His book “Light On Yoga” ( unabridged ) was and probably is still the most comprehensive book on yoga in the English language. About two inches thick, super precise description of postures pages long in excruciating detail, hundreds of pictures showing the smallest of variations, a substantial introduction to the philosophy in the front, a do it yourself practice guide spanning several years in the back, and even a guide for which postures to use for which physical issues.
I discovered yoga and his fantastic book when I was teenager. I would spend hours with it every day after school, bending in odd positions while dripping sweat on the book and reading all of those detailed directions.
It was one of my first, best, introductions to Eastern thought that led to many of the things I am still into today.
I can’t find a way to say adequately how much I got out Iyengars fantastic book. I think it is a crime against humanity that newer editions were later abridged. A
All those hours of enjoyment, education, and funky experiences, during a time of discovery for me.
In the early 00’s I finally had a chance to to take yoga classes that taught his style. I remember seeing a poster of him bending over backwards and touching the floor behind him. He was 75 years old at the time. When I got into all of that stuff I remember high school friends telling me how the time spent on yoga, diet, health etc detracted from the joy in life. Aside from the fact that those things are ends in themselves as joyful things to do, BKS Iyengar was doing hand stands at an age where many people are dying and struggling just to do basic daily things.
Age can be a time of the coming together of wisdom bringing great opportunities. What a gift to have a few more years and a few more quality years, to get the most out of it.
Iyengar made it to 95 and was still highly functional almost up to his demise. I knew very little about him aside from his thoughts in “Light On Yoga”. This article was a very interesting summary of his life, and after all these years I found out what the “B.K.S.” stand for.