Light On Life- Words of Wisdom

The more Yoga you do the more you will feel and understand. It’s difficult to explain until you start to experience it but everything starts to make more sense. Here are some wonderful words of wisdom from one of our favourite Gurus B.K.S. Iyengar. He was one of the world’s leading Yoga teachers until his death in August last year. He wrote eloquently on Yoga and Philosophy. We hope you enjoy reading this.

The 20th August saw the passing of the brilliant Yogi B.K.S.Iyengar. Even if you have never been to an Iyengar class or know little about its method you cannot ignore the writings of this most eloquent and intelligent teacher on Yoga. He was and I feel will remain one of the leading and inspiring writers on Yoga philosophy, practice and asana. I return to his writing time and time again and find his clarity and understanding enables me in my study both as a teacher and student.

I’ve been quoting him a fair bit recently in my Saturday morning class and wanted to share some of his writings from his book “Light On Life”. I’ve referenced both the Chapter and the Page Number above each quote. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I do.There is so much in this book. I highly recommend it to all Yoga students.



“Human life has always had the same hardships and the same challenges- making a living,raising a family, and finding meaning and purpose. These have always and will always be the challenges that we humans face. As animals,we walk the earth. As bearers of a divine essence, we are among the stars. As human beings, we are caught in the middle, seeking to reconcile the paradox of how to make our way upon the earth while striving for something more permanent and more profound.”

….”What most people want is the same. Most people simply want physical and mental health,understanding and wisdom, and peace and freedom. Yoga is designed to satisfy all of these human needs in a comprehensive, seamless whole. It’s goal is nothing less than to attain the integrity of oneness- oneness with ourselves and as a consequence oneness with all that lies beyond ourselves.”

..Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of whole ness in your life….Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life. Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.”

Stability-The Physical Body pages 28-29

“We think of intelligence and perception as taking place exclusively in our brains, but Yoga teaches us that awareness and intelligence permeate the body. Each part of the body literally has to be engulfed by the intelligence. We must create a marriage between the awareness of the body and the awareness of the mind. When the two parties do not cooperate there is unhappiness on both sides.”

“Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filed with movement..Yoga teaches us how to infuse our movements with intelligence,transforming them into action……Asana begins to teach us this.”


“When an asana is done correctly, the body movements are smooth, and there is a lightness and freedom in the mind. When an asana is felt as being heavy,it is wrong. You must try to impart a feeling of lightness in the body…Think of yourself as graceful and expanding,no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time…”

“When we lose this lightness,our bodies shrink. The moment the body shrinks, the brain becomes heavy and full,and you see nothing.The doors of perception are closed…..Slouching acts like a narcotic to the body….collapsing our chest caves in the very self. It is because your mind shrinks that your soul shrinks. It is the spine’s job to keep the mind alert.”


“Many people focus on the past or the future to avoid experiencing the present,often because the present is painful or difficult to endure…The pain is there as a teacher, because life is filled with pain. In the struggle alone there is knowledge. ..Pain is your guru. As we experience pleasures happily,we must learn not to lose our happiness when pain comes…We must try not to run from pain but to move through and beyond it. This is the cultivation of tenacity and perseverance,which is spiritual attitude toward yoga.”

“Since pain is inevitable,asana is a laboratory in which we discover how to tolerate pain that cannot be avoided and how to transform pain that can.” 49.. “It is not just that yoga is causing all of this pain; the pain is already there. It is hidden…it is as if your body is in a coma. When you begin yoga, the unrecognised pains come to the surface..As long as there is tightness in body and mind,there is no peace.”


“Yoga makes an important distinction between intelligence and mind.The specific quality of mind is cleverness. All people are clever compared to other forms of life.Stupidity is the a sense of intelligence. Stupidity can be behaving in a certain way or not learning from our mistakes.We are all stupid sometimes..Scientifically advanced nations invent many complex and terrible weapons. To do this they must be clever. Then they sell these weapons indiscriminately around the world,and the arms end up in the hands of their enemies. Is this clever or stupid?…Yoga helps us to develop the intelligence that allows us to create a new relationship to our ego and the world.”

Ethics:Universal and Personal- page 246

“For the Yogi,spirit and nature are not separate….One cannot grow spiritually without increasing one’s moral and ethical awareness.”

“Ethics is the glue that binds earth to Heaven.”

“Yoga makes a sincere practitioner into an integrated personality. Ethical living aids the harmonious development of body and mind.”

Page 260″We are creatures that are designed for continual challenge. We must grow or we begin to die….So just standing still isn’t really an option. We have to move on. If not, disturbances will come.”

Page 266″I am old, and death inevitably approaches. But both birth and death are beyond the will of a human being. They are not my domain. I do not think about it. Yoga has taught me to think of only working to live a useful life…I will never stop learning, and it have tried to share some lessons with you. I do pray that my ending will be your beginning. The great rewards and the countless blessings of a life spent following the Inward Journey await you. “

Leave a Reply