Light on Life: An Illuminating Exploration into the Emotional, Intellectual, and Spiritual Developmental Gifts of Yoga

Even though I personally have never practiced yoga, my sincere interest in doing so is what made me aware of the significance of seeing B.K.S. Iyengar listed as the author of the newly-released book "Light on Life: The Yogi Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom." I must admit to the fact that seeing a title that out-rightly focused on something other than the physical benefits of a yogic practice also struck an inner chord with me.

Iyengar is a man who has devoted seventy-two years of his eighty-six years of life to yoga, a path that he has whole-heartedly embraced as his true destiny. As his profound hope is that his ending can be our beginning, he wastes no time in positioning the intent of this informative and inspirational book. In the very first sentence of the Preface he declares, "If this book is to lay any claim to authenticity, it must make one point clear above all others. It is this: By persistent and sustained practice, anyone and everyone can make the yogic journey and reach the goal of illumination and freedom." As Iyengar himself states, "…Yogis realize that the divine is not more heavenward than inward and in this final quest for the soul, seekers become seers."

By embarking on such an Inward Journey, with yoga as a guiding light, Iyengar reveals how everyone can learn to increase the stability of the physical body, the vitality of the energy body, the clarity of the mental body, the wisdom of the intellectual body, and the bliss of the divine body. Words of wisdom drawn from Iyengar's own experiences are finely interwoven with everyday societal examples that reveal the steps along this pathway. However, the reader isn't simply left at the doorstep of "living in freedom," as Iyengar devotes an entire chapter to the role that power, time, the four aims of life, the four stages of life, and ethics play in such "a fusion of our individual soul with the Universal soul."

By exploring the relationship between the nature that is our own body, whose reality is NOT constant, nor eternal, and our soul, whose reality IS constant and eternal, we not only can learn to live well between the earth and the sky, but we can also learn that through the alignment of our body, we can discover the alignment of our mind, self, and intelligence. By closely examining the "five sheaths of being" and the "eight petals of yoga," Iyengar helps us to see how yoga can literally take us from thinking "I live my life" to "the Divine Breath…lives [me]."

This entire book is a balancing act in and of itself. It steers clear from merely focusing on yogic technique, yogic terminology, and the historical perspective of this ancient practice, although all are discussed in a very engaging manner. There is literally something here for every interest in and every experience level with the illuminating light that is yoga.

After reading this uplifting book, you'll either likely be highly motivated to begin traveling this pathway or deeply inspired to continue the journey that you've already begun. If you're someone who yearns to understand the concept of illumination, as well as someone who dares to dream that everyone can attain enlightenment, B.K.S. Iyengar's "Light on Life: The Yogic Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom" definitely manages to shine a bright light onto a life that so many of us yearn for today.


Donna McLaughlin Schwender is the "soul proprietor" of One-Eared Dog, Ink. As a freelance writer living in upstate New York, she can be reached at schwender@aol.com.