Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (BKS) Iyengar - BKS Iyengar (1918 – 2014)
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (BKS) Iyengar was a pioneering yoga teacher or ‘yogacharya’ credited with establishing and popularizing modern yoga in India and across the world. He created a unique school of yoga popularly known as ‘Iyengar Yoga’ and authored several books on yoga practice and philosophy which are considered authoritative texts used by practitioners, young and old.
Iyengar was born on December 14, 1918 and survived malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis in his childhood. At 16, he was introduced to yoga by his Guru T. Krishnamacharya but soon after he was asked to leave for Pune to teach yoga. It is only due to his own dedication that he achieved perfection in yoga asanas.
The BKS Iyengar Family
In 1943, he married Ramamani, 16 who went on to mother five daughters namely Geeta, Vinita, Suchita, Sunita and Savitha and one son Prashant. His eldest daughter and son are now the torch bearers of Iyengar Yoga after his death in 2014.
BKS Iyengar Introduced Yoga to the West
Iyengar had been a yoga teacher to many eminent personalities including statesmen, physicians and industrialists. His practice and teachings were appreciated by all – from the Queen to the President and the Pope. In 1952, his meeting with the violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin was a turning point in Iyengar’s life. Intellectuals such as Menuhin and author Aldous Huxley were responsible in introducing Iyengar to the global community which helped Iyengar take his yoga to the West.
The Teachings of BKS Iyengar
BKS Iyengar was arguably the first person to train students in large groups and teach the highest aspects of yoga – the soul searching ‘Atma Darshan’ through asanas. He laid a great emphasis on precision and alignment, performing and breaking barriers that can bring about a transformation in thought and habits. He is the only person to. In 1975, Iyergar founded the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India – named after his wife – supported by his daughter Geeta and son Prashant, who manage the institute. In 1998, he taught 800 of his students for a week on the occasion of his 80th birthday in his institute in Pune. Again, in the year 2000, he conducted a special course for senior "Iyengar Yoga" teachers from nearly 40 countries.
The Yoga Practice of BKS Iyengar
Till the last breath of his life, Iyengar continued to practice Yoga. As a yogi, he was an artist at work and always at ease in any posture, for precision with beauty was the hallmark of his asana. He showed the world how the regular practice of yoga can integrate the body, mind and emotions. BKS Iyengar passed away at the age of 95 in Pune on August 20, 2014.
Top 10 Books About BKS Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar’s teachings were first published in 1966 as Light on Yoga, which has been translated into 18 languages. He went on to author 14 books and numerous others that were written by his disciples.
Yoga: The Iyengar Way
Iyengar: The Yoga Master
Iyengar Yoga: Wisdom and Practice
BKS Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health
Iyengar Yoga for Beginners: An Introduction to Classic Poses
Iyengar Yoga: Classic Yoga Postures for Mind, Body and Spirit
How to Use Yoga: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Iyengar Method
Where Are My Ankles? How Iyengar Yoga Rescued Me from Stress
Core of the Yoga Sutras: The Definitive Guide to the Philosophy of Yoga
Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, And Ultimate Freedom
BKS Iyengar was honored with some of India’s highest civilian awards – Padma Shri in 1991, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2014 in recognition of his commitment to spreading knowledge of Indian culture and tradition – especially the wisdom of the yoga sutras – globally.