Yogacharya (master teacher) BKS Iyengar is recognized as one of the world’s foremost exponents of yoga. He became known in the West through his classic text Light on Yoga, first published in 1966 and never out of print since then.
Yogacharya BKS Iyengar was acknowledged as having been instrumental in bringing yoga to the west. He saw yoga as an art, a science, a philosophy – not secret or exclusive and, at the age of 88 (in December 2006) had not in any sense “retired”. Each morning for two to three hours he would do his personal practice, alongside his pupils in RIMYI hall, while most afternoons he could be found in the library, attending to correspondence, researching and writing. A demanding teacher, BKS Iyengar guided his students to practise asanas in different ways emphasising the importance of the proper sequencing of the asana practice to understand not just how, but why and what happens when you do an asana.
Yogacharya BKS Iyengar was renowned throughout the world for his therapeutic approach to yoga. His innovative use of supports or “props” modifying classical postures, allows a student who may be ailing and whose body is stiff bodies to be supported in asanas without strain or the risk of further damage. Sporting teams, dancers, musicians and many others have been helped in recovering from injury and illness through these methods.
Over many years BKS Iyengar’s contribution to yoga has been acknowledged by many awards – the first being given in 1935 at a World YMCA conference in Mysore, India. More recently, in 2004, he was named in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
A philanthropist for many years, Mr Iyengar established a trust, the Bellur Krishnamachar Seshamma Smaraka Niddhi Trust in 2003 to build facilities and schools in his home village of Bellur. Having taken yoga to the west his dream is to bring yoga to the villages of India and in particular to Bellur so that the children and young people of the village will be afforded a good educational standard and be able to learn a trade. Already a high school has been established as well as a new hospital.
Yogacharya BKS Iyengar’s first book Light on Yoga, published in 1966, has been translated into sixteen languages including Russian, Polish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Korean and Ukrainian. He has also written Light on Pranayama, Sutras Light on the Yoga of Patanjali, Light on Ashtanga Yoga, Yoga Vrksa: Tree of Yoga and his latest book, launched in September 2005, is Light on Life. Among others his books include six volumes of Astadala Yogamala which contain collections of his writings and interviews.
Mr Iyengar visited Australia on two occasions – 1983 and 1992. At the time of his first visit in 1983 Iyengar Yoga was practiced by only a handful of students. Today Iyengar Yoga is widely practiced and taught throughout the world by over 2,000 qualified Iyengar teachers in over 40 countries, 200 of whom teach in Australia.
“When your body, mind and soul are healthy and harmonious,you will bring health and harmony to those around you and health and harmony to the world not by withdrawing from the world but by being a healthy living organ of the body of humanity”. ~ BKS Iyengar
Visit the official BKS Iyengar website: www.bksiyengar.com