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Amber's Thoughts

Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series

 

 

Light from a Long and Well-Lived Life

Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom - B.K.S. Iyengar, Douglas Abrams, John J. Evans

This review is my small contribution to honor the legacy of the author, who died last week. As a yoga teacher and life-long yoga student, I’ve been blessed to learn from teachers who learned from him and through his teaching tradition. His life’s work has shed light on mine.

 

This gentle yet challenging book integrates the philosophy and spirituality of yoga, the physical practice of yoga, and anecdotes from Iyengar’s long life. It was written in 2005 when he was in his mid-eighties. It’s organized according to the five aspects of our being as understood in yoga. Each line is worth reading the way one enters, holds and exits a pose in an Iyengar class. Observe. Pay closer attention. Make adjustments. Sometimes the more subtle the adjustment the more profound the result. Sustain and explore. No rushing to get to the next pose in the class, or the next line in the book. Stay with an idea as long as you need. Read a chapter over, the way you would repeat a difficult pose. It won’t always be comfortable. At times it will be funny, at times blissful. It’s all practice.

 

I like to re-read this book, the way I study the same asanas for years and find there’s still more to them. Tonight I was drawn to this: he says most people expect meditation to reduce their stress, but yoga teaches that one has to reduce stress first in order to meditate—learn to quiet the nervous system’s incessant jangling in order to quiet the mind. I think anyone who has practiced meditation immediately after asana will understand. There is true stillness. Not lethargy or sleepiness, but stillness. The busier I am, the more grateful I am for that stillness.

 

If you’re considering yoga or struggling to commit to a regular practice, or if you’re a teacher who wants to teach with more insight, or perhaps someone who thinks yoga is only a workout or a stretch, this book may enhance your yoga—and then the doing, inspired by the reading, can change your life. Like the best yoga and meditation teachers I’ve known, Light on Life is accessible, friendly, compassionate, and asks much of the student.

 

“The challenge of yoga is to go beyond our limits—within reason. We continually expand the frame of the mind by using the canvas of the body.”

 

“The yogi is engaged in a game with no end, for the game is simply the sight of his own Soul.”

                                                                                                                                    B.K.S. Iyengar

Namaste