B.K.S Iyengar was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential men of our age and is among one of the most respected yoga instructors of all time. He died August 20, 2014 at the age of 95.
Born in the small village of Bellur, India during an Influenza epidemic in 1918, B.K.S Iyengar appeared to have the cards stacked against him. He suffered many illnesses as a child such as malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis plus the loss of his father at the young age of 9. Because of his illnesses he did not do well in school, but his life changed course for the better in 1934 when his guru, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, encouraged B.K.S to move to Mysore, India and begin practicing and learning asanas with him.
Dedicating himself to the study of yoga he grew stronger and healthier. He married his wife Ramamani in 1943 and the early years of their marriage revolved around his yoga practice. She cared for the children and he traveled around the city of Pune, where they had settled, to teach yoga. His first book, Light on Yoga, was published in 1966. It is still influential today as the primary text on yoga, often referred to as the “Yoga Bible.” After Light on Yoga, he wrote several other texts, such as Light on Pranayama, and has translated the Yoga Sutras in Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. His command of the English language was extensive and eloquent. He was clearly someone with a strong and curious mind.
Ramamani died in 1973. The Iyengar Institute in Pune bears her name as The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute.
I had the opportunity to meet Guruji when I was in India in 2009 and 2013. I was fortunate to be in class when he was still teaching a bit. The most memorable moments for me were being in the practice room in Pune and observing him practicing and teaching his grand-daughter Abhijata. He was a person who was larger than life and whose presence could fill the room. I’m very grateful to have had even just a bit of time to be around him. To me, he embodied yoga in his strength, grace and kindness. He was a strict teacher as well as a soft hearted Great-Grandfather. In my eyes he is someone who lived his life with the upmost respect to himself and his practice.
To learn more about B.K.S. Iyengar, please click HERE.