10 years ago, during the ISHTA yoga teaching training, I read my first yoga book, Light on Yoga by B K S Iyengar. Several years ago I read his later life book Light on Life. They are both underlined and studied, referred to often for teaching yoga classes. Today, when I heard of his death at 96, I grabbed Light on Life and turned to this underlined section.
The practice of asana (yoga postures) clears the inner channels for prana to move freely and uninterruptedly…. Asana and pranayama (yogic breathing) practice removes the partition that segregates body and mind. Together they dispel darkness and ignorance. …. Asana breaks the rigidity and hardness of the inner body. This allows the unrhythmic breath to become rhythmic, deep, slow, and soothing. Then pranayama clears and soothes the feverish brain, making way for reason and clarity of thought and lifting the mind toward meditation.
The sustained practice of pranayama liberates one from fear, including even the fear of death. If there is anxiety in the body, the brain contracts. When the brain relaxes and empties itself, it lets go of its fears and desires. It dwells neither on the past, nor the future, but inhabits present. Freedom is about dropping the shackles of fear and desire. When freedom comes, there is no anxiety, no nervousness. -Light on Life by Iyengar
Thank you to a life devoted to teaching so many how to be free.