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Light on Yoga

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Light on Yoga has become the bible for hundreds of thousands of people who practice Yoga daily with the Iyengar method, for exercise, meditation, or simply relaxation. With more than 600 photographs depicting all the postures and breathing exercises, it remains the fullest, most practical, and most profusely illustrated guide by the world's foremost yoga teacher. Light on Yoga is a comprehensive and definitive source-book for the initiated, as well as the best introduction for the novice who seeks the healthful benefits of Yoga for mind, body, and soul.

544 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1966

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About the author

B.K.S. Iyengar

134 books426 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 391 reviews
Profile Image for Lidia.
7 reviews13 followers
March 6, 2008
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 yoga is the antidote to the drama in my life. Maybe you can relate? I am learning how to be a mindful, grateful, patient, disciplined, respectful and healthy human being. Seriously. One little upside down topsy-turvy epiphany at a time. Transformation. It is happening. Finally! Oh, and did I mention that my body never looked and felt better? Ooops. Oh, yeah. Yoga makes me feel strong and supple, too. Yoga makes me feel goooooood. Blissful, in fact.

But, this is supposed to be a book review not a confesional memoir, right? Right.

I use this book daily as a reference in my practice. As I mentioned, I've only been seriously at this for a year and I'm no expert, but of all the stuff that I've read about yoga, if I had to recommend only one book, this would be it. The introduction itself is a fascinating and thorough description of yogic philosophy. You'll also get: awe-inspiring photos, incredibly detailed instructions for performing 600 (!) poses, sequences for specific intentions, precautions, contradictions, helpful hints, and therapeutic effects. Wow-zers! That's a lot for just one little book!

A book can't replace the hands-on guidance of a good teacher and the support of a community of yogis, but it can certainly inform and complement your practice. It’s also good for sticking under your front-leg hip (as in ass) in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. Get used to the Sanskrit, by the way. B.K.S. translates the names at the beginning of each asana (pose) to help illustrate its nature, but then subsequently refers back to it using the traditional Sanskrit designation.

Good luck. Thank you. Namaste.
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
653 reviews6,943 followers
June 22, 2018
I have been wanting to read Light on Yoga for a long time now, and The International Day of Yoga gave a good pretext for finally doing so. Iyengar's work is a must read for all serious practitioners. It gives perspective, and it gives direction. Even if someone is only interested in the yoga poses as a mere workout, reading about those poses, their interconnections, derivations and interlinked effects, would be of great help.

However, the main value of the work is in placing the modern practice of Yoga in its proper context. A concise form of this understanding can be gained by just understanding the seven stages of Yoga as laid out by Patanjali. The Yoga poses that we normally focus on is just one of the stages of Yoga and it is not even the place to start:

Patanjali helps us focus on the ends mand means of Yoga - He enumerates the means as the eight limbs or stages of Yoga for the quest of the soul. They are:
1. Yama (universal moral commandments)
2. Niyama (self purification by discipline)
3. Asana (posture)
4. Pranayama (rhythmic control of the breath)
5. Pratyahara (withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and exterior objects)
6. Dharana (concentration)
7. Dhyana (meditation)
8. Samadhi (a state of super-consciousness brought about by profound meditation, in which the individual aspirant (sadhaka) becomes one with the object of his meditation - Paramatma or the Universal Spirit).

Of these, the first two - Yama and Niyama - are the starting points - they control the yogi's passions and emotions and keep him in harmony with his fellow man.
According to Patanjali these two stages are the prerequisites to further practice of Yoga: Without firm foundations a house cannot stand. Without the practice of the principles of yama and niyama, which lay down firm foundations of yoga, further progress is not possible. Practice of asanas without the backing of yama and niyama is mere acrobatics, according to Iyengar.

Then comes the Asanas - which keep the body healthy and strong and in harmony with nature. Through them the Yogi conquers the body and renders it a fit vehicle for the soul. These first three stages are the outward quests (bahiranga sadhana).

The next two stages, Pranayama and Pratyahara, teach the aspirant to regulate the breathing, and thereby control the mind. This helps to free the senses from the thraldom of the objects of desire. These two stages of Yoga are known as the inner quests (antaranga sadhana).

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi take the yogi into the innermost recesses of his soul. The yogi does not look heavenward to find God. He knows that HE is within, being known as the Antaratma (the Inner Self). The last three stages keep him in harmony with himself and his Maker. These stages are called antaratma sadhana, the quest of the soul.
Profile Image for Anne.
71 reviews
March 21, 2008
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 flexibility gives even more evidence of the benefits of yoga.

Quote: "It is said: 'Work alone is your privilege, never the fruits thereof. never let the fruits of action be your motive; and never cease to work. Work in the name of the Lord abandoning selfish desires. Be not affected by success or failure. This equipoise is called Yoga.'" -B.K.S Iyengar p 26

"When the senses are stilled when the mind is at rest, when the intellect wavers not--then, say the wise, is reached the highest stage. This steady control of the senses and mind has been defined as Yoga. He who attains it is free from delusion." -B.K.S Iyengar p 26
Profile Image for Craig Shoemake.
55 reviews83 followers
October 30, 2011
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 knowledge. Iyengar has it all. He is Hindu born and a lifelong yoga devotee. He studied with Krishnamacharya, widely acknowledged as the twentieth century's greatest yoga teacher. The view of yoga Iyengar offers in his 34 page introduction is a traditional and decidedly idealized view-that is, of yoga as a path to self-mastery and liberation. He quotes frequently from the Hindu scriptures and freely tosses Sanskrit terminology around. If you're one of those who wouldn't know adho mukha svanasana from a rare tropical disease, this may be off-putting, but if you're serious about your yoga, you'd better get used to it.

Part II, "Yogasanas, Bandha and Kriya," constitutes the majority of the book and is the reason why most will buy it. Iyengar covers several hundred asanas, supplying general advice for practice as well as detailed instructions for each pose. Every asana is accompanied by clear photos of Iyengar demonstrating the asana under discussion. The sheer quantity of asanas is unparalleled-if there is another yoga book with this many or more asanas, I've yet to find it. But it's not just that: Iyengar's explanations, his advice, and his illuminating notes on what the asanas actually do to the body and mind-advice obviously born from extensive experience and teaching-is also without equal. All yoga books have some of what Light on Yoga has; none have such a complete package of quantity and quality.

Iyengar also includes a brief but illuminating section on pranayama. However, those who wish to understand breath control in-depth are advised to consult his other masterpiece, Light on Pranayama. I've not yet explored that one, but it is on my list.

If the book ended there, it would still be an unprecedented contribution to the literature of yoga. But Iyengar goes the extra mile with two further sections: one, a complete five-year course in asanas and pranayama, graduated from rank beginner to expert level; two, a section discussing exercises for the treatment of specific ailments. Again, most yoga books worth their salt include courses at the end; one I've reviewed already (Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann) is quite excellent in this regard. But I've never seen anything close to what Iyengar does here. This is why I came to the conclusion that at least for the time being, Light on Yoga is the only yoga book I need.

Profile Image for Liam O'Leary.
477 reviews114 followers
September 26, 2019
2019 Update:
I've befriended an incongruous (eighty-year) old man at my university gym. He's been instructed by his doctor to regain fitness for his heart and arthritis. He was curious to see what I was doing on the mats, the focus and control in my slow movements. I showed him some very simple poses, told him to find this book and left on holiday for the summer. When I returned, he said he had found it in the library and had started practicing daily in his room and that it made him feel very good and much more flexible in his weaker joints. He is currently working toward sitting on his heels with knees together (devotional pose), and tells me that he does not mind how long it takes him, but just that he gets a little closer each day.

Yoga is great for compassionately connecting people, and am proud to say this book was powerful enough to help me to inspire an elderly newcomer to practice yoga, and has brought him enjoyment in his mind and body.

I've read enough to form an opinion on this book that I will probably continue consulting for life.

As far as I am aware this is the yoga book; the closest thing to an authoritative manual on 'how to practice yoga'. Hundreds of postures described similar to a cooking recipe book with the given spiritual guidance and suggested flows (combinations) in separate chapters. Note that this is a guide will probably be overwhelming for beginners (who I'd advise seek beginner or yin classes first before learning asanas methodically). I am slowly working towards becoming a yoga teacher, but do so earnestly I will need a few more years of mental and physical preparation.

The way I see it the asanas of the Bikram, Moksha or other new Westernized schools are adaptations (sometimes suspiciously hand-wavy simplifications) of these asanas by Iyengar. While I appreciate the newer approach to yoga as being open to modification to one's own body, I think it is important for anyone who is serious about yoga to learn the 'original' way, and then adapt, so to know the direction in which one is going from 'the path' on their own journey. And for a yogi, this book is the path.
Profile Image for Dennis Littrell.
1,078 reviews42 followers
August 10, 2019
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-step "how to" for instruction in asana and pranayama. There are 602 photos of Iyengar himself demonstrating the poses with extraordinary flexibility and precision. I have an early, hardcover edition with the photos collected together at the back of the book. The newer editions have the photos spaced appropriately throughout the text.

The 34-page Introduction entitled, "What is Yoga?" is a concise overview of the nature, aim and extent of yoga as gleaned from the ancient texts, in particular Pantajali's Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and Swatmarama's Hatha Yoga Pradipika (from which Iyengar gets his Sanskrit title, Yoga Dipika). These are the three great texts of yoga and Iyengar knows them well. This Introduction rewards patient study, and is the kind of pithy text that needs to be returned to again and again, and yet it is written in an accessible, inspired, and inspirational style.

Iyengar emphasizes precision and careful technique and a whole body mindfulness as prerequisites to success in hatha yoga. From my experience this mindfulness is absolutely essential for two main reasons. One, you will surely strain or pull a muscle, usually several little ones, if your mind goes astray or if you practice with your attention elsewhere. Count on it. Two, the full import and effect of asana cannot be appreciated, nor the psychological and spiritual lessons implicit within the practice be understood without a deep and continuous concentration--the mindfulness leading to meditation.

The technical instruction of the poses includes some commentary on beneficial effects. It should be noted that according to tradition there are 84,000 poses known (or perhaps the number is 840,000) of which about 84 are said to be necessary for health and the progression to samadhi. It is also said traditionally that a cat was the first yoga teacher. I want to note that only a gifted person with a natural suppleness can hope to master all the poses that Iyengar demonstrates. So don't despair. Most authorities will tell you that a dozen or so will suffice.

Even though detailed instruction is given in only three pranayamas, the subject is nonetheless throughly introduced and explained in the twenty-five elegant and succinct pages that constitute Part III of this book. Included and noteworthy is Iyengar's well-known warning: "Pneumatic tools can cut through the hardest rock. In Pranayama the yogi uses his lungs as pneumatic tools. If they are not used properly, they destroy both the tool and the person using it."

There are two appendices, one on "Asana Courses," which may be useful for teachers or for those who like a highly structured approach. The other is on the curative effects of asana for various disorders including arthritis, asthma, diabetes, flatulence, etc. I take this second appendix with some reserve and note that a comprehensive study of the curative effects of asana awaits its great genius. Nonetheless, the traditional experience, which Iyengar relies on, is part of the ancient practice of ayurvedic medicine, one of the great healing traditions of the world, and as such commands the highest respect. Personally, it is obvious to me that certain asanas facilitate certain natural bodily processes, and it is well know that a concentration of attention and blood flow to an effected part of the body can assist the body's healing mechanisms. Asana, properly understood in this context, is part of a maintenance program for a healthy body.

Iyengar's is preeminently a practical approach seeped in the ancient traditions of India. As such there is a distinctive, but unavoidable Hindu cast to his instruction. (Separating yoga from Hinduism is like trying to unscramble an omelette.) Nonetheless Iyengar strives for a universal approach and does an excellent job of achieving it. Note this from the introduction: "Food, the supporting yet consuming substance of all life is regarded as a phase of Brahman. It should be eaten with the feeling that with each morsel one can gain strength to serve the Lord...Whether or not to be a vegetarian is a purely personal matter as each person is influenced by the tradition and habits of the country in which he was born and bred."

--Dennis Littrell, author of “Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)”
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
986 reviews1,113 followers
November 19, 2019
Since I got back into the habit of a daily yoga practice, I started digging up books on the topic – because that’s what I do. My dad enthusiastically recommended this one as an absolute classic that anyone with a serious interest in yoga should have on their shelf. While I usually take his book recommendations with several grains of salt, he is definitely a subject matter expert here, so I fully trusted his opinion on “Light On Yoga”.

The first 30 or so pages are especially crucial: it’s where Iyengar discusses the many branches of yogic philosophy, how it applies to living, practicing and studying. The practice of asanas is only one branch of the philosophy and spiritual practice of yoga, and Iyengar obviously considers that a yogi who practices asanas but neglects the other aspects only has a fragmentary understanding of yoga. This text is fascinating, but also generously peppered with Sanskrit terms, and to be honest, that makes it occasionally confusing. I get why the section was not edited to be too simplified, but I can also see how that would make it a bit intimidating for newbies.

The bulk of the book is an extremely detailed section on asanas, with many photos of Iyengar himself demonstrating the poses and their different stages. He goes through step-by-step instructions on how to get into the pose, explains the Sanskrit name for it and describes the effect the pose will have on the body. Most modern illustrated yoga guides tend to classify the asanas by type (standing, sitting, back bends, inversions, etc.), but here, they are more or less organised by levels of difficulty, getting progressively more advanced and demanding as so go through the book. That being said, the asanas are also not displayed in a learning sequence – those are further along in the book, in the appendix. The section following the asanas is a list of breathing guidelines and techniques, and a discussion on chakras.

While I can absolutely see how great this book is as a reference, I must say that I found it rather impractical. For example, the appendix containing Iyengar’s asana practice plans is essentially a list of asanas (either grouped by weeks of practice or by an affliction the practitioner would like to address), referred to by their Sanskrit names and with the photo number next to it. There isn’t even the page number at which you can find the poses in there! This is a rather frustrating layout. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by other books, which have more visual layouts, but I’m afraid I found this one rather hard to work with.

As a foundational text of the modern practice of yoga, anyone with a serious interest should definitely have this on their shelf. It is not always breezy, nor is it really the right practical book with which to learn yoga, but it is incredibly informative.
Profile Image for Alissa.
9 reviews3 followers
May 5, 2008
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 phenomenal if the practice of yoga is integral in one's ability to feel another level of connectedness with the universe/each other/all things, etc...

I probably love this more than I would if I hadn't already gone in with a burning ardor for other similar texts and a learned understanding from those of what the heck is going on here as a baseline though--notable the Bhagavad Gita. I'd read that first if you haven't. I should add that to my Goodreads shelf, too.

Iyengar is just one master of one form of physically practicing yoga (and this really isn't about all the other yoga as is the epically gorgeous B-Gita)and his writing reflects a little language barrier but it's one of the things I actually love about the book a bit more. And in parts, each sentence could be a thoughtful hour spent in its digestion if you're so inclined to feast on prose sometimes as opposed to just snack or subsist.

Good stuff, and, for what it's worth, some of the advanced asansas make for pretty sick party tricks if you're in it for entertainment value alone.
Profile Image for Adrian Alvarez.
489 reviews37 followers
December 1, 2014
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.
Profile Image for Alex.
476 reviews103 followers
June 15, 2017
I cannot read this one as a normal book, but I read it as I learn the asanas.

It is the bible of all yoga book. i found it in a street basket at "solds". of course, the more colourful and commercially more presentable books of yoga were inside costing way more than 10 euros.
Profile Image for Deniz Balcı.
Author 2 books569 followers
September 25, 2020
Bu kitap hatha yoga pratiğinin kutsal kitabı gibi bir şey. Pratiğinizin tekniği için ulaşabileceğiniz daha yetkin bir kaynak yok. Aktif yoga yapanların mutlaka yararlanması gereken bir eser, zaten bir yerde yollarınız Iyengar ile çakışıyor. En baştan olması süper olur, tavsiye ederim.
Profile Image for Priyanka Dutta.
22 reviews12 followers
October 29, 2019
This book illustrates every possible Yoga!
Stay healthy! Keep reading. I am on my way to practice some of those exercises. It states the effects of each Yoga. It also states effective ways to make the Kundalini rise. Every Yoga practitioner must keep a copy of this book
Profile Image for LeeLee.
19 reviews
July 27, 2010
Very clear introduction to a the classic perspective of Hatha yoga.
Profile Image for Danimal4288.
7 reviews1 follower
Currently reading
January 27, 2009
apparently i'm supposed to attain freedom from desire. gotta lotta work to do on that one.
Profile Image for Ram.
309 reviews11 followers
September 25, 2010
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.
Profile Image for Christopher.
201 reviews
August 31, 2017
The main value of this book, at least for the average person, is that of a reference book. Yoga poses are displayed with a detailed description of the best way to approach the pose and the value it has on you body. A very good resource for the serious practitioner.
Profile Image for Ravi .
49 reviews17 followers
December 31, 2014
Timeless, glorious wisdom of Yoga! Iyengar is a gift to those who seek that wisdom.
January 27, 2015
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.


Profile Image for Zoe Bray-Cotton.
2 reviews3 followers
April 12, 2019
The best reference on yoga poses with thorough explanations of how to get in, be in and get out of each pose safely and effectively. Also provides excellent context for how poses relate to one another and progress one to the other. Though Iyengar yoga instruction is the key to learning how to practice yoga properly, this book is your best friend after class and when conducting a home-based practice.
Profile Image for Adam.
193 reviews4 followers
November 30, 2018
Not sure how to rate this, it’s the classic yoga reference by the guru who popularized yoga in the U.S. The 60-page introduction gives an overview of the philosophy of yoga, including the 8 arms of yoga, of which the asanas - the physical poses— are arm number 3. Most of the book is made up of detailed descriptions of the asanas, with over 500 photos, all of them modeled by Iyengar himself.
1,727 reviews53 followers
May 10, 2016
Mostly centered around asanas. There are many asanas here including many that don't seem to common. There are pictures, but less than I'd like. The main selling points for me were the better than average texts describing the positions and their effects.
Profile Image for H.A. Leuschel.
Author 5 books249 followers
March 3, 2023
It's not so much a book that you 'read' but rather peruse and consult, keep by your side in order to deepen your practice and approach for each of the many individual asanas. A classic!
Profile Image for Angie.
2,332 reviews227 followers
February 24, 2017
I can definitely see why Light on Yoga is often referred to as the Yoga Bible. It really covers everything that you need to know about yoga. It's split into three easy to use sections. Part one is an introduction to what yoga is and what it means to be a yogi. The middle section, which is the bulk of the book, is a list of over 200 postures with step by step instructions on getting into and out of them, along with their benefits and risks. The third section is an appendix of asanas for specific ailments and for mastering all of the included postures.

Where my rating for Light on Yoga dropped was the introduction. It does do a great job of explaining the history and philosophy of yoga. It also goes briefly into the different branches of yoga and what their focuses are. However, I did find some of it confusing. There were a few times where we're told that we don't need to do X, Y, Z to do yoga, but that we do need to do X, Y, Z to call ourselves a yogi. I know there is a distinction, but it's kind of discouraging and made me feel like a poser for wanting to practice yoga.

The middle portion of Light on Yoga is an amazing reference. It goes through over 200 common postures and tells you what you need to know about each of them. There are also photographs showing the final pose, and some of them have photos of intermediate steps as well. Each posture also has a step by step guide for getting into the pose and out of it. It also lists who should and should not do the pose, as well as the risks and benefits. It's a lot of information, but very useful to make sure you're not doing more harm than good.

The ending appendix is also a useful tool. You can look up your conditions or ailments (sciatica, high blood pressure, constipation, etc) and get a list of postures to help alleviate them. In addition to that, there's weekly asana practices to guide you in mastering the poses. This was my favorite part. Each week builds on the previous, and of course, starts with the easier postures and moves up to the most difficult. There are 500 weeks worth of content!

I borrowed Light on Yoga from the library, but this is absolutely a book that I'd love to own a copy of for quick reference. It's a great resource for anyone who's starting out with yoga and wants to learn more.

Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.
Profile Image for Abhilasha Purwar.
25 reviews280 followers
November 21, 2017
The formatting in the book is fairly poor making it strenuous to read. The line spacing should have been 1.15 or 1.5, it would have been better to cover each pose as a section, rather than a continuous text.

However, the content of the book is amazing. The expertise and insight of B.K.S Iyengar is on spot.
Unlike most other Indian literature on Yoga which has elements of sexism here and there in text i.e. women during impure bleeding cycles should not do this, yada yada; Iyengar offers relevant and useful suggestions.

Iyengar also provides multiple modifications of each pose from beginner to advanced level, which are arsenals for a yoga teacher.

Wish the formatting was a little better and it would have been my yoga-bible for life.
Profile Image for Shubhada.
47 reviews
September 26, 2017
It is amazing how deeply Guruji has given thought to the anatomy and alignment of the body while presenting these yogasanas to practice. He proves that really by doing yogasana you can prepare your body for its further journey of exploration of mind, soul and the unknown beyond that. As he says again and again, body, mind and intelligence are the vehicles of the soul which has set on the journey of self realization. This book is not just the manual of how to do Yagasana- it really opens up the inner core of the aasana practice.
Profile Image for Raushan Kumar.
20 reviews7 followers
April 2, 2018
It's the most comprehensive book on Yoga by the great master. Book has been written very precisely about each Yoga posture. Must have if someone wants to learn Yoga seriously. Each posture instructions are in great detail which generally normal instructor won't tell.

Also, anatomical details are added for greater understanding.
Profile Image for Barbara H.
684 reviews
February 24, 2011
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.
Profile Image for Maud.
111 reviews9 followers
January 23, 2018
I mean I'm not *really* finished but the purpose for which I was reading this has ended so I *could* be done but hopefully I will come back to this many many times. Wise and thorough but you don't need me to tell you that.
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