Himalayan Yoga Academy

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B.K.S. lyengar

13 Jul 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy

B.K.S. lyengar

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja lyengar ( B.K.S. Iyengar ) (14 December 1918-20 August 2014) was a founder of  lyengar yoga and one of the most influential yoga teachers in the world. According to him,yoga is “meditation in action”.His teaching includes all eight elements in asana practice .His yoga technique emphasizes precision ,alignment and focus on the structural alignment of physical body . It differs from other styles of yoga in three ways:precision,sequence and use of props .Through slower movement and an emphasis on quality over quantity, Iyengar yoga combines asanas(poses) and pranayama(breath) to build stamina,strength and flexibility.

Iyengar was a sickly child who sufferd from tuberculosis,typhus,malaria and malnutrition as a child. He did not do very well in school either. His life was turned around when he was 15 years old and visited the Mysore ashram of his brother in law,the yoga master T.krishnamacharya.His brother in law suggested  to practise yoga for improving health.Iyengar spent his teenage years being immersed in ashtanga yoga by T.krishnamacharya. According to Iyengar “This was to be the main turning point of my life”.At the age of eighteen krishnamacharya sent Iyengar to pune to spread the teaching of yoga.It was difficult for Iyengar to teach  because of his poor language skills.He spoke English badly and the local language ,Marathi not at all .The  yoga students were more advanced in yoga than him .Also the yoga students were older and in better condition than Iyengar.So,he practiced yoga upto 10 hours a day and his aim was to be a total yoga expert.After some years,he launched a career as independent yoga teacher . After seeing him in more settled existence,Iyengar family’s arranged his marriage to 16 -year –old-girl Ramamani and they married happily.Ramamani became a strong supporter of Iyengar’s enthusiasm for yoga . The married life was happy and long that produced six children.

Iyengar began to attract many famous Indians as students like philosopher J.krishnamurti and cardiologist Rustom Jal Vakil.Vakil’s wife introduced Iyengar to the  star American classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin.Menuhin gave him the opportunity that transformed Iyengar fron Indian yoga teacher into an International guru . Menuhin suggested that Iyengar return with him to the west and give yoga lessons in Europe and The United States.Iyengar taught yoga to Menuhin’s friend and highly visible group . Iyengar’s followers who referred to him as Guruji maintained their adherence despite his habit of physically slapping students who made errors . Some complained that his initials B.K.S could stand for beat,kick and slap.Iyengar taught Elizabeth,The octogenarian Queen of Belgium.And he did yoga demonstration for the Soviet Union’s Premier, Nikita Khrushchev . Americans interest in yoga was growing but Iyengar repelled by the Americans materialism behaviour . By that time ,he had become a well known author as well as in rest of the world.

Iyengar has written many books based on yogic practice and its philosophy including “Light on yoga”,”Light on pranayama”,”Light on yoga sutras of patanjali and many more.Iyengar yoga was one of the first schools to offer teacher training programs in San Francisco,California which was-and still is-a mojor hub of yoga in the west.

Iyengar divided his time between india and west over the later decades of his life.He established the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga institute in pune;the institute became a major yoga institute to learn Iyengar yoga.Gradually after his retiring from teaching ,Iyengar was subplanted as guru by his two children, daughter geeta and son prashant . Even in his 90’s he continued doing yoga in daily basis and was able to stand up by his head and stay in that position for half and hour.

3 october 2005 was declared as “B.K.S. Iyengar Day”by the San Fransisco Board of Supervisors.On 14 december 2014 ,he was hounoured with Google Doodle

Contribution on yoga :

  1. Creating an analytical approach to the implementation of asanas
  2. Detailing the bodily practise
  3. Replenishment of the range of exercises
  4. Standardization of the learning process
  5. Introduction of the “props”-auxillary tools
  6. Popularization of yoga in the west

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