I have been wanting to read Light on Yoga for a long time now, and The International Day of Yoga gave a good pretext for finally doing so. Iyengar's work is a must read for all serious practitioners. It gives perspective, and it gives direction. Even if someone is only interested in the yoga poses as a mere workout, reading about those poses, their interconnections, derivations and interlinked effects, would be of great help.
However, the main value of the work is in placing the modern practice I have been wanting to read Light on Yoga for a long time now, and The International Day of Yoga gave a good pretext for finally doing so. However, the main value of the work is in placing the modern practice of Yoga in its proper context. A concise form of this understanding can be gained by just understanding the seven stages of Yoga as laid out by Patanjali.
They are: 1. Yama universal moral commandments 2. Niyama self purification by discipline 3. Asana posture 4. Pranayama rhythmic control of the breath 5. Pratyahara withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and exterior objects 6. Dharana concentration 7. Dhyana meditation 8. Samadhi a state of super-consciousness brought about by profound meditation, in which the individual aspirant sadhaka becomes one with the object of his meditation - Paramatma or the Universal Spirit.
Of these, the first two - Yama and Niyama - are the starting points - they control the yogi's passions and emotions and keep him in harmony with his fellow man. According to Patanjali these two stages are the prerequisites to further practice of Yoga: Without firm foundations a house cannot stand. Without the practice of the principles of yama and niyama, which lay down firm foundations of yoga, further progress is not possible.
Practice of asanas without the backing of yama and niyama is mere acrobatics, according to Iyengar. Then comes the Asanas - which keep the body healthy and strong and in harmony with nature. Through them the Yogi conquers the body and renders it a fit vehicle for the soul. These first three stages are the outward quests bahiranga sadhana. The next two stages, Pranayama and Pratyahara, teach the aspirant to regulate the breathing, and thereby control the mind.
This helps to free the senses from the thraldom of the objects of desire. These two stages of Yoga are known as the inner quests antaranga sadhana. Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi take the yogi into the innermost recesses of his soul. The yogi does not look heavenward to find God. The last three stages keep him in harmony with himself and his Maker.
These stages are called antaratma sadhana, the quest of the soul. View all 10 comments. Mar 21, Anne rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: anyone interested in yoga. I'm in love with this book. It is a great life Bible, and it helps solidify the emotional and subconscious effects yoga has on me.
For anyone who's thought about practicing yoga, you will be more than inspired if you read the 50 page introduction to this book. There is also a huge section of this book dedicated to the poses and the effects of the poses, and the final section of the book is about breathing. Yoga is definitely more than flexibility and if anything, being tight and gaining I'm in love with this book. Yoga is definitely more than flexibility and if anything, being tight and gaining flexibility gives even more evidence of the benefits of yoga. Quote: "It is said: 'Work alone is your privilege, never the fruits thereof.
Work in the name of the Lord abandoning selfish desires. Be not affected by success or failure.
This equipoise is called Yoga. S Iyengar p 26 "When the senses are stilled when the mind is at rest, when the intellect wavers not--then, say the wise, is reached the highest stage. This steady control of the senses and mind has been defined as Yoga. He who attains it is free from delusion. S Iyengar p View all 3 comments. Oct 30, Craig Shoemake rated it it was amazing Shelves: asanas , hinduism , indian-religion , yoga.
As they say of Porsches: "There is no substitute. And for once in a blue moon a sensational blurb on a cover-"The Bible of Modern Yoga," in this case-is truer than true. If you own only one book on yoga, let this be the one. It begins with an introduction "from the inside," so to speak. As has been made plain by some of my previous reviews, the background of the writer is as important as the extent of the writer's As they say of Porsches: "There is no substitute. As has been made plain by some of my previous reviews, the background of the writer is as important as the extent of the writer's knowledge.
Iyengar has it all.
Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Countless commentaries on the Yoga Sutras are available today. No one can deny that such a process is beneficial to all people for living a focused and productive life. Dhyana is distinct from Dharana in that the meditator becomes actively engaged with its focus. Speaking in terms of God or a Supreme Being often disturbs people, regardless of whether they accept or reject the notion. Books Authors About Us.
He is Hindu born and a lifelong yoga devotee. He studied with Krishnamacharya, widely acknowledged as the twentieth century's greatest yoga teacher. The view of yoga Iyengar offers in his 34 page introduction is a traditional and decidedly idealized view-that is, of yoga as a path to self-mastery and liberation. He quotes frequently from the Hindu scriptures and freely tosses Sanskrit terminology around.
If you're one of those who wouldn't know adho mukha svanasana from a rare tropical disease, this may be off-putting, but if you're serious about your yoga, you'd better get used to it.
Part II, "Yogasanas, Bandha and Kriya," constitutes the majority of the book and is the reason why most will buy it. Iyengar covers several hundred asanas, supplying general advice for practice as well as detailed instructions for each pose. Every asana is accompanied by clear photos of Iyengar demonstrating the asana under discussion. The sheer quantity of asanas is unparalleled-if there is another yoga book with this many or more asanas, I've yet to find it. But it's not just that: Iyengar's explanations, his advice, and his illuminating notes on what the asanas actually do to the body and mind-advice obviously born from extensive experience and teaching-is also without equal.
All yoga books have some of what Light on Yoga has; none have such a complete package of quantity and quality. Iyengar also includes a brief but illuminating section on pranayama.
However, those who wish to understand breath control in-depth are advised to consult his other masterpiece, Light on Pranayama. I've not yet explored that one, but it is on my list. If the book ended there, it would still be an unprecedented contribution to the literature of yoga. But Iyengar goes the extra mile with two further sections: one, a complete five-year course in asanas and pranayama, graduated from rank beginner to expert level; two, a section discussing exercises for the treatment of specific ailments.
Again, most yoga books worth their salt include courses at the end; one I've reviewed already Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann is quite excellent in this regard.
But I've never seen anything close to what Iyengar does here. This is why I came to the conclusion that at least for the time being, Light on Yoga is the only yoga book I need. View 1 comment. Jan 27, Alissa rated it really liked it. This is on my "currently reading" shelf in perpetuity. Or until I hammer together a couple more e-shelves.
Regarding the book: I sort of get eye-rollish about things referred to as "the Bible" of anything, and find it even a bit more grating when the topical focus is of a spiritual nature that is more broad than should be described in analogy to the pre-eminant book of one particular path to spirituality. Ok, that aside, it isn't this book's fault that the title did that. And this book is This is on my "currently reading" shelf in perpetuity. I probably love this more than I would if I hadn't already gone in with a burning ardor for other similar texts and a learned understanding from those of what the heck is going on here as a baseline though--notable the Bhagavad Gita.
I'd read that first if you haven't. I should add that to my Goodreads shelf, too. Iyengar is just one master of one form of physically practicing yoga and this really isn't about all the other yoga as is the epically gorgeous B-Gita and his writing reflects a little language barrier but it's one of the things I actually love about the book a bit more.
And in parts, each sentence could be a thoughtful hour spent in its digestion if you're so inclined to feast on prose sometimes as opposed to just snack or subsist. Good stuff, and, for what it's worth, some of the advanced asansas make for pretty sick party tricks if you're in it for entertainment value alone. View 2 comments. Apr 17, Dennis Littrell rated it it was amazing Shelves: yoga. Simply the best This is the definitive text on hatha yoga. This is the book you want if you are serious about beginning your yoga practice.
This is also a text of reference for professional teachers used throughout the world. It is no exaggeration to say that all yoga instructors in the United States know this book, and most of them own a copy and refer to it regularly.
Iyengar's text is characterized by a thoroughness of content, a detailed, precise, step-by-step "how to" for instruction in asana Simply the best This is the definitive text on hatha yoga. Iyengar's text is characterized by a thoroughness of content, a detailed, precise, step-by-step "how to" for instruction in asana and pranayama. There are photos of Iyengar himself demonstrating the poses with extraordinary flexibility and precision. I have an early, hardcover edition with the photos collected together at the back of the book. The newer editions have the photos spaced appropriately throughout the text.