Homage to B.K.S Iyengar

Homage to B.K.S Iyengar, without whom we may never have seen the practice of Yoga become the worldwide activity it is. Mr Iyengar holds in his living hands the experience of learning from his relatives and passing on the spirit of dynamic Yoga practice. I bow to him.

Light On Yoga Natarajasana
Light On Yoga Natarajasana

Reaching the end of my first teaching year, and those students who’ve joined my classes over the 13 weeks may want something to study during the festering season. Cannot recommend enough the text “Light on Yoga”, a book which took several rewrites to become publishable, and ushered in the era of Eastern Yoga reaching Western audiences. Everything is here within the book.

My tribute has been to write the whole of Iyengars classification of postures/ asanas into a dictionary for 2 reasons:-

Sanskrit- English translations and commonly used names.

Grading- Iyengars difficulty ratings, from 1- 60 Easiest to most difficult.

The purpose of this document is to elucidate Iyengars classification of every Yogasana and also match the Sanskrit to English to give us a ready reckoner of some 207 postures found in “Light On Yoga”. B.K.S Iyengar

Interesting to note that the classification below was devised for general use and teaching by Iyengar when the science of yoga first came to the western world in 1960’s. In recent years since late 1990’s the influence of Pattabhi Jois revitalised Astanga Vinyasa as the dominant form of teaching in the west, complementing the era’s propensity to demand dynamic faster aerobic exercise style classes. Many gym’s and other institutions predominant class structure is based around versions of ‘power’ or ‘dynamic’ yoga sometimes at the same time as the Bikram emphasis on heated rooms or studios. Iyengar developed this according to his own/ Indian abilities, therefore placing some postures of great difficulty to westerners in a lower classification of his own, for example full lotus posture.

I offer you the first 5  which will have featured in my teaching this Autumn. With recent photos of me in Natarajasana 58, and Iyengar in the King Dancer, dedicated to Shiva, who is also the fountain and source of Yoga.

1. Savasana-corpse

Tadasana/ samasthitih –mountain



Virabhadrasana 2- warrior 2



Chaturanga dandasana-supported plank


Urdhva Mukha Svanasana- upward facing dog


Simhasana 1-lion

Purvottanasana-intense front stretch

Karnapidasana-ear pressure H.S.S

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana-extended upright feet

Bharadvajasana 1- sage bharadvaja


2. Utkatasana-fierce seat

Ardha navasana-half boat

Paripurna navasana-complete boat

Dandasana- staff

Gomukasana-cow face

Supta Virasana-reclined hero


Salamba Sarvangasana 1, 2 , 3 – supported shoulder standing var. H.S.S

Supta Konasana- reclined angle H.S.S



Light On Yoga Natarajasana
Light On Yoga Natarajasana

Noticeable Sequences. Found in clusters alongside postures in sequence in bold. The following with their difficulty rated before their abbreviated code. Iyengar groups these postures together in close similarity sequence- my own sequences also always contain the entry and exit from these groups in a class context. Difficulties quoted would also have to be linked with appropriate class abilities.

Halasana Salamba Sarvangasana 3-11– H.S.S

Salamba Sirsasana 4-12– S.S

3. Uttitha trikonasana- extended triangle

Virabhadrasana- warrior var.1

Ustrasana- camel

Padangusthasana-big toe

Baddha konasana- bound angle

Ubhaya Padangusthasana- both big toes

Salamba Sarvangasana- shoulder standing pose var. H.S.S

Niralamba Sarvangasana-  free shoulder standing pose H.S.S


4. Uttitha Parsvakonasana-extended side angle

Parvritta Parsvakonasana-revolved side angle

Prasarita Padottasana var.-spread leg intense stretch

Prasarita Padottasana- var.- spread leg intense stretch namaste


Bhekasana- frog

Halasana-plough H.S.S

Makarasana- locust head hold

Dhanurasana- Bow

Parsva Dhanurasana- side bow

Urdhva Padmasana in sarvangasana- inverted lotus in shoulder stand H.S.S


Dwi hasta bhujasana-both arms hand balance

Padmasana- lotus

Sanmukhi mudra- closed mudra

Parvatasana- seated mountain

Tolasana- scale

Salamba sirsasana 1 var.- supported headstand S.S

Baddha hasta sirsasana- bound hand supported headstand S.S

Parsva halasana- lateral plough H.S.S


5. Parivritta Trikonasana-revolved triangle

Virabhadrasana- warrior var.3

Ardha chandrasana-half moon

Adho Mukha svanasana- downward facing dog


Maha mudra-closed bandhas

Janu Sirsasana-head to knee (prep for Paschimottasana-)

Triang mukhasikapada Paschimottasana-one legged forward fold (prep for Paschimottasana-whole back stretch)

Marichyasana-sage twist (prep for Paschimottasana)

Salamba sirsasana- var-supported headstand S.S

Eka pada sarvangasana-one legged shoulder stand H.S.S

Pindasana in sarvangasana-inverted embryo H.S.S

Jathara parivartanasana-both legs turning

Eka hasta bhujasana-one armed hand balance



Jason 11/12/13
Jason 11/12/13

my last class of the year will be at Sir David English Centre 17th December. 8 P.M

be happy you can practice, the practice will make you happy

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