BKS IYENGAR

Mr Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (14th Dec 1918-20th August 2014), better known as BKS Iyengar, is recognised as being a foremost exponent of yoga and a particularly significant individual in the introduction of yoga to the western world. 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth with celebrations worldwide for this extraordinary human being and his contribution to the world.

DR GEETA S. IYENGAR

(1944 – 2018) In her father’s light, not shadow! Dr Geeta S. Iyengar, daughter of Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, and the senior most teacher in the Iyengar community.

IYENGAR YOGA TEACHER CERTIFICATION

Our method has very rigorous teacher-training and assessment, with the highest standards world-wide. 

LINK & PUBLICATIONS

Find more information about publications and links to official Iyengar institutions.

BKS IYENGAR

Mr Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (14th Dec 1918-20th August 2014), better known as BKS Iyengar, is recognised as being a foremost exponent of yoga and a particularly significant individual in the introduction of yoga to the western world. 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth with celebrations worldwide for this extraordinary human being and his contribution to the world.

DR GEETA S. IYENGAR

(1944 – 2018) In her father’s light, not shadow! Dr Geeta S. Iyengar, daughter of Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, and the senior most teacher in the Iyengar community.

IYENGAR YOGA TEACHER CERTIFICATION

Our method has very rigorous teacher-training and assessment, with the highest standards world-wide. 

LINK & PUBLICATIONS

Find more information about publications and links to official Iyengar institutions.

BKS IYENGAR

It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.

BKS Iyengar

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. …

BKS Iyengar

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 a foremost exponent of yoga and significant in the introduction of yoga to the western world. Iyengar yoga is founded upon the philosophical text “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” which was codified over two thousand years ago. Patanjali states 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.

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 recognised as the ‘bible’ of yoga.
  • He established a school in Pune, India and has trained thousands of teachers from around the world.
  • He demanded 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. They 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.

GEETA IYENGAR

Knowledge has a beginning but no end

Geeta Iyengar

Geeta Iyengar

Vale Geeta Iyengar

Dr Geeta S. Iyengar (1944 – 2018)

In her father’s light, not shadow!

Dr Geeta S. Iyengar, daughter of Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, was the senior- most teacher in the Iyengar community. She had completed 74 years on December 7.

Sister to her five siblings but a mother figure to the whole community of Iyengar yoga practitioners which now spans 59 countries across the world, Geetaji lived a simple life which embodied all the principles of being a yogini.

She chose to lead a life of brahmacharya (celibacy) and devoted her life to yogic pursuits.

As the director of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI), Pune, together with her father BKS Iyengar and her brother Prashant, she was instrumental in moulding and teaching generations of yoga aspirants from their Yoga-shala in Shivajinagar, Pune.

Last year, the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for the best Yoga Institute in India was awarded to RIMYI. This, in a way, acknowledged her six-decades-long years of commitment to teaching yoga and mentoring generations of yoga teachers which has resulted in the Iyengar yoga certificate becoming the gold standard in the field.

The eldest child of Ramamani and Yoga guru BKS Iyengar, Geetaji was born near Tumkur, her maternal place but did her schooling in Pune, where her father had settled down as a yoga teacher.

She was inspired to take up yoga early and never looked back. An early attack of nephritis at age 9 had left her with only half a kidney, and ever since, she became a keen student of yoga.

 

Decades later, when asked at a Q & A, whether she felt she was in her father’s shadow, she had wittily said, “I consider myself fortunate to be in my father’s light, not his shadow.”

In 2012, Geetaji conducted a mega class in Portland, Oregon, US, which has become a benchmark for the congruence between Yoga, medicine and Ayurveda. In this convention, she gave the principles of how to hone the art of observation and application of yogasanas in the treatment and alleviation of various diseases. She repeatedly stressed how yogasanas have a transformative power, and this comes with the alignment of the outer, inner and innermost bodies (sthula, sukshma and karana shariras) with the bahya, antar-anga and antar-atma sadhanas.

When people talk of alignment, they only point to external points of reference like arms and legs and muscles and joints. But here was someone who showed us how to align a life to the teachings of a Guru, how to align a life to the learnings of an art, how to align a life to the responsibilities of a practitioner (sadhaka), a teacher and a pillar of the yoga community.

Though a teacher in her own right, she always remained a shishya to her father and the subject of yoga till the end. Even at the recently concluded centenary celebrations of Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, where more than 1,200 students from 53 countries participated in a ten-day yogasana and pranayama session, she taught tirelessly for six hours a day exhorting students to experience the intelligence in their bodies first-hand and not depend on second-hand experiences. This insistence on self-learning and self-awareness in the body, mind, consciousness and breath became her defining ethic.

She authored the classic, ‘Yoga – A Gem For Women’ which is now translated into several languages. Her continuous exploration resulted in the volumes, Preliminary Course and Intermediate Course which became a beginner-level learner’s text guides to her father’s definitive Light On Yoga.

Her six-decades-long commitment to the subject of yoga has been something which will now inspire generations of practitioners.

Written by Parvez Irani

5 Great Things About Iyengar Yoga

5. There are millions of Iyengar yoga practitioners around the world & we are part of a global community, with our own Australian association.

Previously in Australia, only Iyengar schools with Senior teachers were permitted to use the name Iyengar in their business name, so you may not have heard of Iyengar Yoga, but you can bet most other yoga teachers have studied ‘Light on Yoga’ by BKS Iyengar (often referred to as the ‘bible’ of yoga ) as part of their teacher training.

We are one of Yoga’s best kept secrets! There are at least five schools specialising in Iyengar Yoga in the greater Newcastle region. This year marks the 100th Anniversary of BKS Iyengar’s birth and is being marked by international celebrations. 

4. Its real yoga

Iyengar yoga is the authentic item. Lineage connects our school in Hamilton, NSW Australia to ancient yogic philosophy and practices. 

Mr Iyengar was the younger brother-in-law and student of T. Krishnamacharia, attributed with the modern revival of Hatha yoga, who himself had travelled to study and live with his yoga master for 7 years in the Himalayas… and so on that story goes, far back into history. 

Iyengar was one of the first and main propagators of yoga in the Western world. 

3. We know our stuff.

Iyengar Teachers undergo years of training and ongoing professional development and the most rigorous assessment processes in the world. 

We have accrued decades of experience in this comprehensive style. Current requirements are now six years minimum studentship, before being allowed to even sit for the introductory level teaching qualification.

The art of teaching and the art of yoga go hand in hand with Iyengar yoga. 

This certification mark is your guarantee of excellence in yoga teaching

2. It’s Inclusive!

Poses can all be modified according to each individuals need. A professional football player and great grandmother can do the same pose varied to their individual requirements. If you are unsteady we can teach you how and what to do to participate and progress.

Age, Injury and disability are no barrier. Really! Mr Iyengar developed the use of props, not to make yoga easy, but to enable  any person, regardless of physical capacity, to experience the profound effects of yoga.

1. Iyengar Yoga is a Practice for Life

Many people who start learning this method just keep on going. For decades. Mr Iyengar continued his practice until his mid-nineties, just weeks before he passed away. Alignment is a technique used to bring awareness that Iyengar developed. It is also consistent with maintaining physical health and wellbeing throughout one’s lifespan. We have students in their Seventies in our advanced classes who have been practicing for decades, through injuries, catastrophes and all of life’s ups and downs.

The great thing is, there is always more to learn. After decades of practice we start to glimpse how little we know. It is a humbling, fascinating and illuminative practice. 

Top 5 benefits of learning Iyengar Yoga

5. Strength and Flexibility

Don’t be fooled! Despite initial appearances, yoga is not about flexibility or strength, but if you do practice it regularly, you will become stronger and more supple. These are great ‘side-effects’ of yoga practice, but they are not our main focus, and definitely not prerequisites. 
Standing poses are first learnt in the Introductory course and are the best place to start. Doing standing poses such as trikonasana (triangle pose) and virabhadrasana 1 and 2 (warrior pose)  can be an invigorating work-out. They are the safest way to develop strength, flexibility and balance whilst learning the alignment basics.
An Iyengar Yoga school will teach you at your level, so that you learn to work in a way that is good for you.
Whilst flexibility is irrelevant, what you do need is a sense of curiosity and a willingness to turn up and do some work. You do get back what you put in. The asanas (poses) ought to be just challenging enough so that you can build up strength and flexibility incrementally.
Begin with the best introduction to yoga, and then continue…

4. Body awareness, health and physical wellbeing

Most of us are not just strong, weak, flexible or stiff all over, but various mixtures. Due to lifestyle, injury or genetics some muscle groups overwork, and some underwork. People who are highly flexible for example, are very prone to injury, and need to learn where and how to strengthen.

Yoga for men is great, as imbalances in posture otherwise go unnoticed until there is pain or discomfort such as back ache, neck pain or shoulder pain.

With a method of yoga that incorporates a mindful approach to asanas, such as Iyengar Yoga, you develop great sensitivity, and learn ways to address and manage such imbalances safely. Correct alignment will protect you from injury, but it can serve a much more profound role in a yogi’s life. (more on that below)

3. Energy and vitality

The asanas do not just affect us anatomically, at the muscles and bones, but also affect us physiologically. One single yoga pose can be performed in numerous ways for different effects. Your hormonal system and nervous system may be either ‘charged up’ or pacified depending on the way it is performed. A well-trained yoga instructor such as an Iyengar Yoga teacher can sequence different practices that will raise your energy levels if you are feeling low or calm you down if you are feeling anxious or stressed out.

An Iyengar yoga teacher has a minimum of 2 years in training and 2 years as a student themselves, so they have experience of these numerous variations… you might get a restorative Yin type class on one day, and an invigorating dynamic flowing vinyasa type class on the next. A Senior Iyengar teacher will count their experience in decades, rather than years

Pregnancy Yoga
Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training

2. Mental Clarity and a Sense of Balanced Wellbeing

Yoga is much more than a type of physical activity or set of exercises. It is pleasant to experience that feeling of relaxation after a “yoga workout” just like after a gym workout, and while that is another great side-benefit of a yoga class, you are being sold short on yoga, if that is all you are getting. Yoga practiced skilfully can effectively help to manage  mental health issues such as anxiety and depression that can tend to leave us feeling exhausted and depleted. Mindful attention in asana teaches us to be present moment by moment. When we are present there is no fear or anxiety. This has profound application off the mat, in our daily lives.

Iyengar Yoga in Newcastle

1. Awareness and Joy

The definition of yoga, according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, is the quietening of the mind. When mind joins with body and breath, the sum is far greater than the parts. Yoga means union. When that union takes place, our busy mind quietens.

We all hold conscious and unconscious stories about ourselves that shape our perception of who we are and the world around us. Often these stories go unseen and untested. Svadhaya is a sanskrit term meaning ‘self-study’. Ultimately yoga is a meditative practice that can give us a way to identify the true causes of our suffering, and to experience freedom from them. Find a yoga studio that provides a pathway from beginners to advanced. One that starts with trikonasana and sets you on the journey of a lifetime.

Links

Publications

  • Light on Yoga
  • Light on Pranyama
  • Light on Life
  • Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
  • Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health
  • Tree of Yoga

By Geeta Iyengar:

  • Yoga: A gem for Women
  • Yoga in Action: Preliminary Course
  • Yoga in Action: Intermediate Course

By Silva, Mira & shyam Metha:

  • Yoga: The Iyengar Way​

By Mira Metha:

  • How to Use Yoga