The Yoga St. Louis course syllabus is taught following the methods of B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India, as outlined in the following texts. Note that the details of the poses, as taught in class, are not the focus of these books in general publication.
The following texts, if not available at the Yoga St. Louis studio, may be purchased along with many other Iyengar-authored books online at Tools for Yoga.net.
Yoga in Action for Beginners: Preliminary Course, Geeta S. Iyengar, Mumbai: YOG, 2000.
The Yoga St. Louis Intro syllabus is based on this text, the most important text for new students.
It is an illustrated 120 page expanded home practice guide to the RIMYI Introductory Syllabus covering 49 poses with appropriate intermediate stages. The invaluable introductory and concluding remarks provide an overview of how each group of poses fits into the whole. Available at the Yoga St. Louis studio for $20 including tax.
An illustrated 120 page home practice guide to the RIMYI Intermediate syllabus covering 53 asanas and 8 pranayamas with appropriate intermediate stages. Available at the Yoga St. Louis studio for $20 including tax.
Classic text includes all the poses, philosophy, extended course outline, inversions, and the therapeutic programs.
Details of 23 fundamental asanas, 25 additional prop-modified poses, beginners course, and over 80 illustrated prop-modified sequences for ailments that set the standard for therapeutic yoga.
Yoga: A Gem For Women, Geeta S. Iyengar, Spokane: Timeless Books, 1983
Program for beginners, and also men, use of wall ropes, and recommendations for pregnancy and menstrual problems. Available at the Yoga St. Louis studio for $20 including tax.
The most complete text on the subject. It places practice in the context of Ayurveda, the four stages of life, and astanga yoga. Includes detailed instructions and benefits, for both beginners and advanced prenatal students separately, of the important asanas and pranayamas in the Preliminary Course, that cannot be found in any other text.
Graphically shows how to vary practice with sequences prior to pregnancy, for each trimester, birthing, and for each month post-partum.
Includes use of simple props as well as the Trestler and Wall Ropes for various conditions; and a chapter on anatomy and physiology of pregnancy from both the Ayurvedic and Western viewpoints.
The following texts, authored by senior Iyengar Yoga practitioners primarily address specific applications of yoga.
Illustrates over 150 adaptations that make even advanced poses doable using a backless chair for support; a blanket, brick, belt, and / or a bolster are occasionally employed.
The title is based on yoga practice as an experiment in refining consciousness based on one’s own experience, as opposed to a system of religious beliefs. The 60 page introduction includes a description of yogic and Ayurvedic principles, tips on learning and teaching, and the precepts of safe practice.
B.K.S. Iyengar, who wrote the foreword one month before his death at age 95, stated that this book shows how “props… can be used to better one’s practice” and “provide the right sense of direction” even “in old age.”
Geeta S. Iyengar’s Guide to a Woman’s Yoga Practice, Vol. 1, Lois Steinberg, PhD, Urbana,IL: Parvati Productions, 2006
Text focuses on how to practice according to the phase of the menstrual cycle: ovulation, flow, pre- and post-menstrual phases.
Hundreds of photos illustrate correct prop setups and adjustments for menstruation — normal flow, heavy flow, light flow, extended duration, short cycles. Includes an 85 page case study of student using six different sequences for her multiple problems.
Copiously illustrated manual of how to modify 80 introductory and intermediate poses for upper body misalignments. Teachers will appreciate how the props, invented by B.K.S. Iyengar, are used.
Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis, A Journey to Health and Healing, Loren M. Fishman, MD, & Eric L. Small, New York: Demos Medical Publishing, 2007. $14.95
Eric Small, diagnosed with MS in 1952, began practicing yoga in the 1960’s and studying with B.K.S. Iyengar in 1976. His Adaptive Iyengar Yoga program has been adopted nationally the by the MS Society, as well as, UCLA.
This volume illustrates how to adapt the poses for chair and wheelchair-bound students, as well as ambulatory students of all levels. How the poses work to improve range of motion, reduce spasticity, and improve strength, coordination and balance is explained from the physiological model, as well as from the yogic perspective. It is an eloquent testimonial to the power of yoga to provide hope and healing.
Yoga for Children, A Complete Illustrated Guide to Yoga, Rajiv & Swati Chanchani, New Delhi: UBS Publishers, 1995
Simple instructions that can be read independently by children from second grade on (with adult help to explain the illustrated stories that describe the poses and Yoga Sutras).
A Light on Yoga for children, photos of their two young sons and several adolescent girls illustrate the beginning and intermediate (not easy!) poses. Foreword by B.K.S. Iyengar and articles on teaching children by Geeta Iyengar.
Light on Astanga Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar, New Delhi: Alchemy Publ., rev. 2008
This is a good companion to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Unconstrained by Patanjali’s format, the first half of the book is grouped by topic, such as obstacles in practice, with detailed examples, analogies and sketches. The second part applies these principles to the relatively brief 29 sutras that comprise Astanga Yoga.
Light on Life, BKS Iyengar, Emmaus: Rodale, 2005
The most complete and easiest to understand explication of the Iyengar approach to practice and teaching. His explanations use the common analogies that he responds with when answering student questions. Available at the Yoga St. Louis studio for $20 including tax.
Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, BKS Iyengar, San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1993
Composed in the 2nd c. B.C.E., this is the first systematic treatise to define the most important elements of yoga theory and practice.
Interpretation with commentary — including expositions on certain key phrases and words that are in no other translations — that apply the Sutras to practice and teaching.
Core of the Yoga Sutras: the Definitive Guide to the Philosophy of Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar, London: HarperThorsons, 2012.
Organized into fifteen themes, this commentary “restrings” the Sutras by topic, such as purusha and prakrti, and the characteristics and effects of Astanga Yoga. He reconciles Patanjali’s dualism with his ancestral lineage, Ramanuja’s qualified monism of Vishista Advaita Vedanta.
It elaborates on some of the key ideas in Light on Astanga Yoga and Yaugika Manas that were derived from his public addresses (see below), and requires an in depth understanding of Sanskrit terms used in the Sutras.
Sparks of Divinity: The Teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar from 1959 to 1975, B.K.S. Iyengar, Berkeley: Rodmell Press, [rev.] 2012.
Philosophical quotes from classes, stories, and correspondence from the journal of Noelle Perez-Christiaens, one of Iyengar’s first Western pupils.
It includes excerpts from Iyengar: a Hindu Mystic Drunk on God, Noëlle’s 1976 biography of Iyengar, and photos of the young Iyengar family.
This text focuses on how the dual manas, mind, becomes polluted, and how to purify it through yoga.
B.K.S. Iyengar shows how astanga yoga is inherent in, and covers all aspects of, sadhana in the Yoga Sutras, from gross to subtle. He links various Yoga Sutras, supported by quotes from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanisads, Ramanuja, Vaisesika, Vedanta, and Ayurveda.
Elaborating on Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a prerequisite, he explains how yoga philosophy gives depth to practice, and how practice reveals the depth of yogic philosophy. The volume is well referenced with copious use of transliterated Sanskrit, a five page glossary of terms, 15 tables, and several illustrations. It’s key points were subsequently integrated into Core of the Yoga Sutras.
Chitta-vijnana, consciousness-knowledge, conveys that yoga practice has the capacity to benefit consciousness — mind, ego, intellect — beyond just the gross physical aspects of health. As such, asana practice allows the practitioner to experience the non-dual state of being without the imposition of caste, creed, gender, or status.
Addresses asana in the context of kriya and the nature of action, mudra, meditation, mantra, prana, the five elements, and the trigunas.
Patanjala Yogasutra, Chanted by Pandit Sri S.T. Nagaraj, Pune: RIMYI
Introduction by B.K.S. Iyengar and Patanjali lecture by Geeta Iyengar. Learn to chant the Yoga Sutras following the best articulated recitation I’ve heard. (4 CD set and booklet)
There are many other texts similar to these available from IYNAUS, such as:
A fully indexed compilation of lectures, articles, and interview transcripts on all facets of practice and philosophy that explains the thinking behind the Iyengar method of yoga.
Yoga Rahasya, Dr. Rajvi H. Mehta, ed., Mumbai: RIMYI and the Light on Yoga Research Trust
Highly recommended quarterly publication with articles by B.K.S., Geeta and Prashant Iyengar about medical yoga, yoga philosophy, and detailed explanations of highlighted poses, as taught in class. Available by subscription from IYNAUS.