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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