B.K.S. Iyengar helped introduce the practice of yoga to the Western world. He introduced Iyengar Yoga, which helped him achieve worldwide fame. Iyengar was introduced to yoga as a teenager by a relative because of health reasons. Iyengar credits yoga with saving his life, and he wrote fourteen books on the subject. He left behind a long legacy of knowledge after his passing on August 20, 2014 at the age of 95.
Iyengar began teaching yoga at 18, and he opened yoga studios in several countries. One of his students included fellow author and revolutionary, Aldous Huxley. Mr. Iyengar's practice is characterized by long asanas that require determination and discipline. When he started practicing as a teen, he was extremely frail. By the time he was in his eighties, he could stand on his head for several minutes.
Iyengar's trademark improvisations included the use of props such as blocks, blankets, and straps as the practice gained more popularity. Now almost anyone could practice yoga, even those that required some assistance. His book "Light on Yoga" explains the 216 yoga postures that formed the art and science of yoga.
Iyengar's challenging poses and breathing techniques have now been adopted by many medical practitioners to help patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic back pain. Students recall that he was kind, charismatic, and strict. He once said at the conclusion of his practice, "I can remain thoughtfully thoughtless. It's not an empty mind."