August 20, 2014

From the Seen into the Unseen: Thank You B.K.S. Iyengar.


A great soul has passed on.

In the early morning hours of August 20th, 2014, B.K.S. Iyengar died.

The world seems a little dimmer to me now.

What happens to the light he held—as I’m told by those who witnessed it—dancing in his eyes?

My teacher says that death is like passing from one room to another. I know death is a beautiful part of life, it is an element of the sex-birth-death unit that churns all of us onward on this plane.

Yet still my heart is saddened by this news.

While I’m not an Iyegar yogini, B.K.S. Iyengar was an important part of my yoga tradition, writing the preface to one of the books on the style of hatha I study and teach. Its publishing house published his daughter’s book.

His own books, well, one of them at least, were on the reading list of part of my teacher training. I would pore over Light on Yoga during my year-long yoga philosophy project, reading and writing reflections on 30 books.

I’m left to wonder, what happens to the light that Gurus hold once they pass on?

One moment, encapsulating the nearly 10 decades of commitment and practice he gave to us all, the next, gone. Into another room I can’t see from my vantage point. From the seen into the unseen.

Having a physical representation of light is so powerful for those of us struggling toward that light in this dimension. I know that his physical body being gone does not mean the light he brought to so many is gone.

Yet I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

I feel the loss of his concentrated manifestation, and am buoyed by the teachings he left.

The image stuck in my mind is of him standing in mountain pose. How this pose, one of my favourites, was given such a relatively large amount of space in Light on Yoga when others weren’t.

Seeing him stand there with such focus and determination is the gift he gave the world. I can’t fathom the dedication he embodied in his life.

Thank you, B.K.S. Iyengar. Thank you for your light.

Hari om.

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

~ B.K.S. Iyengar


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

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