6.3
August 20, 2014

Thank you so much, dear Bellur Krishnamachar Sundaraj Iyengar.

bks iyengar

In Memoriam: B.K.S. Iyengar 1918-2014. 

More than a great teacher, he shaped yoga for a planet.

 

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”

“When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. ”

“Penetration of our mind is our goal, but in the beginning to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat.”

“Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.”

I got to meet this truly great man once and ask him a question. He was truly fun, a trailblazer, a powerhouse and a legend to whom many owe so much.

I got to interview (or rather, sit and listen) at his feet, once, in the mountains above Estes Park, thanks to the good folks at Yoga Journal. He was more than a legend—he was a father of what we know of as yoga, today. What we casually say is a 5,000 year tradition was in so many ways shaped and formed by him that, without his influence, yoga in the West would be something else, entirely, and almost assuredly a less powerful influence on our hearts, minds, and society.

A brief bio…for the full, here.

Mr. Iyengar was born in 1918 in Bellur, India, into a poor family and had a difficult childhood.  His father died when he was young, and he suffered from a number of serious illnesses including malaria, tuberculosis, thyphoid fever, and malnutrition.  At age 15, Mr. Iyengar’s brother-in-law, Sri Krishnamacharya, brought him to Mysore and taught him an asana practice to improve his health.  In his 2005 book Light on Life, Mr. Iyengar describes his early life and how he came to yoga:

My poor health was matched, as it often is when one is sick, by my poor mood. A deep melancholy often overtook me, and at times I asked myself whether life was worth the trouble of living.

Seeing that the general state of my health was so poor, my brother-in-law recommended a stiff regime of yoga practice to knock me into shape and strengthen me up to face life’s trials and challenges as I approached adulthood.

Mr. Iyengar’s yoga practice began with the physical asana practice. And in Light on Life, he explains that yoga is so much more:

The practice of yogasana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga.

While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end… Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit.

Thank you, good sir, for so much. And Namaste. ~ Waylon Lewis, ed.



~

From our dear elephriend, Leslie Kaminoff:

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundaraj Iyengar has passed away at the age of 96.

I’m sure much will be said in the coming days about his immeasurable contribution to Yoga.

For myself, I can say that my teacher Desikachar always spoke of him with great respect, and seemed proud to call him uncle.

With Iyengar’s passing today, Pattabhi Joiis’s in 2009, and Desikachar’s incapacity, that leaves precious few direct inheritors of T. Krishnamacharya’s lineage still teaching today.

Fortunately, there are literally thousands of us who are lucky enough to be the next generation of teachers tasked with carrying on the vital work of spreading the precious teachings that flow from this deep, rich wellspring.

Word has just come via a Facebook post from Judith Lasater that Bellur Krishnamachar Sundaraj Iyengar has passed away at the age of 96.

~

So much could be said about his immeasurable contribution to Yoga that I prefer to let you all comment with your remembrances.

For myself, I can say that my teacher Desikachar always spoke of him with great respect, and seemed proud to call him uncle.

With Iyengar’s passing today,  Pattabhi Joiis’s in 2009, and Desikachar’s incapacity, that leaves precious few direct inheritors of T. Krishnamacharya’s lineage still teaching today.

Fortunately, there are literally thousands of us who are lucky enough to be the next generation of teachers tasked with carrying on the vital work of spreading the precious teachings that flow from this deep, rich wellspring.

Please feel free to post your thoughts here or below. ~ Leslie
~

For more:

How B.K.S. Iyengar Kicked My Asana.

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Conelia Aug 21, 2014 10:07am

6 May 2014 – interview with the Indian Express- answered IYengar to the question: "Don’t spend the last 10 years worrying about death"? He answered:"No sorrow, no anxiety, no distress. Let me leave this Earth with hope."
I believe, that he could leave in hope and freedom and there is a place for him in my haert and in my life – I never forget him! I thank him for essential Yoga and for essential experiences with Yoga! Namasté

LuAnne Aug 20, 2014 9:36am

Sitting straight on a block, with shoulder blades flat against the wall, gratitude for his teachings which has allowed me to practice with joy and safety.

Vijay Vadlamani Aug 20, 2014 9:03am

Long live the king!

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