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The essay is a book review of Light on Yoga written by Iyengar B.K.S first published in 1966. The author born in 1918 was hailed as a yoga master and innovator who made popular yoga in the western countries through teaching methods in this book. The review centres on the topics covered in the book, the purpose of the book, the overall theme of the book and lastly reflection and personal comment regarding the book. The book is written in three major parts or section.
Topics in the book
The first part is titled ‘What is Yoga’ . It is here that the eight stages of Yoga are brought to light and include:
[Universal moral command, “self purification by discipline, posture, rhythmic control of the breath, withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the dominion of the senses as well as exterior object, concentration, meditation and finally a state of super-consciousness as a result of profound meditation where one is deemed to be joined with the object of meditation]
Additionally this part gives the history as well as philosophical background regarding the old teaching.
According to Iyengar, 1997 the second part is titled ‘Yogasanas’. This part emphasises the importance of a firm foundation and practice of yama and niyama which is crucial for developing a strong character. Among the qualities put forth as being of paramount importance are discipline, faith, tenacity as well as perseverance which will help individual to carry out their practices regularly without being interrupted. It is here that the author gives the readers caution on where not to carryout Yoga for instance after three months of pregnancy and no asana should be done within the first month of delivery. There is also a section under this part that the author addresses various techniques and effects of asanas. The last part of the book is part 3. This section entails hints and cautions. Similarly there are set of qualification for fitness. Among the issues to be mastered is asana as well as the strength and discipline. Lastly this part gives description of techniques and effects of paranayama.
Purpose and theme of the book
The purpose of the book in includes providing guidance to those individuals who are interested in doing Yoga. Additionally, it goes without saying that the book is also helpful for those teachers who teach Yoga lessons. The myriad of pictures with explanation makes it possible for both the teachers as well as students to quickly see what is going through and needs to be done. A thorough scan of the book will leave one with no doubt that the theme of the book is to bring to light body exercises that will help individual lead a healthy life style free from health complications. For instance majority of the asanas in one way or the other help relieve pain from the body as well as enhancing blood flow, curb issues related to fatigue, digestion among others. All these are accomplished without taking any medicines.
Reflection and comments
The author managed to provide readers with clear as well as applicable instructions for all the kinds of asanas one has been taught in class or would like to practice on their own. It is no doubt that all the postures cater for each and every individual in one way or another. More importantly, the language used in bringing forth the ideas is simple and straightforward. Lastly the illustration supported by the pictures of Iyengar makes things even more interesting and practical. I would recommend this book for every one interested in learning about various asanas. Similarly teachers of Yoga who have not laid their hands on this book are missing something and are exercising their students unjustly.