10 Inspiring Truths about Your Body from a Yoga Legend

Renowned yoga guru, Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (BKS) Iyengar died today, at the age of 95. While countless teachers undoubtedly played a role in ushering yogic traditions from their Eastern roots to the West, Iyengar is the most well-known.

After suffering through a host of ailments in his younger years–typhoid, influenza, tuberculosis, and malaria–Iyengar turned to yoga for healing. He developed his own practice, marked by a focus on body alignment and the use of props such as blocks and straps, and began teaching students around the world. Iyengar was yoga’s great translator, synthesizing some of the more mysterious spiritual elements of the practice with physical poses (asanas).

In honor of Iyengar and his quest for communion between mind, body and spirit, here are 10 quotes about the human body from his book “Light on Life.” May you hold these truths in your hearts and minds as you navigate a world peppered by messages about how you “should” look.

  • “It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”
  • “Do not look at others’ bodies with envy or with superiority. All people are born with different constitutions. Never compare with others. Each one’s own capacities are a function of his or her internal strength. Know your capacities and continually improve upon them.”
  • “It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self and intelligence.”
  • “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the souls open.”
  • “We must create a marriage between the awareness of the body and that of the mind. When two parties do not cooperate, there is unhappiness on both sides.”
  • “The physical body is not only a temple for our souls, but the means by which we embark on the inward journey toward the core.”
  • “Anything physical is always changing, therefore, its reality is not constant, not eternal.”
  • “You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind and souls.”
  • “As we explore the soul, it is important to remember that this exploration will take place within nature (the body), for that is where and what we are.”
  • “There is no difference in souls, only the ideas about ourselves that we wear.”

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Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynik3 years ago

Inspiring! Thanks for sharing)

Christian Rocklein
Land Lost3 years ago

On one level, body and the world we live in are one, and made up of the same perception. But balancing and harmonizing the body as much as possible is of great mental and physical benefit. Still, the body will perish, as it is programmed to do, as all things are programmed to do. In the final analysis, body exists within the mind, and not the other way around. The world exists within 'the mind'. To witness the world and one's own body is to witness none other than 'the mind'. This mind brings us into existence and carries us out in the same way the moon goes through a 30-day cycle. Or in the same way morning becomes noon which becomes evening and then night. Or in the same way the 4 seasons pass. We are not separate from nature's mind. We have never been. How could we be separate when it is the foundation of our existence?

Nowadays my main form of exercise is tennis. But I have done hatha yoga before and always have found it relaxing, strengthening and finally balancing. Tai'Qi has a similar effect. Balancing of the body does have a profound effect on the mind, since originally the body is within the mind. Iyengar's name has always been nearly synonymous with that of Hatha yoga. In earlier days I used his books to try to teach myself Hatha yoga, and have always regarded him as one of the true teachers of the practice. Sorry for waxing philosophical. I should do more yoga. Thank you for the article. Balanced body, balanced mind.

Kimmy H.
Kimmy H3 years ago

Very interesting! Thank you!

Beverly C.
Beverly C3 years ago

True and Inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

Sean Charris
Sean Charis3 years ago

I am sure that whatever you do for or against your body, one day, it will give it back to you.
Bks Iyengar was a great Master. Rip.

Colin Hope
Colin Hope3 years ago

Thanks for sharing!!

john pierce
John Pierce3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Mona M.
Mona M3 years ago

am always amazed to hear people wanting to "travel" out of their body when they don't even know how to live within their body.

Gloria picchetti
Gloria p3 years ago