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Light on Life

4.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,649 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
B.K.S. Iyengar--hailed as "the Michelangelo of yoga" (BBC) and considered by many to be the most important living yoga master--has spent much of his life introducing the modern world to the ancient practice of yoga. Yoga's popularity is soaring, but its widespread acceptance as an exercise for physical fitness and the recognition of its health benefits have not been matche
Paperback, 282 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Rodale Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Camille Cusumano
Nov 23, 2012 Camille Cusumano rated it it was amazing
I practiced Hatha yoga for 14 years before becoming a convert to Iyengar yoga in 1987. Iyengar is the only yoga discipline I know of where the teachers are trained in anatomy and physiology. I have heard Mr. Iyengar criticized for not having a "spiritual bone" in his body. My repartee is that when you get deep into yoga you move beyond this dualistic thinking and see the body/mind/spirit/soul as one. This book is good for reading but it is highly advised you have a trained teacher guide you in t ...more
Janet Papis
Sep 29, 2010 Janet Papis rated it it was amazing
Iyengar outlines Pantanjali’s eight limbed path in a way that is clear and understandable by illustrating the steps in an applicable manner to the modern reader, yet intertwining concepts that are so true to his own style. I especially liked his quote, "Is it through the alignment of my body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence. Alignment from the outermost body or sheath to the innermost is the way to bring our own personal Reality into contact with Universal Reali ...more
May 06, 2013 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga
This book is truly enlightening on all the finer aspects of yoga I have ever wondered about and which others (mostly online blogging yogis) have barely touched upon with any greater depth.

Iyengar thoroughly explains the layers of experience that we learn to inhabit and cultivate while maintaining a disciplined asana practice. He uses many apt and articulate analogies that highlight the connectedness of yogic philosophy and physical practice in all of its esoteric complexity. I finally learned e
Feb 03, 2010 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
It's too bad this title sounds so much like the other thousands of books out there on yoga, self-improvement, etc. This one brings clarity to the confused, contradictory, flimsy info on yoga's vision of the self, mind & spirit, and Iyengar is always looking out for ways to make the information transferable to a western experience. His thoughts on vanilla ice cream are particularly enlightening.

("This one is different" is just as familiar as the title, I know. But it is different.)

And also,
Dec 01, 2008 Brad rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Brad by: luck
I'm on my SECOND read in a row! This never happens to me. I've just started over at the beginning. Again, I'm learning with every sentence. I'm a yoga instructor and there's so much here for each serious student of yoga to understand... NO, EVERYONE who reads this book will learn so much about themselves. This book delivers on it's title promise.
Jul 06, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it
B.K.S. Iyengar is one of the most influential yogis in the world today. He’s written a large number of books on yoga and yoga-related subjects.

I love yoga, and have many different yoga books. Most of them are about the asanas or poses. “Light on Life” is completely different from these. Iyengar’s interested in talking about what yoga really is; he also wants to remove certain myths about yoga that people mistakenly believe.

For Iyengar, yoga is a way of living; yoga includes poses, breathing (pr
Mar 08, 2012 Heather rated it it was amazing
Life changing ... I am really enjoying how it is changing my perspective on how I move through the world.
Aug 08, 2011 Abby rated it it was amazing
I've dubbed this book "The Happy Indian Man" due to the cover. I love it! And the inside of the book is pretty damn awesome, too.

In Light on Life Iyengar discusses the profound spiritual, emotional and mental effects a dedicated yoga practice can bring to a student. Whereas Light on Yoga focused on the physical aspects of the practice, this book is truly "the culmination of a master's spiritual genius." Iyengar has walked the walk.

What I enjoyed most about this book is that it's not dogmatic at
Britt Skrabanek
Jun 23, 2013 Britt Skrabanek rated it it was amazing
Light on Life completely blew me away. It's no wonder this is often required reading for Yoga teacher certification programs. It was the very reason I found myself eagerly devouring this magnificence.

Don't let the cover fool you. This smiling fellow, the great Mr. Iyengar, not only knows his stuff, he keeps it real so you don't need a philosophy degree to know what the heck is going on.

This is a book any Yogi should read.

I strongly feel that Light on Life is so valuable that it should be read re
Aug 08, 2008 Anne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is an excellent addition to B.K.S Iyengar's Light on Yoga. Seriously everyone who is searching for something "more" should consider the relativeness of yoga--not just as stretching, but as a spiritual practice toward's growing into your full potential.

I started this book last night, and I'm having a hard time putting it down.

Oh my goodness, I can't even begin to explain how amazing this book has been for me. As I said before, this book is relatable to anyone, even if they've never done a y
May 27, 2010 Eva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love yoga, so I figured I would love this book. And if you already know chakras, yamas and niyamas, Patanjali, the sutras, and all that good stuff then this will be a worthwhile read. Sometimes I find Iyengar to be a bit misogynistic, but I've been told time and again that he's old school, from another culture, etc. etc. so I'm trying not to include too much of that in my opinion of this book. Yogis: read this, it will deepen your practice. Non-yogis: I don't think this is a good place to star ...more
Michael Blackmore
Jan 11, 2013 Michael Blackmore rated it it was amazing
Really quite good. Nothing astonishingly new if you have read Buddhist, Hindu or Yoga philosophy but he presents it in a clear and well organized manner.

Certainly plenty of quotable bits as well as moments where you are inspired to pause and thing about it. And, of course, like any such work moments that don't quite resonate with you as well - for me the comments about Yogi's not dreaming clashed with my Shamanistic bent. ;-)

But still very much worth reading if you have a more than passing inter
Wouter Zwemmer

Leerzaam boek over de praktijk en filosofie van yoga. Bevat zowel goede ideeën als helaas ook achterhaalde, en soms zelfs klinklare onzin. Dat vergt van de lezer een actieve alerte geest, precies wat yoga nastreeft ;-)

Iyengar schrijft: "Het leven van een gezinshoofd is niet makkelijk - dat is het nooit geweest. De kost verdienen, een gezin opvoeden en een zin en doel in het leven vinden." Yoga verandert niet alleen de manier waarop we dingen zien; het transformeert de persoon die zi
Apr 14, 2014 Mallory rated it really liked it
Wonderful book about the spiritual and physical aspects of yoga practice. Iyengar is such a wise man, I will definitely use things I learned in this book both in my own yoga practice as well as in daily life situations.
Jun 07, 2009 Roben rated it it was amazing
Practicing yoga throughout the years, I longed for background....loved Iyengar's take on the physical body, the energy body, the mental body, the intellectual body and finally living in freedom.
Aug 26, 2010 Roxanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality, yoga
This book was a lot more spiritual than I was expecting it to be, which was awesome. I think maybe I got this book mixed up with Light on Yoga, one of Iyengar's earlier works, which I also want to read. Anyway, I loved this book. Iyengar goes step by step describing how yoga benefits the body, the emotions, the mind, and the spirit, helping the yogi to become a peaceful person united with the Divine. I really feel like I learned a lot and that this book helped me in my practice. Plus Iyengar's s ...more
Amber Foxx
Aug 27, 2014 Amber Foxx rated it it was amazing
This review is my small contribution to honor the legacy of the author, who died last week. As a yoga teacher and life-long yoga student, I’ve been blessed to learn from teachers who learned from him and through his teaching tradition. His life’s work has shed light on mine.

This gentle yet challenging book integrates the philosophy and spirituality of yoga, the physical practice of yoga, and anecdotes from Iyengar’s long life. It was written in 2005 when he was in his mid-eighties. It’s organize
Oct 01, 2015 KarmA1966 rated it liked it
Light on Life is a philosophical approach to yoga from Iyengar and the last book he wrote before his death at the age of 95 in 2014.

Yoga these days is incredibly mainstream. We see yoga classes in TV shows even commericals like AFLAC have latched onto the Eastern study of the union of mind and body.

Over the past couple decades, I've tried most of the branches of yoga and I've found the older I get the more I return to Iyengar's adherence to form. Flow, heat, etc. are all fine. The Americanizati
Oct 03, 2015 Alison rated it it was amazing
For anyone serious about a spiritual journey/path/transformation, and the rigor and discipline required, regardless of tradition. Beautiful wisdom, insight, and guidance from a truly humble and committed guru. I will read this several times over.
Jan 11, 2010 Mkostelac rated it really liked it
I reread so many pages that I think I read the book 5 times the first time round. A book bound in wisdom, experience, light and love. This book has helped me cross the bridge between yoga's physical and spiritual lessons.
Chandrashekar BC
Jan 11, 2015 Chandrashekar BC rated it it was amazing
computer is not just mouse clicking. something more complex and extraodinary things works behind it. similarly yoga is not just physical fitness, something more granular, extraordinary works behind.
Emily Judds
Jan 31, 2016 Emily Judds rated it really liked it
Such a gorgeous and thought provoking book. It really motivates me to stay consistent in my practice. However, some of the later chapters got very esoteric and were hard for me to understand.
Feb 13, 2016 Deidra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I just finished reading this for the second time since September. Iyengar's humility and wisdom is so inspiring. He is one of the few people I truly, truly admire.
Feb 29, 2016 Lauren marked it as to-read
It is amazing that I am actually making any progress in this book... I feel like I stop every paragraph to write a quote down. This book is absolutely wonderful.
Apr 12, 2014 Burd rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, yoga
I found this book to be very informative as a guide to Yoga as it is intended to be practiced. I realized that I will probably never reach the ultimate goal in yoga. Very few people do, but Iyengar acknowledges that there is nothing wrong with practicing yoga asanas, pranayama, and meditations with the simple intention to enjoy the practice for where it can take you. (Although in his words, meditation the way we do it in yoga class is a misnomer. What we are actually doing is more like relaxatio ...more
Ron Krumpos
Jul 09, 2014 Ron Krumpos rated it really liked it
"Light on Life" is one of the books in the primary bibliography of my free ebook on comparative mysticism. "The greatest achievement in life" at has been reviewed on Goodreads.

B.K.S. Iyengar (Born in 1918 in Karnataka, India) is the founder of Iyengar Yoga. He is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world and has been practicing and teaching yoga for more than 75 years. He has more than 10 books on Goodreads.
Jan 27, 2014 Rosalinda rated it it was amazing
I've been a "yogi" for some years now and this book was just perfect 70% through. I'm sure the other 30% is too. Iyengar is a master. An example. I kept highlighting parts of the book and wishing my level of conscience could one day be at even 5% compared to BK Iyengar. As a yogi who is looking for the holistic experience and not just to sweat while bending like a pretzel I appreciate all he has to say.

He however lost me at the end. I'm just not there yet.

I strive for samadhi, but I'm still ju
Jun 29, 2007 Emily is currently reading it
"...Most of us encounter hardship and suffering, and many are plagued by physical and emotional pain, stress, sadness, loneliness, and anxiety. While we often think of these as the problems caused by the demands of modern life, human life has always had the same hardships and the same challenges--making a living, raising a family, and finding meaning and purpose. These will always be the challenges that we humans face...To a yogi, freedom implies not being battered by the dualities of life, its ...more
Apr 11, 2015 Laurie rated it really liked it
This is a great book that reminded me that yoga isn't just about the physical practice, but he says a lot of things that I find I remind myself of while practicing. It was also good for reminding me that it doesn't matter how "good" you are at it and that as soon as you start thinking that way you've begun to lose the whole point. Highly recommended to anyone who practices yoga or would like an enlightening perspective on it.
May 22, 2016 Kaija rated it it was ok
Someone gave me this book as a gift. Both the giver and myself really like yoga so I thought I'd enjoy this.

Overall, I think I need to reread this book in a few years when I get further in my yoga journey.

I am still learning all the yamas, chakras, sutras and niyamas so it's a hard read. Also, I couldn't get over that he really is really misogynistic. I get that fo his time he's avant-guard, but it was still really hard to read. I got stuck on the part where he said that women always put their m
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Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (Kannada: ಬೆಳಳೂರ ಕೃಷಣಮಾಚಾರ ಸುಂದರರಾಜ ಐಯಂಗಾರ), (also known as Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar) (Born December 14, 1918 in Bellur, Kolar District, Karnataka, India) is the founder of Iyengar Yoga. He is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world and has been practicing and teaching yoga for more than 75 years. He has written many books on yogic practi ...more
More about B.K.S. Iyengar...

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“The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it.” 1314 likes
“You must purge yourself before finding faults in others.
When you see a mistake in somebody else, try to find if you are making the same mistake.
This is the way to take judgment and to turn it into improvement.
Do not look at others' bodies with envy or with superiority.
All people are born with different constitutions.
Never compare with others.
Each one's capacities are a function of his or her internal strength.
Know your capacities and continually improve upon them.”
More quotes…