Sparks of Divinity is a collection of the teachings of yoga master B. K. S. Iyengar first published in a French-English bilingual edition in 1976. The material for this book was gathered and compiled by Noëlle Perez-Christiaens from class notes and correspondence during the formative years of Iyengar’s international career. The entries cover the period from the late 1950s, when Iyengar was invited by Yehudi Menuin to teach in Gstaad, Switzerland, to the year following the death of Iyengar’s wife and the opening of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India.
When Noëlle first studied with Iyengar in Pune in 1959, Iyengar was still teaching his pupils one-on-one at his home. During her stay in India, Noëlle was regarded virtually as one of the household, and this intimacy continued in their subsequent letters, where Iyengar wrote to her more as a colleague and friend than as a teacher. We are fortunate to include Noëlle’s Indian Journal for 1959 and her Early Life of B. K. S. Iyengar, translated into English especially for this edition, for the intimate glimpses they give of Iyengar’s personal life and family.
Sparks of Divinity is also a testament to the deep bond between teacher and student. In an afterword about Noëlle, we learn how an early suggestion from Iyengar moved her in a completely new direction, and how she attributes her discoveries about Aplomb (natural balance) to Iyengar’s ongoing inspiration.
“Born in 1925, Noëlle Perez-Christiaens was one of the first Westerners to study with B. K. S. Iyengar in Pune. Inspired by Iyengar’s teaching, she searched for the principles of natural balance by observing the posture and movement of indigenous people around the world, and shared her discoveries under the name of Aplomb as a basis for the practice of yoga as well as for everyday life. Altogether she has published twenty-seven books on yoga and Aplomb. In 2008, Noëlle received the degree of Doctor of Ethnophysiology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris for her work on Aplomb.”