Iyengar yoga is the method of yoga developed by Mr Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (14th Dec 1918-20th August 2014), better known as BKS Iyengar.
Mr Iyengar is recognised as being significant in the introduction of yoga to the western world. He was revered, respected and occasionally feared as a fierce passionate teacher with great love for his students and the subject of yoga.
Iyengar yoga is founded upon the philosophical text “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” which was codified over two thousand years ago. Patanjali teaches that yoga is about understanding one’s own mind, so as to become free of suffering. Iyengar Yoga is essentially a study of consciousness that utilises asanas (bodily postures) as instruments to study the workings of the mind.
“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”
Mr Iyengar made a number of great contributions to yoga.
- He introduced and worked continuously to refine the methods of technique, timing, sequencing and repetition, so that the practitioner had a way of studying themselves.
- The introduction of props brought the asanas to the level of the students and thus enabled all people regardless of ability, age or health to participate and have an experience of yoga.
- He wrote a number of books including “Light on Yoga” now often described as the ‘bible’ of yoga.
- He founded an institute in Pune, India with national associations worldwide, through which tens of thousands of teachers have trained and become qualified and certified.
- He established a highly rigorous method of assessment for any person seeking to teach under his name. Iyengar national associations, institutes and schools are spread across the globe and must conform to his demanding and exacting criteria.
BKS Iyengar’s daughter Geeta Iyengar, son Prashant Iyengar and granddaughter Abhijata Shridhar Iyengar are recognised as great teachers in and of themselves. Abhi & Prashant continue to teach at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune.
Until his passing at the age of 95 in 2014, Mr Iyengar continued to teach and inspire students all over the world, to write and research and live his life according to the philosophical precepts of yoga.
“Even as the body ages and is able to do less, there are subtelties that reveal themselves… You have to create love and affection for your body, for what it can do for you.”
BOOKS by BKS IYENGAR
- (1966; revised ed. 1977) Light on Yoga. New York: Schocken. ISBN 978-0-8052-1031-6
- (1981) Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing. New York: Crossroad. ISBN 0-8245-0686-3
- (1985) The Art of Yoga. Boston: Unwin. ISBN 978-0-04-149062-6
- (1988) The Tree of Yoga. Boston: Shambhala. ISBN 0-87773-464-X
- (1996) Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. London: Thorsons. ISBN 978-0-00-714516-4
- (2005) Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom. (with Abrams, D. & Evans, J.J.) Pennsylvania: Rodale. ISBN 1-59486-248-6
- (2007) Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health. New York: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 978-0-7566-3362-2
- (2000–2008) Astadala Yogamala: Collected Works (8 vols) New Delhi: Allied Publishers.
- (2009) Yoga Wisdom and Practice. New York: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0-7566-4283-3
- (2010) Yaugika Manas: Know and Realize the Yogic Mind. Mumbai: Yog. ISBN 81-87603-14-3
- (2012) Core of the Yoga Sutras: The Definitive Guide to the Philosophy of Yoga. London: HarperThorsons. ISBN 978-0007921263