6 Great Iyengar Books for your Bookshelf

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photo credit jonas jacobsson

Whether you’re an Iyengar fanatic or not, if you love yoga then there are a few Iyengar books you need on your bookshelf. Now!

BKS Iyengar and his family have dedicated their lives to the study, practice & sharing of yoga. Take a dip in to these six books and get yourself some yoga learning.

Light on Yoga – BKS Iyengar

The yoga text book of the Gods! If this isn’t on your teaching training book list you probably need to find out why. This. Instant!

Amazing to think that it was first published in 1966 and yet it is still one of the most popular and relevant yoga texts. I bought my copy many years ago when I started teaching and refer to it regularly!

Filled with photographs of a young Mr Iyengar in the yoga poses. Each photographed pose is accompanied by a breakdown of the pose’s sanskrit meaning, a detailed, step by step description of the pose technique and a conclusion describing the effects of the pose.

There are also separate chapters discussing bandhas, pranayama & therapies along with other aspects of yoga. I review Light on Yoga in more detail here.


It’s amazing to think that Light on Yoga was first published in 1966

The Tree of Yoga – BKS Iyengar

If you are keen to understand yoga in all its depth then this is a book for you. Not an asana book but a study of the whole of yoga philosophy in the words of Mr Iyengar.

It is a small book of small chapters but it packs a punch with its meaning and insight. Yoga is a vast topic but this book manages to break down and explore those topics with clarity in just a few pages.

It’s the kind of book that you can dip in and out of and use as reference. I love those sort of books!

The Tree of Yoga is broken down into five parts exploring the following:

Part 1 – yoga & life. Covering aspects of love, family, faith & death

Part 2 – the tree of yoga. How the elements of the tree symbolize the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Part 3 – yoga & health. The health benefits we are all familiar with

Part 4 – self & its journey. Spiritual journey and the growth of the yoga student

Part 5 – yoga in the world – the art of yoga and the role of the teacher

Scattered Iyengar yoga books with cup of herbal tea

Light on Life – BKS Iyengar

 Mr Iyengar incorporates his yoga journey and personal anecdotes in the pages of this fascinating exploration of yoga.

Focusing on his own experiences and discussing the role of yoga and how it can improve our lives for the better. Delve in for a clearer understanding of the yoga journey.

I’ve also found this book to be a great help from a teaching perspective. Many of the quotes and passages are a great inspiration.

“Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal”

Iyengar books are great resources for the yoga practitioners and yoga teachers

YOGA – The Path to Holistic Health – BKS Iyengar

If you’re a yogi you’ll love this book. If you’re a yoga teacher you’ll need this book.

This is one Iyengar book that is more of a manual than a yoga text (although there is a section on yoga philosophy). This is a great book describing poses and sequences using the props that Iyengar yoga is synonymous with.

If you are a visual person like me you will find this book to be worth it’s weight in gold. (And that’s a lot because this book is heavy!)

Individual poses are broken down in to there sanskrit meanings, instructions on the one and necessary cautions.

There is a large chapter on the topic of ‘yoga for stress’ which also incorporates a number of restorative yoga poses.

The chapter ‘yoga for ailments’ incorporates pages of yoga sequences to address specific ailments and conditions.

Soooooo useful. Don’t underestimate its value for your class planning and yoga teaching career.

BKS Iyengar isn’t the only family member publishing books

Yoga, A Gem for Women – Geeta S. Iyengar

Ok, so not by BKS but, nevertheless, an invaluable book for practitioners and teachers alike which is why I’m including it in this list of Iyengar books.

Written by BKS Iyengar’s daughter, Geeta, this is the classic yoga book for women.

Wherever you are on your female journey, Geeta discusses the milestones in a woman’s life – menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Separate chapters are dedicated to the poses, breathing techniques and meditation to support a woman through these milestones.

Another great book for teachers as there are lots of variations and special instructions for using props and adapting poses for all levels of practitioner.

Iyengar The Yoga Master – Kofi Busia

Although not strictly an Iyengar authored book, this is a collection of stories, anecdotes and essays about BKS Iyengar written by yoga practitioners.

I only recently came across this book and have loved reading the stories of the many yoga teachers and yogis who have contributed.

I always enjoy reading about the experiences of others. It is fascinating to learn from the different perspectives of other people.

This is not a complete list of all of the published Iyengar books available but if you haven’t yet got yourself a copy beg, buy or borrow a copy now for a dose of pure yogic wisdom.

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