Light on Life – A Book Review

Light on Life by BKS Iyengar

Light on Life by BKS Iyengar

This past week, I have been reading Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar. Iyengar is one of the founders of modern yoga and is largely responsible for it’s spread in the Western world.
The silent film that started it all can be found here…..

…..and here….

He performed this yoga for the Western press corps in 1938 and has been actively promoting yoga on the world stage. If you’ve been doing yoga with straps, blocks, or other equipment, you are doing Iyengar yoga. His aim is to make yoga accessable for everyone, because no matter your condition, yoga can help.
Now, at age 91, he still practices many hours of yoga per week and teaches special classes worldwide.

In a way, this book is almost an autobiography, but it is so much more. Iyengar interdisperses practical wisdom with sage advice and discusses yogic philosophy in a way that is readable for the layperson.

I used to silently criticize people that do yoga “just for exercise.” Iyengar defends them. He explains yogic philosophy as a peeling away of layers, from the outside in. He said that it is impossible to heal the spirit when you have physical ailments. It is hard to concentrate on your breathing when your stomach is grumbling and difficult to relax when you have back pain. Doing yoga primarily for its physical benefits is fine, because that’s the correct order.

Iyengar also touched on meditation and achievement. He presses the reader to continue moving forward and practice to get a little better every day. He highlights that the instant you say “I’ve got it” is the instant that you lose it. He also offers the wisdom that when we see someone else doing something incorrectly, you should check to see if you are doing it also.

All in all, it was a wonderful book. I would recommend it to anyone studying yoga or any of the martial arts, as well as anyone looking for a little guidance. It would also serve as a lovely complement to any religious text. Some of the Sanskrit terms could be a little off-putting for someone who is not familiar with them, but Iyengar does well to explain them as they are introduced.

Guruji, Thank you.


~ by jamiesnydertv on May 8, 2009.

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