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The Tree of Yoga

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,280 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Iyengar developed a form of yoga that focuses on developing strength, endurance, correct body alignment, as well as flexibility and relaxation. The Iyengar method integrates philosophy, spirituality, and the practice of yoga into everyday living. In The Tree of Yoga, Iyengar offers his thoughts on many practical and philosophical subjects including family life, love and s ...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published March 26th 2002 by Shambhala (first published 1988)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  1,280 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Craig Shoemake
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Now I will use the B word: “B” is for “beautiful,” and this slim volume by the still-living godfather of yoga is beautiful.

While I find I enjoy and benefit from anything Iyengar writes, I was actually more impressed by this book than I had expected to be. I did not go into it with any particular expectations–perhaps that helped–except the very positive reviews on Amazon. It is not an asana book, and Iyengar not being a scholar (he does not even have a high school degree he says on page 28, and
Jul 05, 2014 rated it liked it
The first 2/3rds of this book were clear, beautifully-put passages that explained all the basics behind yogic philosophy for anyone with a low background in it, and it covered many of the points I learned over my yoga teacher training.

However, then he went into yoga and health, where he started to assert unfounded things like doing yoga while menstruating can cause cancer longterm and other things I just can't read and maintain respect for, and that had no evidence or sources to back the "medic
Camille Cusumano
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual

The Bible may be the earliest example of yellow journalism. I can think of no other reason why it would be a bestseller and not Yoga Sutras, Patanjali's ancient spiritual guide that predates the Bible by a few thousand years. Indeed the Bible derives all its good stuff directly from Yoga Sutras. There were not that many people walking the earth in those olden times and they shared wisdom freely, so it is not farfetched to
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've read "Tree of Yoga" at least twice from cover-to-cover, more times by dipping into a chapter on occasion. Now I am reading it again. It's organized as a series of essays addressing some question or topic. That's how the book evolved, as I undertand it. Mr Iyengar would address a question or discuss a topic; those discussions were grouped and edited and compose the book. If you are a yoga practitioner and have ever had a question about your practice, or the discipline, art and science of yog ...more
Aug 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is one I'll have to reread a few times.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A year and a half ago I was ashamed of myself for how much I had let my health decline. I was doing all the things you aren’t supposed to do, and I was not doing anything that I was supposed to do. While I was unhappy with how I looked, the real kick in the pants for me was that I had trouble playing with my young kids. As a result, I have been able to lose a lot of weight and gain a lot of strength, confidence, serenity, and fun time with my kids. The road to success was a mix of calorie counti ...more
Alison S
I read this book as I was looking for something that provided a good overview of Yoga philosophy, beyond just the physical poses. It pretty much met that brief - Iyengar has an engaging writing style and there were many passages in this book that were genuinely illuminating. I did struggle more towards the last third of the book though, as it became mystifyingly esoteric, as well as a little dry at times. It certainly acts as a good jumping off point for those interested in finding out more abou ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn’t much enjoy the book which might be due to expecting something different. I didn’t have strong expectation but I wanted to get some more background on where yoga is coming from and what else is part of it to enhance my own yoga (and maybe meditation) practice. And I’ve definitely learned a couple of things from the book. But those could have been summarized on 10 pages. The rest of the time I’ve felt the book to mostly be repetitive, rambling, almost condescending at times, and even occa ...more
Katie Cat Books
Better as autobiography. Classic yoga. Famous.

Written by BKS Iyengar himself, this book is an instructive guide on yoga.

Broken down into sections and chapters Iyengar gives his opinion on many topics, along with history lessons.

Iyengar is very famous and has decades of experience.

Unfortunately this book reads very old and dated, and while organized well, is mostly filled with ramblings that often miss their point. As a guide to yoga, I would skip this one. Alternatively, I think an autobiogra
Ana (very.literary)

A very accessible introduction to yoga philosophy. Clearly written with compassion and devotion to his, yogacharya BKS Iyengar’s, life craft. Promotes a lot of reflection and is quite inspiring. Allows one to understand that yoga is much more than a series of asanas, rather it is a way of life. My only criticism is that some of his assertions/beliefs regarding medicine are a little archaic. Beyond this, the book really is a must read for anyone interested in yoga!

-Read in 2020-
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Good book. A bit dense at times, but still a very pleasurable read. Likens the life of a yogi, the eight limbs of the classic yogic path and the rise to awareness with a (literal) tree. Easy to understand. For serious yoga/meditation students only. Not too much asana focus.
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Filled with information about Iyengar's yogic philosophy and principles from Patanjal's Yoga Sutras. Will need many more readings to begin to understand the depths of yoga.
Michael  Gajda
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Clearly written. With compassion. This is a book that inspires and will also be one that I return to to study and absorb. A great teacher who is also a great writer.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the lesser known works of the great master, Mr. Iyengar, this book is insightful, thought provoking and elegantly written with a touch of humor and a dollop of humility. Picked it up, as it was left unfinished by someone.

Presented as a series of essays, Mr. Iyengar goes through the different sheaths of yoga on an physiological, psychological and spiritual level. With interesting analogies combined with anecdotal stories from his treasure trove of experiences and the puranas, he talks abo
Julia Davis
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really expanded on my existing yoga knowledge, and simplified the academic/intellectual complications that happen from listening and learning about the subject from different sources. Yoga is yoga: it's one and for all. It connects the mind, body and soul, and with asanas brings meditation, if you're lucky enough!

The concept that a person is always a student is really comforting, and the idea that we should approach each yoga session with fresh eyes is exciting too. I appreciate the importance
Ha Thu
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yoga-journey
This book gives in-depth insights into the therapeutic nature and spiritual value of yoga. On the first half of the book, Iyengar offers his thoughts on many practical and philosophical subjects including family, sexuality, meditation, health, aging, death and culture difference between the East and the West in terms of yoga. I found these anecdotes quite helpful on improving my motto toward everyday asana practice and on integrating yoga into daily life.
The following half is more about discove
Khamis Kay
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Iyengar really made yoga, yoga philosophy, traditions and the eight limbs ofbyoga structure accessible for all in this book and his user friendly conversation like prose. I really enjoyed this book, it provides insight and inspiration of how one must stick to their practise of yoga and overall well being of the body mind and soul in order to attain enlightenment. I loved his explaination of grace and benefits of the yoga lifestyle that we must continue to practice even when we experience the ben ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I had high expectations which this book did not really meet. There was some interesting gems early in the second half, particularly concerning breath and breathwork. Overall a worthwhile read, but only just.

Having done an Iyengar Yoga course I was drawn to this book, and found a copy in the Feldenkrais Interest Group library. A positive support to regular ongoing yoga practice, but I feel quite ambivalent to various Hindu doctrine which seems somehow more superstitious than Buddhist philosophy.

Crystal S.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ytt
I found something about reading this book to be a humbling experience. After practicing yoga for 15 years, different styles, different teachers, different places, different spaces, I feel like every yoga teacher or aspiring yoga teacher should read this book.

If you've read Light on Yoga, you realize how technical he can be and this is not that book. It's truly a series of essays you can pick from or read through. I highly recommend the one on childhood and the last chapter on teaching. Many ane
Voula  (otl1987)
I liked how this book is made of small parts you can easily read and go back to whenever you want. Yoga, not just the physical parto fo it, is explained simply and you can see how it can be easily integrated in the everyday life of anyone.
It's perfect as a light, introductory book, and I definitely feel I want to read more in-depth stuff about mindfulness and the connection between the physical and spiritual/mental worlds from different cultures as well.
Alex Boon
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Firm DNF. I'm sure this will work for many but for me it read like a rambling stream of consciousness that desperately needed a copy-editor. The health section was full of quackery and any sentences beginning like "women should..." not written by a woman or medical professional make me feel awkward. Not for me.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, yoga
There were some really great parts, and some kind of preachy parts -which, I guess, he’s earned the right to be. I loved his clear analogies and definitions, and the whole tree section especially was wonderful. This is one I’m sure I’ll read again, and will pull out parts for my teaching and my own practice.
Steph Myers
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: yoga
I love BKS Iyengar and I am told this is one of the best explanations of how yoga works. It's a quick read, but I still found myself a little unclear. The analogy of the Tree didn't work for me, but some of his simple explanations of some parts of yoga did. The bottom line of the book is to do the poses and keep doing the poses and you will heal your body.
Marjolein Van Der Aar
I read this book as recommended literature for my yoga teacher training. Interesting to read the perspective on (teaching) yoga of a very experienced and respected yoga teacher that played a big role in expanding yoga throughout the world. The book is written like a collection of speeches. You can hear him speak if you read it, which makes it personal but less easy to read in my opinion.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So many big ideas in this book. Sometimes the teachings are deep and take a few readings to understand. I'll be reading this more than once again I'm sure, just like I continue to reread Light on Life. Lots to think about!
Hazzie Sof
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book to add more depth to my personal practice. Nice read and easy to understand. It gave me more topics to think about as I'm doing my own yoga.
Raoum Bani
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A must read for every yoga teacher or any serious practitioners. Guruji Iyengar always inspires me with his immense knowledge and wisdom.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great book if you really want to get serious about yoga. highly recommended.
Paul Webb
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. As a yoga teacher it exposed me to several new ideas and therefore impacted my practice and teaching in a good way.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Read this for my astanga teachertraining
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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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