BKS Iyengar

Last Updated: December 30, 2022

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Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (BKS Iyengar) was a world-renowned yoga teacher who developed a unique style of yoga. 

He was active in the yoga community, writing books and teaching special classes based on his belief that yoga is for everyone, regardless of age or ability. BKS Iyengar is credited with popularizing yoga worldwide, and his teachings have helped millions of people worldwide enjoy the benefits of yoga.

Who Was BKS Iyengar

BKS Iyengar was born in 1918 in India. His family was poor, and he was physically unwell for most of his childhood. He began practicing yoga at age 15 after being introduced to it by his brother-in-law, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. He was one of the earliest students of Krishnamacharya, who is considered the father of modern yoga.

BKS Iyengar moved to Mumbai (then called Bombay), where he met another renowned yoga teacher, K. Pattabhi Jois. Jois taught Iyengar the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system, which would become an essential part of Iyengar's own style of yoga.

In 1952, Iyengar visited Europe and the United States, where he taught yoga to many famous people, including violinist Yehudi Menuhin, playing a critical role in popularizing yoga in the West. Menuhin was so impressed with Iyengar's teaching that he helped him establish the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, named for his late wife.

Iyengar spent many years refining his technique and perfecting his yoga philosophy, eventually becoming one of the world's most respected teachers. His students included celebrities, politicians, and royalty. Iyengar also taught at some of the most prestigious universities, including Harvard and Oxford. He gained international acclaim and awards, including the Padma Shri (1991), the Padma Bhushan (2002), and the Padma Vibhushan (2014).

BKS Iyengar's style of yoga focuses on proper alignment and props such as blankets, blocks, and belts. This approach makes Iyengar yoga accessible to people of all ages and abilities. It is also one of the reasons why Iyengar's teachings have been so influential in the development of modern yoga.

Iyengar Yoga

what is iyengar yogaBKS Iyengar is the founder of Iyengar yoga, characterized by its use of props. This approach makes yoga accessible to people of all ages and abilities. It also allows people to stay in each asana for extended periods, which allows for a deeper stretch and greater benefits. His teachings emphasize using props, such as belts, blankets, and blocks, to help students achieve the correct alignment.

The Iyengar yoga method effectively treats various medical conditions, including back pain, arthritis, and high blood pressure. Studies show that Iyengar yoga improves mood and reduces stress.

Iyengar Yoga is an all-level practice. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes available. In addition, Iyengar Yoga teachers must undergo intensive training to become certified, ensuring that they can provide students with the highest quality of instruction.

Iyengar founded the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, the headquarters of Iyengar Yoga in Pune, India, in 1975. The institute offers a variety of classes, workshops, and retreats for people of all levels of experience. It also houses a library and research center dedicated to preserving the legacy of BKS Iyengar and his teachings.

Light on Yoga

BKS Iyengar wrote some of the most popular and influential books on yoga education such as Light on Yoga and Light on Pranayama. Yoga teachers use these books all over the world to help their students learn about yoga.

Yoga Sutras

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a critical text in the study of yoga. It contains 196 sutras, or verses, that guide everything from the basic principles of yoga to advanced practices. BKS Iyengar's commentary on the Yoga Sutras is one of this text's most popular and respected interpretations.

Light on Pranayama

Pranayama is the practice of breath control. In Light on Pranayama, BKS Iyengar thoroughly explores this vital aspect of yoga. He covers everything from the basic breath to more advanced techniques, such as retention and alternate nostril breathing.

Modern Yoga & Hatha Yoga

BKS Iyengar's teachings have been highly influential in the development of modern yoga practice. His approach to alignment and use of props has helped to make yoga more accessible to people of all ages and abilities, and his emphasis on the importance of breath control has helped make yoga more holistic.

BKS Iyengar Quotesfamous bks iyengar quotes

"Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life."

"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured."

"Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self."

"Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame."

"Do your practice and all is coming."

"Yoga is an inner technology for raising consciousness."

"Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory."

"Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are."

"Yoga is like a tree: it grows from the bottom up and the inside out."

"Yoga exists in the world because everything is linked."

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar Legacy

BKS Iyengar passed away in 2014 at the age of 95. His legacy continues to live on through his books, his institute, and the millions of people his teachings have influenced. Today, his son, Prashant Iyengar, and granddaughter, Abhijata Iyengar, continue to teach at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute. The Iyengar Yoga Association of India continues to promote his teachings worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

illustration of a group doing iyengar yoga

Who was BKS Iyengar?

BKS Iyengar was an Indian teacher who developed a yoga system focusing on alignment and precise movements. He is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world, with over 75 years of yoga experience.

What style of yoga does BKS Iyengar teach?

Iyengar yoga is a form of Hatha yoga that emphasizes precision and alignment in movements. It is often considered a more therapeutic form of yoga and is often used to help people with injuries or health conditions.

What are some of the unique aspects of BKS Iyengar's approach to yoga?

One of the unique aspects of Iyengar yoga is the use of props, such as blankets, straps, and blocks, to help students achieve the correct alignment in their posture. This approach is often helpful for people with injuries or limitations.

Is BKS Iyenger alive?

Iyengar died in 2014 at 95 in the southern Indian city of Pune.

What are some of the benefits of Iyengar yoga?

There is true value in practicing Iyengar for its profound benefits. Iyengar yoga can improve flexibility, strength, and balance. It can also help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. The more yogis practice Iyengar yoga, the more awareness one will build.

Is Iyengar yoga for everyone?

Iyengar yoga is generally suitable for all levels of students, from beginners to advanced. However, finding a qualified teacher who can adapt asanas to individual needs is important.

What should I wear to an Iyengar yoga class?

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that you can move easily in.

Do I need any special equipment for Iyengar yoga?

No, but having a yoga mat and a blanket is helpful. Some studios may also provide props, such as straps and blocks.

How often should I practice Iyengar yoga?

There is no set rule, but most experts recommend practicing at least three times weekly to see the benefits.

Where can I find an Iyengar yoga class?

May yoga studios, fitness centers, and community centers offer Iyengar yoga classes. You can also find DVDs and online courses if you prefer to practice at home.



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