GURU OF MODERN YOGA – B.K.S IYENGAR
B. K. S. Iyengar, or Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, founded the style of yoga known as “Iyengar Yoga” and was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world.
Born on December 14, 1918 at Bellur in Karnataka. With the encouragement of Krishnamacharya, Iyengar aged 18, he came to Pune in Maharashtra in 1937 to teach yoga. He spent many hours each day learning and experimenting with various techniques. And after spreading knowledge of yoga, set up his own ‘Yogavidya’ institute in 1975 which later expanded in various branches across the country and abroad.
He taught yoga to several noted personalities including Jiddu Krishnamurti, Jayaprakash Narayan and Yehudi Menuhin. He taught sirsasana (head stand) to Elisabeth, Queen of Belgium when she was 80.
“Iyengar who had written several books on Yoga was instrumental in enlightening people that Yoga was not just a form of exercise, but a scientific method of maintaining both physical and mental health.
Iyengar published his first book (Light on Yoga) in 1966. The book has been translated into 17 languages and sold 3 million copies.
1966 – Light on Yoga.
1989 – Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing.
1985 – The Art of Yoga.
1988 – The Tree of Yoga.
1996 – Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. London
2005 – Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom.
2007 – Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health.
2000–2008 – 8 Vols of, Astadala Yogamala
2009 – Yoga Wisdom and Practice
2010 – Yaugika Manas: Know and Realize the Yogic Mind.
2012 – Core of the Yoga Sutras: The Definitive Guide to the Philosophy of Yoga.
Iyengar was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2014.
In 2004, Iyengar was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
The below questions and answers come from the useful interview by CNN/Asia.
Q: Have you ever thought about where you would be if you didn’t have yoga in your life?
Iyengar: Probably, I would have died long ago. I would not have lived.
Q: Why do you think that?
Iyengar: Because I was suffering from tuberculosis. Even the insurance company, doctors knew that I would not, I would not survive long. Then I was 25 years old [sic – he was 15].
Now I’m reaching 90, so yoga has given me a bonus life of 75 years, how happy I am! (laughs).
Iyengar was 95 at his demise due to heart and kidney problems on Wednesday 20th 2014 in Pune, India. He say’s that “I will still practice ’till the last breath of my life so that I do not become a servant of the mind, but rather the master of the mind”.
He always tell people,
“live happily and die majestically”.