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Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom Hardcover – August 25, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 160 customer reviews

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Amazon.com Review

If this book is to lay any claim to authenticity, it must make one point clear above all others. It is this: By persistent and sustained practice, anyone and everyone can make the yoga journey and reach the goal of illumination and freedom. Krishna, Buddha, and Jesus lie in the hearts of all. They are not film stars, mere idols of adulation. They are great inspirational figures whose example is there to be followed. They act as our role models today. Just as they reached Self-Realization, so may we.

Many of you may worry that you are unable to meet the challenges that lie ahead. I want to assure you that you can. I am a man who started from nowhere; I was heavily disadvantaged in many ways. After much time and effort, I began to reach somewhere. I literally emerged from darkness to light, from mortal sickness to health, from crude ignorance to immersion in the ocean of knowledge by one means alone, namely by zealous persistence in the art and science of yoga practice (sadhana). What held good for me will hold good for you too. Today you also have the benefit of many gifted yoga teachers.

When I began yoga, there was, I am sorry to say, no wise, kind teacher to lead me. In fact my own Guru refused to answer any of my innocent inquiries on yoga. He did not instruct me as I do my students, offering them step-by-step guidance in an asana. He would simply demand a posture and leave it to me or his other students to figure out how it could be realized. Perhaps that stimulated some stubborn aspect of my nature, which allied to unshakable faith in the subject of yoga made me burn to go on. I am ardent and passionate, and maybe I needed to show the world that I was not worthless. But far more than that, I wanted to find out who I was. I wanted to understand this mysterious and marvelous "yoga," which could reveal to us our innermost secrets, as equally as it revealed those of the universe around us and our place in it as joyful, suffering, puzzled human beings.

From Publishers Weekly

Master yogi Iyengar offers what may turn out to be his last written words on the discipline that he helped popularize with Light on Yoga. Published in 1966, that first book became yoga's "bible" and set the standard for yoga books, providing pictures and instructions. The 86-year-old teacher here expounds the philosophy of yoga—its metaphysics, of which yoga poses, or asanas, represent the physical component. Iyengar yoga is vigorous because it involves the body, mind and spirit, and the master explains those interrelationships clearly. Chapters elaborate on aspects of yoga—the physical, energetic, mental, intellectual and divine, showing the architecture of the comprehensive system of spiritual teachings that lead to samadhi, the state of blissful absorption. Yoga is about health and purity, flexibility and divinity. While this book underlines the intellectual aspect of yoga, it is insufficient for a new yoga student, no substitute for yoga sadhana, practice that requires and integrates body and mind. Not the book with which to begin the yoga journey, it is highly recommended for those advanced on the path and interested in learning from a master of flexibility and wisdom. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Printing edition (October 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594862486
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594862489
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
At 86 years old, BKS Iyengar has contributed much to the yoga world. Not only his prolific books, but also his style - which focuses on alignment and uses props. Almost every popular style of yoga today can thank Iyengar for helping to popularize this art. Now Iyengar has written a book that takes on a far more personal and conversational tone than previous works. Light On Life is a book that brings together all of Iyengar's personal experiences and insights in his 70+ years as a yoga practitioner.

This is a fantastic book whether you practice Iyengar style yoga or not. I picked it up a few weeks ago and took my time reading through it. There is a tremendous amount of insight here and one needs to digest it slowly.

This book blends Iyengar's life story along with wisdom and philosophy. You will come away from this book with a clear idea of what the yoga journey is all about. I recently had the good fortune of being able to hear Iyengar speak at a conference. He is amazing, brilliant and very witty (spry too!). This book reflects his personality beautifully. After reading this book and seeing him in person, I feel that I am more dedicated to my path than ever.

Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
"Light on Life" is a thoroughly readable book by the Father of modern Yoga. I have read both "Light on Yoga" and "Light on Pranayama" and without a doubt this is the most accessable of the three books. In his earlier books, Iyengar writes as a stearn teacher with a rock solid philosophy. However, in this new book, the Master writes with a grandfatherly wisdom that neither demands nor commands. This is a gentle book by a gentle man that outlines a life based around the art and science of yoga as well as detailed instructions for overcoming challenges along the way. Iyengar writes candidly about his own struggles in life and with his own challenges in the practice of his beloved Yoga. His devotion and love for his wife and family is delightfully apparent as he describes parts of their life together. All students wherever they are on their path, will take heart that even a great master like BKS Iyengar has faced the same pitfalls as all of us.

This may be the final published work by this treasure of a man and everyone interested in the Yoga lifestyle should own and read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
It is a rare thing to find wisdom distilled into a book, rarer still that the author walks among us. This book is more than a capstone to 70 years of Mr. Iyengar's own yoga practice, it's an invitation to share his experience an find out for oneself how much yoga can change, transform and enlighten the intelligence of the body, the mind and ultimately the spirit. Lucid, well-written and accessible, this is a book for seekers everywhere. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Profound thoughts explained in the most simple manner. That's all one can say about this book. It is difficult to write a more objective review, because the impact the author will have on you will make you giddy. It took me about 3 months to complete my first read of the book - not because it is difficult. The book should not be read - it should be absorbed and reflected upon. Being raised in Eastern philosophy, I am aware of the profound thoughts explained in the book. However, the beauty of the book is its secular approach in explaining thoughts similar to that of the Gita, in a simple manner everyone can easily relate to. To me, this is the modern day version of the Gita. Having owned all the "Light on.." books by the author, this book is the perfect "integrator" of all the other books by the author. An absolute must-have.
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Format: Hardcover
An autobiography written by B.K.S. Iyengar would have been interesting, but instead Light on Life delves into the Yogic concepts of yamas and niyamas, the five kosas, pranayama, asana and the importance of ethics and forthright living. As a textbook, Light on Life gives a good introduction and comprehensive guide to Yoga, from a true and time tested master. I appreciated his humility and honesty when giving anecdotes and explanations, even calling himself a "fanatic."

A Yogi embraces and lives in the external world and does not renounce it. Iyengar continually emphasizes the interconnectedness of the many petals of Yoga. He gives crystalline answers to the questions which may arise at each step along the spiritual path, "the lowest being our ability to tie our own shoelaces when we are eighty and the highest being the opportunity to taste the essence of life itself."

If he has left any lasting reminder, it is that Hatha Yoga is not just a physical practice but can lead a dedicated practitioner to integration of mind, body and soul. His emphasis on practice, sadhana and tapas, gives hope for anyone starting at any stage to reap the benefits of Yoga with patience and perseverance.

He uses humorous examples like the temptation of a tub of vanilla ice cream to illustrate how the mind, ego and intelligence operate. "Drink contaminated water on Monday, sick on Tuesday, dead on Wednesday," is the way he describes previous epidemics of cholera and typhoid. Some of his anecdotes are quaint such as, "It is normal for women students to set their teachers on a pedestal in any subject, but by that time I was a bit more worldly-wise and developed a forbidding manner to keep them at arm's length. My flashing eyebrows and fierce glare came to my rescue.
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