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Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom Paperback – September 19, 2006
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I loved this book. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I bought it; I only knew that I am a yoga (asana) addict and Iyengar is sort of the father of western yoga, so I thought perhaps I would read the book about his philosophy. I am so glad I did.
I can't say things better than Iyengar himself, so here are some quotes. Overall, if you're on the fence about whether to get this book, I would say get it and you probably will be glad you did.
"We must discover what each sheath of being longs for and nourish it according to its subtle appetites."
Ego is the "small, selfish creature you normally take yourself for."
Pratyahara, the inward turning of the senses, "makes the mind shut up so we can concentrate."
"Consciousness can be compared to a lens. Its inner surface faces the soul itself, and its outer surface comes into contact with the world. Inevitably a degree of grime attaches itself to that outer surface and obscures our vision."
"When awareness is linked to intelligence, we are able to see with absolute honesty."
"When you start yoga, you are probably living in your mind and emotions, a never-ending Internet chat room. You read books and articles on what best to eat and how to exercise, reading material that any wild animal would scorn. But you do not know how to live, only what you desire. Instinct is dulled."
"Yoga insists on examining, scientifically and without value judgment, what can go wrong and why, and how to stop it. It is organic farming of the self--for the self."
"Those who are on the verge of enlightenment will be tempted from the path even by angels."
Meditation is "bringing the turbulent sea to a state of flat calm.... When you ruffle the waters, you create. You create everything in the manifest world, from nuclear war to Mozart's symphonies. The yogi is journeying in the opposite direction, from the world of things and events, which are so joyful, painful, baffling, and unending, back to the point of stillness before the waves were ruffled."
"Before we can understand the Universal Soul, we must understand our own, and before we understand our soul, we must explore all that eclipses our true selves, especially the wily 'I' that takes on a thousand disguises to distract us."
"We want to be immortal. We know in our hearts that we are. But we throw it all away by misidentifying with all that is perishable and transient."
"Freedom is about dropping the shackles of fear and desire."
"What we call consumer choice is not a choice but a selection. It offers only an illusion of freedom. The choice to consume has already been made."
"An opinion is yesterday's right or wrong knowledge warmed up and re-served for today's situation."
“The mind is a bottomless pit, like a black hole. Stop trying to fill it as it cannot be filled. Go beyond the bottomless pit to realize the soul.”
"To take joy in the well-being of others is to share in the riches of the world."
The book starts slow, and I was on the verge of putting it aside, thinking that Iyengar may be a great yoga practitioner, but not a great writer. Soon, however, the narrative won me over.
I can only describe this book as magic. If you like reading philosophy, this one is definitely for you. Unlike Western philosophy books, it is very practical and to the point. There are some things I could not understand, but what I did understand was beautiful and true. It provided a fresh perspective, and a motivation to change.