14/12/1918 ~ 20/08/2014
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, was born in 1918 ,in Bellur, Kolar district, Karnataka. Better known as B.K.S. Iyengar, he founded the style of yoga known as "Iyengar Yoga" and has been credited with popularising yoga, first in India and then around the world.
As a child he suffered from constant poor health. At the age of 15, he was sent to Mysore to learn yoga from his brother in law, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, Vedic and Sanskrit scholar.
In 1937, he was sent to Pune to teach yoga. He spent many hours each day studying his own experience in the poses and those of his students. He learnt and experimented with various techniques. He classified and categorised over 200 asanas and 14 pranayamas (breathing techniques) into a linear progression so that beginners could advance to more challenging asanas and pranayamas in a safe way. So was developed a system and ‘Iyengar yoga’ was born.
"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured."
“Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.”
Guruji as he was called by his students taught yoga to thousands. His students included the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, Sachin Tendulkar as well as thousands of students from the milieu of India.
He wrote several books on yoga, including the seminal “Light on Yoga” that has been translated into18 languages till date.
Surrounded by his family and loved ones, Guruji breathed his last in August 2014 at age 95.
Iyengar Family Lineage
Dr Geeta Iyengar
07/12/1944 ~ 16/12/2018
Geetaji took up the practice of yoga at a very young age due to severe illness. She was a leading authority on yoga in her own right.
Her teaching of yoga focused on how yoga can be beneficial to those with health problems and dealt greatly with the needs of women. Her classes were centered around synchronising daily yoga practice with menstruation, ovulation, pre and post menstrual phases
Since 1962 she had been teaching both at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune and overseas.
“Knowledge has a beginning but no end”
Prashant Iyengar is BKS Iyengar’s son.He is an authority on yoga and has extensive knowledge about ancient Indian scriptures and texts.
He says, "There is no physical yoga and spiritual yoga. If it is exclusively physical, it won’t be yoga. Yoga is dealing with the entirety; it is a union."
He brings a very unique approach to his yoga classes where he encourages students to experience their own bodies as a laboratory and focuses greatly breathing as a transformative tool in yoga practice.
“There is no physical yoga and spiritual yoga. If it is exclusively physical, it won’t be yoga. Yoga is dealing with the entirety; it is a union.”
Abhijata Sridhar Iyengar
BK S Iyengar’s granddaughter, Abhijata is a senior teacher at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune. She teaches extensively overseas.
A yoga student since age 16 she has been practising under the tutelage of her iconic grandfather (BKS Iyengar) her devotion to whom is obvious. She is also a pupil of Geeta and Prashant Iyengar.
Her teachings are clear with the strong Iyengar delivery, which clearly runs in the blood. It has been said of Abhijata that the teaching of philosophy and practice are not separate from each other under her tuition.
In response to a question about the most important thing she learnt from her grandfather, Abhi said: “I vividly remember he said ‘life is as dynamic as the River Amazon. As that river flows, life flows with that energy, hence your practice and your living has to be so dynamic’.”“I feel the responsibility in terms of keeping him alive, but I think that responsibility is on each of his students.”