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Light On Life

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

“A thriving learning community begins through conversation giving value to unique approaches to literature.”

The words from Nathaniel Petrich’s words in his research, Conversations Inspiring Community, speaks to an important part of human connection that we have lost a sense of from the pandemic that began in 2020.


Conversing. Conversations. Actual Talking.

And from that conversation…

Growth. Learning. Sharing an experience of perspective.

During the spring and summer of 2020 a few members of our YC community and I shared a small book club that met bi-weekly outdoors and read/discussed several amazing books. We focused on books that were based in yogic philosophy and had such wonderful & productive discussions. I really believe it was part of a shift in the direction of the studio focus and vision.

Not only does the reading and intake of information from a new source increase our personal knowledge, but when we sit down and engage with others in question/answer or discussion time, we are encouraged to dive deeper and expand our learning experience. We have the opportunity to hear other perspectives, to develop new and more engaging relationships, and expand healthy and effective communication techniques.


Why not engage, grow and deepen our community connection with a shared experience of reading and discussing together???

The Book:

Light on Life by BKS Inyengar

Yoga is about more than moving and flowing through postures and transitions and stepping out of the studio feeling “good’.

“ Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit the broken pieces together”

--excerpt from Light on Life

What are some of the reasons you first started practicing?

a workout? stress relief? injury rehabilitation? to increase flexibility?

Was there a point where that changed for you?

How do you see your practice evolving from where it is now?

What is something that has surprised you about practicing yoga?



T H E P L A N:

Committing to another "thing" on the calendar is challenging for a lot of us right now--and not just because we don't "have time"--but it can feel mentally challenging to look at a calendar that is already full and fit something else in. So we will start our book club series with a little less pressure!! You can comment, join in and have your study time from your own space!

  1. Read a specified section or selection over a period of time and then engage in an online book club discussion – here on our YC Blog!!! You will be able to participate by simply adding replies, comments, and answers to questions right on the Blog!

  2. We will have some short “get the chat moving” questions to get us started–answer/reply when something you read jumps out.

  3. Add to the “discussion” with any other comments, thoughts, or reflections that seem to make sense and let’s see where it goes and what else we can see!

This doesn’t have to be a major commitment on your part. The book is great–I encourage everyone to read it (probably more than once!)! Just like any book, you will find areas that are relevant to your life now, and then perhaps some that won't appear until you read it down the road for a second time! We’ll chat about the book before classes too–after classes–and I imagine a lot of our teaching staff will begin to pull some of these ideas, thoughts and reflections out in classes too. So there will be lots of ways to integrate.




Week 1: Preface/Introduction and Chapter 1--The Inward Journey

Tell us about your yoga journey: how it began, how it has evolved, where you see it heading, what's missing

Questions to reflect on from Chapter 1:

1. Can you share an example of a feeling or emotion you may have experienced when your body layers or sheaths (called kosas--pronounced ko-sha) have been out of alignment?

2. Under the section titled "The Eight Petals of Yoga", Iyengar discusses some of the incremental experiences we might begin to discover on our way to "ultimate freedom"--what are some of the experiences you have uncovered in your own practice--share a bit about them.

3. How would you differentiate "mindfulness" from "meditation" (read the 8 Petals section, topic of dhyana)?

4. Please share any thoughts on "Learning to Live in the Natural World" section.

Week 2: Chapter 2--Stability--The Physical Body (Asana)

Week 3: Chapter 3--Vitality--The Energy Body (Prana)

Week 4: Chapter 4--Clarity--The Mental Body (Manas)

Week 5: Chapter 5--Wisdom--The Intellectual Body (Vijnana)

Week 6: Chapter 6--Bliss--The Divine Body (Ananda)

Week 7: Chapter 7--Living in Freedom; Conclusions



Allie J
Allie J
Feb 25, 2022

Happy Friday Friends! This week has been a roller coaster of thoughts and feelings for me but I have found myself coming back to this book, my notes, and grounding myself with the help of Iyengar's thoughts on Asana and my own physical practice. I have thought a lot about the importance of the type of practice we have. When we go to classes (or some of us teach classes) there is normally a specific style that is followed in how the class is structured and the asanas. Two ends of the spectrum are a Hot Vinyasa style class and a Yin class. When thinking about these classes in regards to how Iyengar describes how we fully come to …


So I love how Iyenagar says in learning to live in the natural world.... “We begin this involution (inner quest for growth, defined as “spiraling in on itself” - Miriam Webster Dictionary) with what is most tangible, our physical body, and the yogasana practice helps us to understand and learn how to play this magical instrument that each of us has been given”. I feel like he is granting permission for all of us to start small... start with the asana, the movement.... let it work it magic, peeling back those layers, spiraling inwards to start uncovering and showing how the divine is actually within ourselves... and as those layers start to unfold and become clearer, we will have…

Allie J
Allie J
Feb 13, 2022
Replying to

I loved the part when he said learn a little then learn a little more. It’s so true! As I gather information I begin to see how it all layers together into that bigger picture. Or maybe that’s the spiral 😉


Feb 12, 2022

When reading under the 8 petals of yoga I realize I tend to forget about five of the petals often. I have a heavy focus on asana, pratyahara (sensory withdrawal), dharanaa (concentration) and pranayama in my daily life but I tend to reflect on yamas, Niyamas, dhyana, and samadhi less.

some have touched in meditation vs mindfulness already and I lean on moments of mindfulness rather than meditation for similar reasons. In modern day life, it would take 100% dedication and total withdrawal from normal life to achieve samadhi. Which is why I don’t tend to reflect upon this petal of yoga. However I do keep a meditation journal and record all of my practices and how I felt…


ashley tarver
ashley tarver
Feb 12, 2022

Good morning, everyone :)

I read this book a few years ago, and the part that stuck out then (and now) in Chapter 1 is on page 12:

"Pranayama is not performed by the power of will. The breath must be enticed or cajoled, like

catching a horse in a field, not chasing after it, but by standing still with an apple in one's hand...

Nothing can be forced. Receptivity is everything."

I love the illustrative example of the horse. It speaks to a kind of effortless effort.

Many times, my breath seems to become forced throughout my practice when I become winded through exertion. Sometimes, I feel like I'm just chasing after my breath (the horse) instead of channeling…

Replying to

Yes—the layers—sort of also relating to Nicole’s thoughts on the spiral. We travel back and forth through the experience of the layers and the movement along the spiral —throughout our practice, throughout our days, throughout our life (lives???)!!! Love the thought that we can observe along the way—not rush, but slow down and truly experience each space. And then take that information and move into the next experience.


Allie J
Allie J
Feb 09, 2022

Hi Everyone! I hope Chapter 1 was as thought provoking for you as it was me! I am so interesting in hearing everyone's thoughts on the questions posted on Instagram and what other ideas spoke to you in Chapter 1. For me the topic that made me sit back and think the hardest was the way in which Iyengar describes Meditation as one of the Eight Petals of Yoga. In his context of the Eight Petals of Yoga I believe it is almost impossible for me as a human living in my current life to achieve Meditation. I believe we are able to have Mindful moments or have Mindfulness in our actions but to attain the dharana or concentration…

Feb 12, 2022
Replying to

The more theory I read and reread, the deeper appreciation for the practice I have. And the more moments I have to myself Where I am mindful of my actions off the Mat, I find greater strength and connection to self on The mat if That makes sense.

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