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Light on Life

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  3,134 ratings  ·  203 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 September 12th 2005)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  3,134 ratings  ·  203 reviews

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Camille Cusumano
Nov 23, 2012 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
May 17, 2010 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 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
Dec 01, 2008 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. ...more
Mar 16, 2012 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
Feb 02, 2010 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, I ju
Carolina Batres-Quinonez
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This will stay on my nightstand for the rest of my life, along with the Gita. Currently reading forever!
Apr 04, 2010 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
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Life changing ... I am really enjoying how it is changing my perspective on how I move through the world.
Vidushi Sanghadia
Jun 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A book I'm no doubt going to have to come back to for many many years. The read beautifully complements my observation of my own yoga practice, and deepens my understanding of it by multitudes. There are a lot of aspects I am perhaps too inexperienced in life and practice to connect to yet, which is when the re-reads may come in handy. ...more
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, yoga
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
Jul 23, 2008 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
Michael Blackmore
Nov 27, 2012 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
Jun 07, 2009 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. ...more
Nov 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yoga, spirituality
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
Britt Skrabanek
Mar 27, 2013 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
Sep 28, 2015 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
Liz Shine
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book three or four times before. I listened to it read by Patricia Walden. I remember listening to it for the first when my first marriage was falling apart slowly and painfully. I was hiking to the top of Mt. Burdell, a trail I took from the high school in Novato, CA where I held my first teaching job. The book itself is so dense with spiritual material that I could listen to it 100 times and still take something away the 101 time. This book all those years ago helped me to cra ...more
Apr 05, 2014 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 09, 2014 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.
Jason Comely
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, health
There is the saying 'how you do anything means everything'. Likewise, how we do yoga is how we will engage life in general. That seems to be the gist of this book. However there is so much wisdom here that I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone, whether they practice yoga or not. ...more
Aretha Mckinney
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read and re-read this book. . .I don't think it will ever belong to the shelf. ...more
Sep 27, 2015 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. ...more
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
“If you take up any noble line and stick to it, you can reach the ultimate. Be inspired but not proud. Do not aim low; you will miss the mark. Aim high; you will be on the threshold of bliss.” (p. x)

“…human life has always had the same hardships and the same challenges- making a living, raising a family, and finding meaning and purpose. These have always and will always be the challenges that we humans face. As animals, we walk the earth. As bearers of a divine essence, we are among the stars. A
Evin Ashley
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was "fruity" in the best sense - ripe with sweetness and integrity. Just look at the cover - what a happy man!

Iyengar espouses a philosophy that emphasizes unity, and integrity through action - similar to other human ideas, such as Christianity or stoic philosophy. Yet he is different in the soft, natural metaphor he continually employs, to hint at your intuition. I found myself sometimes examining what he was saying with a wary eye, but knew what he was trying to get at.

It's because
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands-Down one of my favorite books. If you could see my cooy, it is completely defaced; highlited, written in, pages folded down, tabs stuck in it all the way around!! He has a very direct style, unlike a lot of the yogis that I read. He does not come off as "warm and fuzzy" AT ALL, but you still cannot help but love him. His wise words were enormously comforting at a time when I desperately needed it. His non-pitying approach was exactly what I wanted to hear. I finished this book quite awhile ...more
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Prakash by: Saloni Shah
If you are an Indian, start by reading this book with pronunciations of Yog as 'Yogah' or simply 'Yog'. Don't pronounce it as Yoga. Now see the magic unfold.

I always thought of Yog as more of an exercise thingy. It's not. It's just a means to an end. The end being knowledge of oneself. I had heard a lot about BKS but know I know about him. And man, I'm glad I read this book.

BKS takes you to the journey of what Yog means and what is the smallest of the element(s) in the building of Yog as a philo
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another essential text for everyone and anyone who is embarking on the yogic path. The late Iyengar and his team of editors did an amazing job putting together this book in a well structured format following Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga. This book gave me so many lightbulb moments and helped me to gain deeper insight of my own physical asana practice and how that is integrated into life off the mat
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You will have to read it with an open heart and a quiet mind to understand it. I personally loved it!
I loved the way he synthesized the commune knowledge in yoga and made it applicable in the day to day life. He was obviously a well instructed man and yogi. Not for everybody though. I bet there will be many those that will find it hard and boring, yet this is not for "everybody".
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had to read some sections of this book over and over to really absorb the enormity of the message. It is an incredible read for anyone interested in the yogic lifestyle. It is broken down into digestible chunks so you can stay any given section for as much time as you need and not losing the flow of the writing.
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Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (Kannada: ಬೆಳ್ಳೂರ್ ಕೃಷ್ಣಮಾಚಾರ್ ಸುಂದರರಾಜ ಐಯಂಗಾರ್), (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 p ...more

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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.” 1297 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.”
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