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Eight quotes on yoga, life, and perfection by the late BKS Iyengar

Reuters/Pichi Chuang
Iyengar helped bring yoga to the masses around the world.
By Lily Kuo
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

BKS Iyengar, a yoga guru credited with introducing yoga to the rest of the world, died today. A longtime teacher and author, Iyengar’s advice on yoga and life was nearly as well-known as his yoga teaching. Here are some of the legend’s better-known quotes.

On Yoga

“Penetration of our mind is our goal, but in the beginning to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat,” he wrote in his 2006 book Light on Life.

“The material body has a practical reality that is accessible. It is here and now, and we can do something with it. However, we must not forget that the innermost part of our being is also trying to help us. It wants to come out to the surface and express itself,” he wrote in Light on Life.

“It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence,” he wrote in Light on Life.

On freedom and perfection

“Do not stop trying just because perfection eludes you,” he wrote in his book, The Path to Holistic Health.

“You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind, and soul,” he wrote in Light on Life.
BKS Iyengar

“Regarding perfection, that’s a very difficult question. I can say that I have superseded most in my sadhana [practice]. I am in it, and my mind and my intelligence gets better in my sadhana, and it reaches a certain place. When I stretch, I stretch in such a way that my awareness moves, and a gate of awareness finally opens… My body is a laboratory, you can say. I don’t stretch my body as if it is an object. I do yoga from the self towards the body, not the other way around,” Iyengar told Mint in an interview last year.

On the commercialization of yoga

“I think overall the majority of people who are practicing it as a subject are following the right line. For the aberration, don’t blame yoga or the whole community of yogis,” Iyengar told Mint in an interview last year.

“I think many of my students have followed the advice I gave years ago, to give more than you take.” He told the New York Times in 2002. “The commercialism may wash off sometime later.”

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