On August 20, 2014, the yoga world lost one of its most powerful and significant teachers, Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (B.K.S.) Iyengar. His method of yoga, Iyengar Yoga, is world renowned and he is considered one of the most important teachers of this generation. He wrote several yoga books, including the influential Light On Yoga (1966) and Light On Pranayama (1981). His methods are popular world wide and he is one of the teachers responsible for yoga's popularity in the modern day western world. His style of yoga is based on alignment and holding poses in an exact concise position to allow the body to receive the full benefit of the poses. He considered yoga not only physical, but also a philosophy, science and an art. He applied yoga to all aspects of life, not just when on the mat. He encouraged his students to study all limbs of yoga and practice them. For the physical practice he developed and refined the poses and pranayama (breath restraint) to make the practice therapeutic for each student.
Born on December 14, 1918 in Bellur in Karnataka, India, Iyengar suffered many illnesses as a child, including malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis. His family moved to Bangalore when he was five years old. One of his sisters became the wife of who would become his teacher, T. Krishnamacharya, whom he would meet at the age of 15. Krishnamacharya also trained influential teachers, Pattabhi Jois, T.K.V. Desikachar & Indra Devi. Krishnamacharya taught B.K.S. Iyengar the yoga practices to help him overcome his ailments. Iyengar began teaching in 1936 at the age of 18. Over the years, he developed his own system and has taught and influenced millions of yoga students worldwide.
In 1943, he was married to Ramamani and they raised six children together. His oldest daughter, Geeta, and his only son, Prashant, have followed in their father's footsteps, teaching Iyengar methods of yoga worldwide. They both co-direct the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India.
He was admitted to a hospital in Pune, India last week and left his mortal body on August 20, 2014 due to heart problems and renal failure.
B.K.S. Iyengar's teachings and influence will carry on worldwide through the millions that have learned directly or indirectly from him.
"Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life." ~ B.K.S. Iyengar