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The Tree of Yoga

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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 sexuality, health and the healing arts, meditation, death, and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. This new edition features a foreword by Patricia Walden, a leading American teacher of the Iyengar style.

194 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1988

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About the author

B.K.S. Iyengar

127 books420 followers
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 practice and philosophy, and is best known for his books Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama, and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. He has also written several definitive yoga texts. Iyengar yoga centers are located throughout the world, and it is believed that millions of students practice Iyengar Yoga.

He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991, and the Padma Bhushan in 2002.

B.K.S. Iyengar was born into a poor Hebbar Iyengar family. He had a difficult childhood. Iyengar's home village of Belur, Karnataka, India, was in the grips of the influenza pandemic at the time of his birth, leaving him sickly and weak. Iyengar's father died when he was 9 years old, and he continued to suffer from a variety of maladies in childhood, including malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and general malnutrition.

At the age of 15 Iyengar went to live with his brother-in-law, the well-known yogi, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya in Mysore. There, Iyengar began to learn asana practice, which steadily improved his health. Soon he overcame his childhood weaknesses.

With the encouragement of Krishnamacharya, Iyengar moved to Pune to teach yoga in 1937. There his practice developed as he spent many hours each day learning and experimenting in various techniques. As his methods improved, the number of students at his classes increased and his fame spread. In Pune, his brothers introduced him to Ramamani, whom he married in 1943.

In 1952, Iyengar met and befriended the famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin arranged for Iyengar to teach abroad in London, Switzerland, Paris and elsewhere. This was the first time that many Westerners had been exposed to yoga, and the practice slowly became well known. The popularity of yoga in the West can in large part be attributed to Iyengar.

In 1966, "Light on Yoga," was published. It gradually became an international best-seller and was translated into 17 languages. Often called “the bible of yoga,”[citation needed] it succeeded in making yoga well known throughout the globe. This was later followed by titles on pranayama and various aspects of yoga philosophy. Mr. Iyengar has authored 14 books.

In 1975, Iyengar opened the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, in memory of his departed wife. He officially retired from teaching in 1984, but continues to be active in the world of Iyengar Yoga, teaching special classes and writing books. Iyengar's daughter Geeta and son Prashant have gained international acclaim as teachers.

Iyengar has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 125 reviews
Profile Image for Craig Shoemake.
55 reviews82 followers
April 29, 2012
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 was a “dumb student”), it is not a “learned” tome of any sort. This book is, rather, a subtle, gentle, at times revealing, and quite elegantly written series of reflections on the practice and teaching of yoga. Mr. Iyengar may not have been much of a student (what does this say about schools, I wonder?), but this book is clearly the product of an intelligent, discerning, and dedicated life.

It is divided into five parts: (1) “Yoga and Life,” with essays describing generally the traditional Hindu view of the life process and how yoga fits in with that; (2) ”The Tree and Its Parts,” where the eight limbs defined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are described; (3) “Yoga and Health,” which is pretty self-explanatory; (4) “The Self and Its Journey,” examining the higher practices of pranayama and meditation leading to samadhi; and (5) “Yoga In the World,” which has only two essays, the first about yoga as an art form, the second about the requirements and responsibilities of yoga teachers. (This last actually had a depressing effect on me and made me question my desire to get yoga teacher certification. First, certifications mean precious little. Second, the amount of knowledge and responsibility required exceed what I will be able to accomplish anytime soon, if ever. And third, I’m already thoroughly middle-aged, suffer from ankylosing spondilitis, and will never be particularly good at asanas, much less look good doing them. But I digress…)

Although Iyengar does quote a bit of Sanskrit here and there, I would not say any of the essays are particularly “technical,” though this is certainly not to say they are at all superficial. Quite the opposite–this book could not have been written by someone who was anything less than a master of his field, with long years of experience and reflection. Which leads me to say that although anyone can read this book–beginner or advanced, the merely curious to the hardcore–what you get out of it will definitely be determined by the depth of your own practice. Many rereadings, particularly when one is at different stages of development, or when one has perhaps crossed the line from student to teacher, will no doubt yield new insights and understandings.

I’d like to share a few points of what, for me, were highlights. Mr. Iyengar has a way with analogies, and a brilliant one is found on page 17, where the four original castes (peasant, merchant, warrior, priest) are compared to attitudes or states of mind. His essay entitled “Childhood” (20) was simply beautiful, and I found the description of some of his life contained in “Family Life” (27) very inspiring. The second part of the book is an excellent overview of yoga practice as a way of meditation and illumination; I thought in particular the notion of the Eight Limbs (ashtanga) of Patanjali as a hologram (see “The Roots,” page 50) to be nothing if not brilliant. There are, in fact, many very insightful and illuminating passages in this section, things I never thought about in quite that way. His discussion of yoga as a healing art (especially from p. 93ff) was very interesting–I wish he would write a whole book devoted to his experiences in this regard. I could go on, as there are many excellent passages, but lastly I will cite p. 117ff as a brilliant evocation of why the Buddhist practice of mindfulness is so easily in accordance with the practice of asanas. Iyengar writes:

"Conciousness is always present in our finger, but most of the time we are not aware of it, so the consciousness of the finger is dormant. You should know the difference between consciousness and awareness. Consciousness exists everywhere in the body. When you are walking, if a thorn touches your foot, what happens? It pricks, and you immediately feel the pain, so you cannot say that consciousness was not there. But until he thorn pricked you, you were not aware of your foot. The consciousness in your foot was dormant, but the moment the foot was pricked, it was brought to the surface. To awaken that dormant consciousness is awareness. Your consciousness is six feet long, or five and a half feet long in your body–it is as long as your body is tall. But awareness is small. Awareness may extend two feet, one foot, one inch or half an inch. The yogi says that by practising asanas, you can bring awareness to an extension equal to that of consciousness. This is total awareness. This is meditation."

Mr. Iyengar is of course a hatha yogin, and while practicing asanas may take you a long ways, I do not feel it is a substitute for a hard-core sitting practice. This may be the area where he comes up short, and indeed, the only passage of the book that I thoroughly disagreed with revealed this. On p. 139 he writes:

"If you work diligently on asana, pranayama and pratyahara, you will receive your reward of dharana, dhyana and samadhi, which are the effects of that practice. They cannot be practised directly [emphasis added]. If we say that we are practising them, this means that we do not know the earlier aspects of yoga. It is only by practising the earlier aspects that we can hope to arrive at their effects."

I don’t agree with this at all. In fact, as a statement of the reality of meditation practice (especially in the Buddhist tradition, pick your yana), it is simply false. All over the Buddhist world (not to mention the Christian, Muslim, Jain, Hindu, etc), people come to meditation without ever having practiced asanas or pranayama, and many of them do just fine. Might they benefit from asanas? Of course! But, as Iyengar showed quite eloquently, the Path can be approached and the Goal attained through any of the limbs of yoga (though some are more direct and less time-consuming). While I do not wish to make overmuch of this one little misstep in an otherwise superb book, I do think it points out a shortcoming in Iyengar’s approach, which appears marked by an imbalance favoring asanas over direct meditation practice.

This aside–which is just my nitpicking–I cannot recommend this book enthusiastically enough to anyone exploring the world of yoga. Read it, practice, reflect, and reread it. Do not read it for information, rather for grounding, seasoning, maturation. If yoga is a tree (and since Mr. Iyengar says it is, who are we to argue?) then read it and learn to think like a tree–to make my own unworthy stab at a different sort of analogy!

Profile Image for Sarah.
90 reviews10 followers
February 9, 2017
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 "medical" finding on.

Iyengar is a very advanced and accomplished yogi with a talent for explaining things in western terms, however in areas like that one his mindset is still very archaic in it's views....
Profile Image for Mehrdad Zaa.
73 reviews20 followers
March 1, 2021
نویسنده کتاب کیست؟
آقای آیین‌گر (2014-1918) یکی از مشهورترین اساتید یوگا در جهان است که سبک «یوگای آیین‌گر» را پایه‌گذاری کرد
کتاب در مورد چیست؟
این کتاب در مورد فلسفه، اهمیت و مراحل یوگا توضیح می‌دهد و توصیه‌هایی عملی به شاگردان و اساتید می‌کند. آیین‌گر (آینگار) توضیح می‌دهد که یوگا یک مسیر چند وجهی است (آن را به درختی با هشت بخش تشبیه می‌کند) که شامل اخلاقیات فردی و اجتماعی، تمرین‌های بدنی و تنفسی، خودشناسی و مدیتیشن است: «زمین سخت را باید کند و با کنار نهادن سنگ‌ها و علف‌های هرز بستری نرم برای دانه به وجود آورد و بعد با کود دادن و آب دادن مراحل مختلف رشد و نمو گیاه را تامین کرد تا بالاخره زمان میوه دادن آن فرا برسد. یوگا دانشی است که به کمک آن، انسان آشفته و پراکنده، وحدت و تندرستی خود را باز می‌یابد».
کتاب برای چه کسانی مناسب است؟
مطالب برای همه کسانی که به نحوی با یوگا در ارتباط هستند مناسب است، چه مانند من فردی مبتدی باشید چه استادی باشید که سال‌ها به تدریس یوگا مشغول است
Profile Image for Camille Cusumano.
Author 18 books25 followers
April 27, 2015

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 believe it all got funneled into the Bible. We don't really know who Patanjali was—"he" may have been a woman or several men and women, kind of like Homer’s identity is sketchy, kind of like Jesus Christ may actually have been, probably was, just an exceptional hu-man.

The Bible authors knew their readers. "If it bleeds it leads," hence the Passion of Christ, also known as the greatest story ever told, is largely what catapulted the Good Book to number one on the NYT bestseller list. To be sure, there is a lot of good stuff, even beautiful, lyrical writing, along with the sensational and the magical realism of Revelation, but much of it gets buried in the living or style sections so to speak, not the Front Page headlines. Like editors today, the authors adapted the language (idiom and usage) to suit whatever readership they wished to reach.

But the boring, ho-hum stuff, like do good unto your neighbor and live a good clean ethical life are right, smack out of Yoga Sutras, which is not big on the gore and gruesome stories—brothers killing brothers, fathers about to slaughter their son, women stoned to death.

Yoga Sutras, as an ancient spiritual guide, translated by Swami Satchidananda, is meant for everyone, not just an elite practitioner of yoga. Its good-living guide predates Judeo/Christian/Islam dogmas by more than a thousand years. Probably the historical Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha knew and practiced the Yoga Sutras and aligned his teachings with them.

That Judeo/Christian/Islam is derivative of the very same ethics and recommendations for leading a good life in the Yoga Sutras is not a criticism—it is an admirable thing. It proves that humans have strived to be kind and loving way long before world religions institutionalized that basic human instinct along with the propaganda that you could only be saved (whatever the hell that means) if you pay your dues to their club. The Yoga Sutras uses the word "liberation" instead of "saved." It is simple empirical logic that most of us know by age five, say, that being human often times is bondage to suffering. It doesn't have to be that way. The Yoga Sutras has clear, terse guidelines (not commandments) for learning to live a life of liberation. No easy task and it requires a lifetime of practice - key word that.

Patanjali wisely said "Truth is One, Paths are Many." He (or they) also said each person must verify the truth of sacred scriptures or sutras—not blindly take the teacher's word. This experiential aspect of yoga (and Buddhism), is where the Bible parts ways. The Bible, at least as interpreted by most Christian sects, is fairly dogmatic, One Truth, One Path. This authoritarian tone might add to the Book's widespread popularity: Most people want to be told what to believe, what to do, where to go. The practice of yoga also differs in its system of asanas or postures. But make no mistake, the asanas are not the sum total of yoga as a spiritual practice—as people in the west have come to erroneously believe. Yoga has eight "limbs" - the asanas, meditation, breathing exercises, self-purification by discipline, emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses, concentration or complete attention, ethical discipline transcendant of time and place. And finally, samadhi (a sort of spiritual bliss). Samadhi might be the yogic counterpart to Christian rapture but you really should read and study yoga deeply before you understand "the unutterable peace and joy" of samadhi. Few attain it.

Along with Yoga Sutras, I have just read The Tree of Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, whose yoga system I adopted in 1987, after 14 years of following Yogi Vithaldas’ system. Mr. Iyengar repeatedly emphasizes that although people have referred to him as a gymnast, or as practicing only the physical aspect of yoga, this is misleading. Mr. Iyengar quotes Patanjali who recognized that you cannot separate the spiritual out of the physical. In modern times, we somehow do. We began to treat the body as despicable, the source of sin, and at worst to beat and deny it (even as we’re told it is the temple for the Holy Spirit, go figure), at best to ignore it. As the jacket copy on Yoga Sutras says, the book offers "down-to-earth advice on mastering the mind and achieving physical, mental, and emotional harmony in life through applying the ancient, yet timeless technique of Raja Yoga." I love that the Sanskrit word sutra (which shares a common root with scripture) also shares a root with suture—a suggestion of stitching our soul, body, mind all together into a harmonious whole. But don’t take my word for it. And if you want to sit like a couch potato and just read the psalms, gospels, and scriptures, go ahead.
Profile Image for Sofia Teixeira.
594 reviews126 followers
June 3, 2020
A very enlightening book about yoga and its fundamentals. Completely recommend for those interested in the complete picture about yoga and not only the practice of asanas.
Profile Image for Daniel.
12 reviews2 followers
September 2, 2019
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 occasionally dangerously wrong (e.g. there’s a section in which it’s said that inverted poses while menstruating can lead to cancer).

There are definitely good things in there about balance, not seeing yoga practice as a competition, listening to your body, taking time, etc. But as a fairly scientific person it’s hard to read over the parts where the last 100 years of modern medicine are ignored.

Profile Image for Jann.
4 reviews
July 11, 2012
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 yoga, this is a wonderful book to have on your shelf.
Profile Image for Anya.
143 reviews
July 30, 2021
This is a wonderfully concise and authentic description of yoga, in an all encompassing way, which remains simple and easy to read yet the message can be as deep as your are able to
fathom depending on your years of practice. It will
Also be interesting to beginners wondering what yoga could turn out to mean to them. It will mean different things to different people and at different stages. I will certainly read it again when looking for a little support or inspiration in my practice and when I’m need of a little reminder of what is important. It has no details of asana (that’s not the kind of book it is), but is a simple practical and heartfelt guide. It will be complementary to any yoga philosophy reading. And of course although I am an Ashtanga practitioner, everything he says still applies (he and Jois had the same teacher and same devotion and vision). Added bonus are the short chapters of just a few pages which don’t take long to read, and it is better to not read this book too quickly!
Profile Image for Alison S.
470 reviews24 followers
April 15, 2018
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 about the ideas and philosophy that yoga is based on.
Profile Image for Katie Cat Books.
961 reviews
January 8, 2020
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 autobiography of Iyengar would be more interesting and he could ramble all he wanted.
4 reviews
September 7, 2020
I couldn't finish it. I can appreciate the intent of the book but I have a huge problem with the way Iyengar writes, the eternal repetitions, the tone he uses and the view of women. When he started talk about the fact that his only responsibility (when he was taking care of this deaf woman through yoga) was to heal her so she could her the voice of her future husband (reason why she was there, brought by her desperate parents, because no one otherwise would have ever married a deaf woman), I completely lost it.
Profile Image for Er La.
16 reviews
September 17, 2020
A quick and enjoyable read that I would probably have taken more time with if I were training to teach. My main takeaways were how powerful yoga can be when done correctly – in full collaboration with mind/body/spirit – and how vital a role a good teacher plays in one's experience. I also appreciated Iyengar's description of practicing ahimsa (nonviolence) both during practice and outside of it. Overall, I will go forward with a more developed respect for yoga as an art and a healing practice.
Profile Image for Alex Boon.
208 reviews
December 7, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Melanie.
919 reviews33 followers
March 31, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Anamaria.
10 reviews
March 10, 2015
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.
215 reviews
May 25, 2015
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.
Author 1 book16 followers
May 17, 2017
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.
August 4, 2019
Guia práctica para aprender conceptos esenciales en la filosofía del yoga. La redacción es clara y sencilla, por lo que se convierte en un manual práctico para el uso cotidiano.

Profile Image for Rachel.
38 reviews1 follower
August 31, 2020
Iyengar's teachings always sing to my heart and resonate with me both on and off the mat.
Profile Image for Laura.
28 reviews1 follower
December 16, 2020
Really good good to know more about yoga, it is clearly written, sometimes he repeats some concepts more than once, to make sure the reader has understood well.
Profile Image for Pallavi.
1 review
July 10, 2018
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 about yoga in the context of different aspects of life: childhood and family, love and sexuality, death. This book explains that yoga is beyond the physical poses and explores the connections between body, mind, intelligence and soul. It is not meant to be a technical book on asanas, but rather a perfect introductory read for someone seeking to cultivate mindfulness and understand the impact of yoga on life. Especially enjoyed reading the chapter "Yoga as an art" and was delighted to discover that Patanjali, the grand master of yoga was in fact a dancer first! The main take away for me is that yoga is a continuous journey. Each day is different and the joy is in discovering different aspects of the practice and not the destination as each practice is a destination in itself. This is a humbling book to read, reflect, revisit and reread as you start and deepen your practice of yoga.

A newbie on this journey, I am eternally grateful to the friend who inspired me to embark on this path. Yoga has helped me stay focused, grounded and build resilience both physically and mentally. To me it is an art form, a perfect amalgamation of things I like most, music and dance. It is not necessary to be spiritual to start yoga. As long as you believe in yourself and your existence, you can start this practice and spirituality could be a happy byproduct. Yoga to me is acting as tool to cultivate compassion, joy and an equivocal indifference or detachment towards the upheavals caused by happiness and sorrow, virtue and vice, leading to a state of poise and peace. In this world filled with constant chaos and distress, there is a pertinent need for balance and we've got to be practical philosophers. Yoga sure is an excellent tool to cultivate balance on and off the mat.
1 review
January 4, 2017
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 of self-study, discipline, being humble and remaining in the present.

I would like to re-read the book this year, maybe in the summer. I'd like to be more familiar with the terms and recap to remain present, grounded and humble in my practice, and every day life.

Most enlightening bit of the book: the idea that a person can have invigorating exercise, or they can have irritating exercise. Being exhausted after ten minutes could be irritable, rather than invigorative. This concept led to me cancelling my gym membership the day I finished this book!

It's important to be present; to be kind; to be disciplined; to be humble; to be balanced; to be reflective.

Lots of namaste to Iyengar x
Profile Image for Cami.
Author 2 books13 followers
February 14, 2021
I picked up this book at the recommendation of Adriene Mishler from YouTube's Yoga With Adriene. Iyengar is an interesting person, and I adore that he lived what he loved and taught it from his whole heart and soul.

I am currently working through Yoga Teacher Training through My Vinyasa Practice, so I recognized most of the Sanskrit terms he uses. (I'm not sure I would have understood the book without that background though.) I don't know what he sounds like, but the voice in my head had a fun Indian accent as I read.

While I find all the Eastern traditions of yoga interesting and insightful and respect their origins and those that practice them fully, I mostly apply its gems of truth to my Christian worldview. Yoga is physical and spiritual, and it helps me become one with God more than one with Self or with the Universe.

My favorite parts of the book include how he explained the need to teach children through eye contact; how we must first know our limitations and then build from them; yoga cannot be rushed; don't just do the poses but reflect in them and repose; and that skin is an organ of attention since it does not act, it receives.

I don't subscribe to all the wisdom of BKS Iyengar, but I will put this book in my yoga library.
November 24, 2022
“El árbol del yoga” es uno de los libros del maestro del Yoga B.K.S. Iyengar, definido como la guía definitiva de la práctica diaria. Para mí esta es la primera aproximación a otro género que no sea la novela (exceptuando los ensayos y poemas que tuve que leer en el colegio).
Hace ya un par de años que empecé a practicar Yoga. Siendo médico, la pandemia ha sido dura y encontré unos vídeos en Youtube que me ayudaban a relajarme al llegar a casa después de la dura jornada laboral. Al principio me contenté con eso, con el beneficio mental que me aportaba. A medida que pasaron los meses, el inesperado beneficio físico empezó a aflorar también. Fue entonces cuando empecé a buscar más información sobre el Yoga y su impacto global: físico, mental y espiritual. Dentro de los libros más recomendados estaban varios de B.K.S. Iyengar y así fue como finalmente me decidí por esta lectura.
En este libro el maestro Iyengar nos mostrará su visión del Yoga, como una senda que tiene más de un camino: el del ejercicio físico que es el más conocido por nosotros los occidentales pero también un camino espiritual profundamente enraizado con la práctica física. A través de los diferentes capítulos y valiéndose de la hermosa metáfora de la estructura del árbol, nos irá desvelando las capas y estructuras que conforman la buena práctica a la vez que nos adentraremos en la historia de los Yoga Sutras de Patanjali, el texto tradicional más conocido en cuanto a la materia.
Me ha encantado. Ha sido un libro maravilloso que he disfrutado de principio a fin y que creo que es una gran lectura tanto si eres principiante como yo como si eres más experto en la materia, probablemente lo que podrás extraer de él será distinto en cada caso. Mi conocimiento sobe el Yoga era escaso y aunque la temática es muy profunda y en ocasiones compleja, el autor consigue que se sienta cercana y muy comprensible en todo momento. Me ha encantado poder conocer la base del todo, los desconocidos para mí Yoga Sutras de Patanjali y poder comprender los pasos necesarios para llegar al objetivo final, la visión del alma. La posibilidad de incluir el Yoga en cada pequeña parte de tu día, en tu cotidianeidad para vivir una vida más consciente me ha parecido sublime. Y qué decir de los conocimientos sobre anatomía y Medicina que tiene el maestro Iyengar! Me ha fascinado la base fisiológica que permite ayudar con la práctica a muchas enfermedades y el respeto que él le profesa a sus alumnos/pacientes y los posibles tratamientos. También me ha sorprendido su humildad y su vocación de instruir, para con eso poder llevar la práctica a todos los rincones del mundo.
Recomiendo muchísimo este libro sobretodo para personas que como yo se inician en el Yoga y que quieren descubrir todo lo que éste puede ofrecer de la mano de uno de los mejores profesores que hayan existido. Y sólo queda decir como diría el maestro que a partir de ahora podamos seguir mejorando y aprendiendo día a día desde el conocimiento pero también desde la experiencia.

Quote: “Al igual que la esencia del árbol se halla en el fruto, así también la esencia de la prática del Yoga está en la libertad, el equilibro, la paz y la beatitud de samdhi, donde el cuerpo, la mente y el alma se unen y se funden con el Espíritu Universal.”
Profile Image for Sofia.
172 reviews1 follower
November 13, 2022
This was the first book I've read on the comprehensive practice of yoga and I loved it. There were some passages were Iyengar was talking about his own practice that left me a bit unsure but the rest was great.

I came to yoga a few years ago not knowing what I was getting myself into and simply searching for a way to be less stressed through mindful movement. I already had a practice of formal meditation and for a while it was a great physical experience.

Little by little, it started to become a spiritual practice, a way to connect all the parts of my being together. But I am a true believer in the power of books and shared knowledge so there was only so much I could do on my own.

This book has already helped me develop my asana practice speaking of integration of the body with the mind during the poses. I now also have a clearer understanding of the path of yoga and all its components.
36 reviews3 followers
May 26, 2018
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 discovering the spiritual path of yoga, what is beyond the physical poses. This can be good material to read if you are interested in classical yoga and the origin of eight limbs, as Iyengar has a very engaging writing style which exposes many of his own experiences on finding the light of soul.
Over-all, a 4 star and highly recommended for Yogis and Yogis-wanna-be.
Profile Image for Khamis Kay.
42 reviews8 followers
December 4, 2018
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 benefits so we attain more. Just like faith, we must practice, stay diligent and claim our faith, our practise whether we experience good or bad as a way of attaining true enlightenment and wellbeing. This book was not a heavy read, it was enjoyable and informative.
Profile Image for Sam.
158 reviews4 followers
December 2, 2019
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.

The Tree metaphor is nice, and the encouragement for yoga in the various 'washing' of internal systems like ligaments, tendons, lymph, cardiovascular and nervous system tonifying is much appreciated.
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