B.K.S. Iyengar was a world-renowned yoga guru who brought the art of yoga to the West. Now referred to as Iyengar yoga, his style and teachings emphasize precision and alignment, planned sequencing, timing, and the use of props.
Yep. You can thank Iyengar for that glorious block in Ardha Chandrasana or for the strap in Janu Sirsasana.
Iyengar himself didn’t like to refer to it as “Iyengar yoga,” as he felt it was wrong to differentiate or brand yoga. To Iyengar, “Yoga like God, is one.”
Yoga For All
Arguably the most important gift Iyengar gave us in his 95 years as Guruji was the belief that yoga should be, and is, accessible to all.
Students from around the world flocked to Pune, India to study under him.
Luckily for us who didn’t have that chance, he left a legacy of fantastic teachers, and a mini library of reference texts into which he poured his 75 years of daily yoga study.
If you’re going to read one yoga text to deepen your practice, it has to be Iyengar’s Light on Yoga, now considered a modern yoga classic.
It’s such an important text in the yoga community that it’s even required reading for most yoga teacher training programs (it was for mine!).
Why do we think you should check it out?
1. You’ll Learn Proper Alignment
Iyengar provides detailed instructions on all of our favourite asanas. It’s clear, easy to follow, gives you all the therapeutic benefits, tips and tricks, and contradictions. You will learn proper alignment and how to perform postures safely and correctly. Iyengar himself even models them in the book.
2. You’ll Dive Deeper Into Yoga Philosophy
The introduction of the book is a great start for yogis looking to understand more about the philosophy beyond asana. Iyengar based his teachings on Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras and Light on Yoga explains the Eight Limbs of Yoga in an easy to digest manner.
3. You’ll Cultivate Inner Awareness With Pranayama
Iyengar will show you a variety of Pranayama – how to do the different breathing exercises, why you should do them, and when not to do them. Adding Pranayama to your practice will help you connect your outer physical practice with your inner practice.
As Iyengar says, “Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.”
4. You’ll Learn Sanskrit
Iyengar breaks down the traditional Sanskrit terms to English for you to easily understand. He sticks to the Sanskrit after the initial English translation, so it’s almost a dive in the deep-end to learn the Sanskrit terms of each asana like the back of your hand. It’s also has a great glossary for speedy reference.
5. Find Inspiration for Your Practice On and Off the Mat
Light on Yoga provides page after page of inspiration for your practice on and off the mat. If you’re caught in a yoga rut, immersing yourself in the words of a master will surely motivate you to try something new, or access something different in a familiar favorite.
As Iyengar says, “The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” So do your body, mind and soul a favor and pop up to the local book shop, or download it on your iPad, and learn from a true master.
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