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Light on Yoga

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  4,064 ratings  ·  202 reviews
The definitive guide to the philosophy and practice of Yoga--the ancient healing discipline for body and mind--by its greatest living teacher. Light on Yoga provides complete descriptions and illustrations of all the positions and breathing exercises. Features a foreword by Yehudi Menuhin. Illustrations throughout.
Paperback, 544 pages
Published January 3rd 1995 by Schocken (first published 1966)
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Mar 06, 2008 Lidia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: yogis
About a year ago, I got myself a mat (eco friendly, of course), some stretch pants (organic cotton, duh), and went to a yoga studio to investigate what this bottle-nursing, teeny-tiny-spandex-wearing, mat-bag-dangling gang of people that I observed roaming the streets of my neighborhood were up to.

Now, after a year of actually sticking to a regular practice, (Insert applause here. Actually, forget that. Because, you see, I don't need that external validation. No offense.), I have discovered that
Mar 21, 2008 Anne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in yoga
Recommended to Anne by: Kim my Yoga Teacher
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 flexibil ...more
Craig Shoemake
As they say of Porsches: "There is no substitute." Legal notices aside, every yogi on the planet could say the same for this book. 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 k
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 phenom ...more
Joseph Raffetto
The yoga classic Light on Yoga outlines the history and philosophy of yoga. One definition of Yoga is it's the "true union of our will with the will of God."" In fact there is a lot about God or the Universal Spirit in the introduction. There is much in the ethical teaching that corresponds with the Christian faith. It's been suggested that Jesus spent time in India. After reading this, I wondered if that might be true.

This is not to say yoga is a religion. It's not. It's a science of all religi
Jan 27, 2009 Danimal4288 is currently reading it
apparently i'm supposed to attain freedom from desire. gotta lotta work to do on that one.
Dennis Littrell
Iyengar, B. K. S. Light on Yoga (1965)
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-
Jessie Toporek
“Light on Yoga” is the perfect resource manual to learn more about alignment, transitions between poses and breathing techniques. There are photos of Iyengar demonstrating nearly every pose, detailed instructions on how to approach them, and comments on their symbolic meaning.

The symbolism is the most interesting part of the book to me. My yoga teachers don’t tend to focus on this aspect of the practice, so it’s nice to pair Iyengar’s analysis with my teachers’ emphasis on physicality. My favor
Adrian Astur Alvarez
I wouldn't exactly call this a great read. The introduction is useful for anyone new to yoga but it could probably fill out an entire book on its own so you're really skipping over a lot of ideas in that essay. The bulk of the book is an index of poses and commentary on their usefulness. The index is ESSENTIAL. Particularly the suggested schedule of asanas. This book is defining a trajectory for my practice and basically changing my life. So, yeah, 5 stars for that.
Ryan Leier
The Yoga "Bible" is a must for any one interested in Yoga. This is the first of many books written by "The Michaelangelo of Yoga." It Has a great introduction which covers the philosophy and science of yoga. Most of the book is filled with asana. There are helpful instructions and great stories accompanying the pose.

Because BKS Iyengar practiced asana for hours a day over a period of many years, this books explains how the asanas work on many levels. The pictures are amazing! He rates the poses
Had some good info, but was a lot of reading for a few positions. I think this book was probably great for when it was first written but now that yoga has picked up in popularity, I think there may be better books for beginners out there. This would be for someone that is looking to read more about the positions rather than learning how to do them.
Mar 21, 2015 Kris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: health
One of the fairly seminal books/guides to yoga in recent times. Apparently a staple according to many a yoga teacher, and I can see why. There's a brief section at the beginning on the philosophy of living one's life as a yogi, which is mostly what I was in this for, and which I very much enjoyed. Short but sweet. Most of the book is a guide to 150-200 yoga poses, with detailed instructions, pictures, history behind the poses/names, what benefits they bring, and difficulty ratings. Extremely tho ...more
This is a huge, detailed book, filled with postures ranging from simple, to those which are intensely difficult and rarely done. It is well illustrated and most instructions are clearly stated. Much of the book is also devoted to Eastern philosophy, diet and lifestyle.
the most authentic and outstanding book on yoga, gives crystal clear and simple descriptions of various asanas. Highly recommended to everybody in this world, young and old, man, woman, every human being.
Very clear introduction to a the classic perspective of Hatha yoga.
Srinivas Thatiparthy
I highly recommend this book for anybody who wants to start yoga. There are more 600 asanas illustrated with the photographs from the master of Yoga - BKS Iyengar. The main difference between this book, other yoga books found in the market is the images shown in the books. I have searched many yoga books in the market, and I did not feel genuine when i saw asanas pictures of other books.

But when you see the master's asanas you will quickly realize that he is the real pro.


Bernie Gourley
I recently reviewed the book Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha [APMB] and used this book as a point of comparison, and so further insight into my thoughts on this book can gleaned from that review. This will be fairly short and to the point as the APMB review provided a great deal of detail.

Light on Yoga is the work of world-renowned yogi BKS Iyengar. Iyengar is one of several noted students of T.T. Krishnamacharya, and is celebrated for developing a system using props (belts, blocks, chairs, bolste
Uday Desai
Sep 07, 2011 Uday Desai rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: must-read

This book deserves more than 5 stars.

This book is all times Yoga classics. As it is written in 1976 (I will check my copy and will update this if necessary), you may not see the presentation and writing style of Yoga books published in the western world now days.
But this is very dense book, so that every word in it is important. This book is not to be read in usual sense. The reading of this book includes practice of yoga for number of years (At least 2 years -- but this my view based on some or
Used this book to study for a yoga certification exam. It is a great overview of the main principals, but I found I had to supplement with the internet. Back in the days before internet, I can see how this book would have been (and still is) a sort of yoga bible. I will be using it for years to come. The only thing I don't like about this book is the photos of his poses. I believe it leads one to believe what so many believe about yoga, that you must be able to bend like a pretzel to do yoga, wh ...more
Whooo. Ever buy a cookbook wanting something new to make for weekday dinners, and it ends up being an incredibly intricate spend all day cooking tome of extremely difficult recipes that didn't fit your needs? That's what this book is like for me. This has all the stuff about yoga that initially turned me off--incredibly uncomfortable looking poses, explanations that require you to be gung-ho to really get into. Phew, this book probably does a lot of good for some people, but it's way too hard co ...more
I picked this book up and hoped if I actually read it then it would help me retain the Sanskrit name of the poses. I have a teacher that follows this book closely and often quizzes us on the Sanskrit names for the poses. I’ve had it for a while and I pick it up often to check out certain poses but never really sat down and read it. Some of pictures can be quite intimidating when I first started out and I thought I’d save it for a later time.

It’s a very complete book and gives you effects and pr
Helpful introduction to yoga including the stages, distractions and obstacles, plus hints, cautions, techniques and effects. I liked the Intro but the

It is said: When a yogi or yogin's mind, intellect and self are under control, freed from restless desire, so that they rest in the spirit within, one becomes a Yukta -- one in communion with God.

[One who follows the path of Yoga is a yogi or yogin.]

**Eight Limbs of Yoga**

1) Yama - universal moral commandments
2) Niyama - self-purification
3) Asana
It's hard to review a classic, especially a classic that continues to have such an effect on modern yoga practice. I came to this volume seeking practical advice on how to deepen my practice through proper alignment and breathing, but realized that is is mostly a reference work full of asanas that I could never even hope of attaining. At the same time as reading "Light on Yoga" I was watched the DVDs of Iyengar Intensive at Estes Park (recorded in 2005) where Iyengar provides the very instructio ...more
Outstanding. Always on my shelf as a reference book but reading through it again as I enter another phase of my yoga practice. Definitely consider it to be "The Yoga Bible". Focus is on alignment. Free your body to free your mind. Gateway to bliss. Incredibly thorough.
Sarah K  Grundy
This sets up the idea foundation for yoga students, both in education, history and practice. Great read comes with instructions that are very helpful. This is called the "bible of modern yoga" for a reason. It's like the official guide and is interactive (comes w/ imagry)
I like this book because I have been doing yoga for over 10 years and wanted to add more depth to my practice. This book does this for me. There is a never ending supply of poses and I enjoy the explanation. I do not try to emulate the author while practicing. We are not built the same and my body does not and should not contort into certain configurations. That is ok. Some of the poses can be very dangerous. My only concern is that someone will really try to do some of the poses and injure them ...more
I didn't read this book from cover to cover, but reading the introduction thoroughly gave me a good idea of what it takes to develop a yoga practice. It's a great book that details the history and origin of yoga, as long as imparting the philosophies and disciplines of a 'yogi.' It has definitely changed the way I view yoga, and I look forward to practicing yoga with my new mindset.

On top of the intro, the book contains a comprehensive list of all the yoga poses I've ever done and MUCH more that
Another must read, a foundational text in the exploration of asana practice. Just be aware that asana is the tip of the iceberg, and a gateway into your practice, as opposed to the ultimate goal.
Tamra Karl
I'm going to count this as finished because I have read through the yoga philosophy text at the beginning which is extensive and nicely explained. The remainder of the text will continue to be a reference for me in my yoga asana practice. I have learned to love the poses of B.K.S. Iyengar over modern airbrushed pictures of professional models and dancers used in most of today's yoga images. Thankful for his life and teachings, Iyengar will ever be remembered as a great example of the practice of ...more
Alan Murphy
Great book to explore all branches of yoga and it's many benefits. Also very good for perfecting your form and practice of hatha yoga with a lot of pictures to follow.
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  • The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice
  • Yoga Anatomy
  • Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners
  • Yoga: The Iyengar Way
  • Yoga The Spirit And Practice Of Moving Into Stillness
  • Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual
  • Hatha Yoga Pradipika
  • Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
  • The Yoga Sutras
  • The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga
  • Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul
  • The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy and Practice
  • Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life
  • Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness
  • Yoga: A Gem for Women
  • Yoga for Wellness: Healing with the Timeless Teachings of Viniyoga
  • Anatomy of Movement
  • Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing
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
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