BKS Iyengar left his body today, on august 20th at 3:15 am this morning in Pune due to a kidney ailing. With him, another one of the great yoga gurus of India has gone, after Patthabi Jois‘ death 5 years ago, on May 18th in 2009. Iyengar was born in 1918 to a poor Brahmin family in Karnataka and lived 95 years long. It has been his life’s work to establish yoga in India and the West. The BKS stands for his three given names Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararajar.
Iyengar Style Yoga & the Beginnings of Yoga Therapy
Iyengar and his yogic endeavours will not be forgotten. He founded the world-wide known Iyengar style yoga, a therapeutic form of yoga, that through the use of props and precise alignment enables everybody to practise yoga, young and old, strong and weak, healthy and sick people.
It’s no coincidence that Iyengar searched for a style of yoga that even the sick and disabled could practise. In his early years he ailed from malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis and as an effect has been a very week child.
BKS Iyengar and T Krishnamacharya
At the age of 15, his brother-in-law, the ayurvedic healer and „father of yoga“ Tirumalai Krishnamacharya asked him to come to Mysore to study yoga. Iyengars health improved considerably through the asana practice.
In Mysore, he met his fellow students K. Patthabi Jois, founder of Ashtanga Yoga, TKV Desikachar, founder of Viniyoga and Krishnamacharya’s son, Indra Devi, the first female yoga student who later brought yoga to Europe and South-America, and A.G. Mohan, co-founder of Svastha yoga.
Together, they gave asana demonstrations at the palace of the Maharaja of Mysore, Krishna Raja Wadiya IV, who also was a student of Krishnamacharya himself and supported and protected his yogic activities.
The Ramamani Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune
After two years of practice, Krishnamacharya sent his student Iyengar to Pune in order to open a shala there and spread the wisdom of yoga. That’s what he dedicated his life to the last 80 years. In 1975, Iyengar founded the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Institute Pune, to honour the memory of his beloved wife Ramamani who died in 1973. Today, 31 years later, he follows her.