BOOK REVIEW: Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar

Light on Yoga: Yoga DipikaLight on Yoga: Yoga Dipika by B.K.S. Iyengar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon page

I recently reviewed the book Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha [APMB] and used this book as a point of comparison, and so further insight into my thoughts on this book can gleaned from that review. This will be fairly short and to the point as the APMB review provided a great deal of detail.

Light on Yoga is the work of world-renowned yogi BKS Iyengar. Iyengar is one of several noted students of T.T. Krishnamacharya, and is celebrated for developing a system using props (belts, blocks, chairs, bolsters, etc.) to achieve correct alignment in yogasanas. You won’t learn about props in this book. Iyengar–at least the Iyengar of the 1960’s–didn’t need props to achieve proper alignment. In fact, he was capable of all manner of what can best be described as contortionism.

This book is a solid reference for Hatha Yoga. It covers all the basic asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), bandha (locks), and a large number of variations and advanced asana. Light on Yoga also has an introduction to the eight limbs of yoga (of which asana and pranayama are but two.) There are also helpful appendices like a glossary, a 300-week course outline, and a list of courses for various ailments. The book doesn’t cover shatkarma (cleansing practices) or mudra (sealing postures) in any depth.

The graphics in this book are beneficial and consist of black and white photos of Iyenger performing the asana with his perfect alignment. There are multiple shots of asana as needed either to demonstrate how to enter / exit the posture or to show the completed posture from multiple angles.

As I suggested in APMB review, my biggest complaint with Light on Yoga is that it doesn’t systematically address contraindications, and we don’t learn what evidence supports various claims of benefits.

I’d recommend this book for Hatha Yoga students and teachers. Its strengths make it a valuable text and its weaknesses can be addressed with other books.

View all my reviews

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