After hearing of the death of beloved yoga guru B.K.S Iyengar, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Generations will remember Shri BKS Iyengar as a fine Guru, scholar & a stalwart who brought Yoga into the lives of many across the world.”
Born in Karnataka, India in 1918, Iyengar suffered from many ailments as a child including malaria, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever leaving him weak and sickly. It was when his brother-in-law Krishnamacharya (now known as the ‘Father of Modern Yoga’) invited him to Mysore, India to practice yoga that his health and strength improved. At 18 years old, he began to teach yoga in Pune, India.
His approach to yoga is best known for the ability to adapt a yoga practice to anyone, including those with major disabilities, by the use of yoga props in order to reach full expression and benefit. He continued to practice many hours of yoga himself, executing challenging asanas and pranayama, well into his last years. He taught that with regular practice of Iyengar Yoga, the body could be used to integrate the the mind and emotions and quiet the intellect and ego.
Iyengar was the author of many books including the well known, Light on Yoga, often used as a reference book in many yoga schools to train teachers. He was also a philanthropist supporting animals and bringing awareness to multiple sclerosis through the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India. Iyengar was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
Iyengar passed away Wednesday, August 20th 2014 at a hospital in Pune, India following kidney problems.
“I always tell people, ‘live happily and die majestically”
Olivia Kvitne is a Los Angeles yoga instructor specializing in yoga therapy for veterans struggling with PTSD. One of the influences in her life was her grandfather, a WWII vet, and later a psychiatrist who embraced using the mind to heal the body: TheYogaAbbey.com @OliviaKvitne