards your own spirit that you start to show it to others as well. This approach stems from Buddhist meditation traditions and aims to encourage people to open their hearts for one another. This chapter details how practicing this can help you further your meditation and mindfulness, teaching you that caring about everyone can lead you to care more about yourself.
The simple guide format of the book makes it ideal for a beginner to meditation and mindfulness. It can be a confusing thing when you first start, but this book breaks it down into simple English that everyone can understand. It’s more focused on the spiritual practice of meditation and mindfulness, but it’s written in an approachable and friendly way.
4. Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield
Despite this being the shortest book on this list, with a total of only one hundred pages, Meditation for Beginners is a very quick and simple introduction to mindfulness and meditation. It gives you a step by step guide on how to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your daily life.
The thing that makes this book stand out from the others is that it comes with a CD that includes verbally guided meditation and mindfulness exercises to listen to. Digital versions also come with this audio so that you can listen to it anywhere and anytime. The four easy to learn and easy to follow meditation exercises include:
- Training your mind at the start of meditation
- Standing and sitting posture and breathing exercises
- Being aware of one’s emotions and feelings
- Being empathetic to others’ emotions and feelings
The use of the guided exercises and the step by step book makes it feel like you have an actual instructor with you on your meditation journey. This can help you to make a habit out of meditation by helping you stay focused on how often you meditate and how you’re doing with meditating. This book is a great way to start making meditation a habit for anyone.
5. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The last book on this list isn’t as much of a spiritual step by step guide as the rest. While it doesn’t include exercises and tips for getting started with meditation and mindfulness, Wherever You Go, There You Are does take a deeper look into the thought process behind meditation and mindfulness exercises.
This book mainly focuses on the ideals of mindfulness and mediation rather than the spiritual side of it. The ideals of meditation are basically what makes meditation helpful for others and how it can improve the lives of individuals. The ideals of meditation that are explored and detailed in this book include:
- Increasing focus
- Decreasing stress
- Connecting with others more
- Developing a higher sense of confidence
The author, Jon Kabat-Zinn, is an American professor that was a student of Buddhist monks. He combines the scientific and logical with the explorative nature of meditation to give a detailed description of why meditation can work for you if done correctly. He doesn’t dwell on the spiritual side of mindfulness and meditation too much. So, if you’re looking for a book that will teach you more about meditation rather than how to do it, this is the book for you.
Best Mindfulness and Meditation Books for Yoga Teachers
Whether you’re an experienced yoga teacher or just starting your training, these five books will help propel your teaching and your learning journeys forward.
Yoga for Wellness by Gary Kraftsow
Written for those that are looking to start their practice or studio, Yoga for Wellness goes into how each physical position and mental exercise in yoga can be beneficial. It explores how each position and exercise is beneficial for the physical health of the body and the mental health of the mind.
The author, Gary Kraftsow, is one of America’s top yoga teachers with years of experience and clients. Accompanied with detailed photographs and step by step guides, Kraftsow explains everything there is to know about yoga for someone just starting their practice. Kraftsow explains concepts including:
- Basic postures and their physical and mental benefits
- The specific movements and stretches of each posture
- How to sequence postures into a routine that’s most beneficial for you and your clients
- How sequences of postures can relieve ailments in each system of the body
This book is the best one to start with if you’re looking to open your yoga practice or meditation studio. It helps you to understand in detail the benefits of each yoga position and mindfulness exercise. With a better understanding of these exercises and positions, you’ll more easily be able to teach others mindfulness and meditation in yoga.
The Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation by Harish Johari
Whether you’re an advanced yoga teacher or you’re just starting out, The Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation is a detailed guide about all of the different types of chakras and energies that exist in the human body.
Chakras are defined as the stage where the interaction between higher spiritual consciousness and human desire is played out. There are specific ones for each part of the body, from the head down to the toes. Each explanation includes a detailed illustration of where the chakra is and its role in the human body and mind. The explanations also go into detail about how each chakra connects to certain things, including connections to:
- Human behavior and desires
- Planets and deities
- The type of energy that each chakra needs and puts out
A better understanding of the purposes and types of chakras will allow you to teach others how to use them to their benefit.
The author, Harish Johari, is an Indian scholar that specializes in studying the science and spirituality behind chakras. He introduces the classical and traditional aspects of chakras and how they can be applied to modern life. As far as yoga goes, Johari also explains how to teach others visualization and manifestation exercises using the energy of the chakras. You can teach these exercises while performing yoga or meditation.
The Art of Joyful Living by Swami Rama
This selection focused more on training yourself and others minds to be optimistic and joyful at all times in life, whether life be successful or difficult at the moment. Written by one of the greatest Tantric Sages of our time, The Art of Joyful Living teaches the inspirational message of us having control over our own life and how we feel about it.
The author, Swami Rama, is one of the most reputable individuals in the religion known as Tantrism. Pulling from the teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism, Tantrism teaches that we can train our minds to have a positive outlook on life through mindful meditation and yoga. Swami Rama writes about this by explaining multiple methods of meditation to benefit all aspects of you, including:
- Your desires
- Your wisdom
- Your willpower
- Your emotions
- Your social relationships with others
- Your relationship with yourself
The book teaches you to live in the world with all those different aspects of yourself and teaches both yoga and meditation skills for how to balance them. The main point of the book is that happiness is our creation, and how meditation and mindfulness in yoga can help us in reaching a higher and purer state of joy. If you can teach yourself how to create your happiness, you’ll have no problem teaching others to create their own.
The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar
This is one of the two books on this list written by a yoga teacher for yoga teachers. The author, Desikachar, is one of the most admired and respected yoga teachers of this time. He wrote The Heart of Yoga as a guide to yoga teachers on how to learn to read your clients’ needs as much as you read your own needs.
The book focuses primarily on yoga being an ever-changing experience. You and your clients will need different exercises and routines, depending on your needs. This book outlines step by step instructions on how to read your clients’ needs, whether it be with a single client or a group of clients. Some of the differing factors between clients can include:
- Physical and mental health
So, knowing what each client will need most can help you to create routines that will be the most beneficial for them.
The author also goes over every aspect of yoga you could think of, including:
- Conscious and rhythmic breathing exercises
- Poses and counterposes to help with physical ailments
- Meditation and mindfulness exercises for mental health
- The philosophy and ideology behind yoga and meditation
With detailed and descriptive instructions on each of the subjects above, this book is like the encyclopedia for meditation and yoga.
Autobiography of a Naked Yogi by Yogi Aaron
The second book, written by a yoga teacher for a yoga teacher, Autobiography of a Naked Yogi, explores the inner journey that a budding yoga teacher must take. The author Yogi Aaron doesn’t just go into detail about the personal side of being a yoga teacher, but the business side as well.
Yogi Aaron takes you along with him on his journey to discovering his true self and calling through the practice of yoga. By telling personal stories with a humorous but uplifting tone, he passes on what he learned about being a yoga teacher from his years of teaching. Some of his main points include:
- Living with power
- Being authentically and unapologetically yourself
- How to make smart business decisions while still keeping your spirit alive
- How to not get caught up with the people who only want profit
- Building a successful you along with a successful business
This book takes teaching yoga and running a yoga practice and combines them into one brilliantly hilarious but still enlightening story that anyone can draw lessons from. Reading this book can help skip two stones in one throw, with learning how to be a better yoga teacher, yoga business runner, and overall person all in one.
Best Mindfulness Books Overall
If you’ve been in the yoga and meditation community for a while and just want something new to read about with the practice, then these five books are for you. These are the top rated mindfulness and meditation books of all time, covering a wide range of subjects bound to capture your spirit no matter what you’re searching for.
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe
Based on a popular meditation app called Headspace, The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness offers short and concise exercises that usually only take minutes to do. Each exercise then comes with a detailed explanation of how doing it consistently or whenever you need, is beneficial to you.
The author, Andy Puddicombe, is a former Buddhist monk that pioneered the headspace techniques of meditation and mindfulness. He specifically tailored each exercise in the book to take no more than ten minutes to do, but also to be effective for remedying whatever you need.
There’s multiple exercises to help with a variety of physical and mental health problems, and you can do them at any time of day as often as you want. The exercises fix problems such as:
- Improving focus and productivity
- Improving sleep
- Weight loss
- Coping with depression and other mental illnesses
- Stress and anxiety relief
These problems and more can be remedied with the exercises explained in this book. If you want to use the app along with the book, it is free for a short time, but then you have to pay for a monthly subscription. With the book, though, you only have to buy it once, and you have endless meditation and mindfulness exercises at your fingertips.
Good Morning, I Love You by Shauna Shapiro
This is the best book for learning how to use meditation and mindfulness as a form of self-care and self-fulfillment. In Good Morning, I Love You, Dr. Shapiro details the scientific side and the practice of being kind to yourself and letting yourself have time to take care of your mind and body.
The author, Dr. Shapiro, is one of the leading scientists in studying how negativity affects the brain. Her studies show us that acting with kindness and compassion toward ourselves is the key to acting the same towards others. She has used these scientific studies to back up her self love and self-care exercises.
The first few parts of the book are about the scientific side of why we often feel so bad about ourselves and others in the world. Dr. Shapiro reveals that it’s natural to have thoughts about yourself that aren’t very uplifting. But even though they are normal, that doesn’t mean they are helpful. Dr. Shapiro provides techniques to help you rewire your brain to think positive things. If you think positive things, you exert positive energy. And you and other people are affected by it, leading to even more positivity.
Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein
If ‘The Heart of Yoga’ was the encyclopedia for meditation and mindfulness, then Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein is the dictionary of meditation and mindfulness. The book goes into detail about the four cornerstones of meditation and mindfulness that are still used in many practices.
The four cornerstones of meditation and mindfulness that are discussed include:
- The mindfulness of your body. This means your breathing, your sitting and standing postures, your activities, and other physical characteristics
- The mindfulness of your feelings. This means how our senses experience what’s around us, and our perceptions of the inner and outer worlds
- The mindfulness of your mind. This includes learning to recognize productive and unproductive thoughts and states of mind
- The mindfulness of dhammas, also known as categories of experience. These include the Five Hindrances, the Six Sense Spheres, and the Seven Factors of Awakening
Each of the four milestones have a few detailed chapters dedicated to them. The author explains the benefits of focusing on them and the role they play in mindfulness and meditation. This is the best mindfulness and meditation book to read if you want to take a deeper look into the building blocks of meditation and how they can help you in your mindfulness journey.
You Can Do All Things by Kate Allen
This book is unique in that it aims to help your mental health improve not with scientific explanations or step by step exercises but rather adorable little drawings with positive affirmations. With over two hundred drawings ranging from animals to plants, You Can Do All Things is a pocket sized square of positivity that you can take with you anywhere.
Each drawing in the book is accompanied by a short positive quote from the author herself. Designed to be approachable for both adults and children, the drawings are simple and colorful, guaranteed to bring an uplifting smile to your face. While it isn’t too heavy on meditation exercises, it can help with mindfulness with the simple quotes included with each drawing.
The quotes range from gentle reminders that we all have bad days to uplifting one sentence sermons of encouragement, and even simple advice that can help with your mental health. Even though this book doesn’t follow the typical outline of step by step meditation and mindfulness education, it can still serve as a small moment of positivity to look forward to each day.
Finally, the book comes with a few blank pages to write down your own words of affirmation and draw your own pictures. What this book lacks in the professional side of meditation and mindfulness, it makes up for in making you feel good about yourself with reassuring animal friends.
Shine by Andy Cope
Last but not least, this book has the most positive outlook on mindfulness and meditation out of any on this list. Using a humorous but supportive method of storytelling, Shine encourages you to start living the life you’ve always wanted and given you the mental tools to start doing so.
Despite its humorous and cheery cover, this book takes a deeper look at some of the taboos of mental and physical health. But it takes those difficult to talk about subjects and turns them on their heads. It teaches you how to be mindful of when you’re having a bad day, but then it teaches you to remind yourself that you can get back to shining and that each day is a new day.
Even though these books are some of the best of the best, each book will benefit different people in different ways. Whether you’re just starting on your mindfulness and meditation journey, looking to teach others the ideology and methods behind it, or just want a new interesting book to read. This list should be able to cater to each need!