Tree of Life – finally read it!

Anyone who intends to immerse themselves deeper into yoga practice should take a read of the late guru, BKS Iyengar’s wisdom contained in “The Tree of Life”. While a recommended yoga teacher training course (YTTC), there was so much to learn at that time, so unfortunately Iyengar’s texts took a back seat. Because my YTTC at Manasa Yoga School was pretty comprehensive, I don’t think I missed out so much as a young teacher trainee. But this was the perfect time to read this book.

Generally, Iyengar writes from the heart and he, in his typical fashion, does not mince his words. His advice is practical and to the point and he puts the yoga sutras in such practical context that the wisdom is beyond worth!

Having recently immersed myself in Ashtanga Vinyasa mat practice, for me Part Two, “The Tree and Its Parts” was fascinating. Iyengar discusses the ashta anga (eight limbs) of yoga -the yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, diyana and samadhi – in depth. He links them to the practice, to the asanas, to the body, to breathing and to life. It really is worth the read.

Iyengar also discusses how disintegration of yoga occurs when we call it physical yoga, mental yoga, spiritual yoga etc. This is also what guru Manoj Khaimal discusses at Manasa Yoga School. Yoga is an integrated process, whether we are in a shape of an asana on the mat, or sitting with our eyes closed, or driving to work in a traffic jam. Everything can be yoga, not just Warrior 2 on a Manduka mat.

When everything is one – when you reach a state of perfect union between your body, your mind and your soul – then you forget your body, you forget your breath and you forget your intelligence.

Iyengar also throws in little nuggets of lore from the Puranas to make the reading more interesting. If you haven’t read this book yet, it’s time to pick it up!