“No one has perhaps done as much as Mr. Iyengar to convert the West to yoga.” New York Times, 2002.
B.K.S. Iyengar lived in Pune, south west India, where he founded his school, the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) He was a student of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya who remarked that he was not made for this art; This lack of recognition of his master, B. K. S. Iyengar became his own master and his first pupil; in the tradition of Hatha Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar insisted particularly on the practice of asanas – yoga postures, and that pranayama.
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundaraj Iyengar was born in 1918 into a poor family in the village of Bellur in Karnataka State, South India. During the global flu epidemic of 1918, her mother was struggling with the disease and there was little hope he survives; he was born weak, with arms and skinny legs, a bulging belly and a big head; his health was deteriorated later by successive crises of malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis. When he was about nine years old, his father died; child puny and sickly without education, no one can help him back to health, he had to spend more time in bed than at school and his studies were affected by. His life took a positive turn in March 1934 when, at age 16, he was introduced to yoga in Mysore, led by Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who was his guru and his brother in law, married to his older sister; it taught him some basics of asana for better health and made germinate B.K.S. Iyengar keen interest in yoga; he remained with his guru for two years; July 9, 1943, he married Ramamani and four months after their marriage and without any resources, he was sent to Pune to teach yoga to young people in college; he has five daughters: Geeta, Vanitha, Suchitha, Sunitha and Savitha, and a son Prashant.
B.K.S. Iyengar was famous students such as J. Krishnamurti, Jayaprakash Narayan, Achyut Patwardhan, Aldous Huxley, Queen of Belgium and Yehudi Menuhin. The decisive meeting with the latter in 1952 will be followed by meetings with other personalities that will allow B.K.S. Iyengar begin teaching in the West.
Having spent his entire life traveling and teaching, conducting thousands of demonstrations and conferences unabated in every continent up in 2011, China has trained thousands of teachers and inspired to go up yoga centers that disseminate his art worldwide. He left us last August 20, 2014, in his 96th year. He believed that age should not prevent the practice of yoga and continued to do his exercises of asanas and pranayama to the end of his life. He wrote that death is inevitable, but he was not thinking. “Birth and death are beyond human control. They are not my field. The complexity of the spiritual life ends with death, and with it all the joys and sorrows. When you are free from this complexity, death is gentle and natural.” A true yogi does not die before his death, maintained B.K.S. Iyengar. His life was proof.
In 1966 B.K.S. Iyengar publishes Yoga Dipika : Light on Yoga, which is translated into over 20 languages. He has published 14 books so far and participated in numerous conferences and workshops. It defines yoga as both “an art, a science and a philosophy.” Certified teachers teach worldwide in strict accordance with the precepts of B.K.S. Iyengar and are certified after a long and rigorous training. There are several levels of qualification granted by the skills and experience of the teacher.
“Let intelligence uniformly penetrate through the body towards its tips, like the sun.”
Created in 1973, the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, in the state of Maharashtra, permanently hosts students from all over the world. The instruction is mainly in English. Since many years, Geeta and Prashant, two of his children, continuing the work of transmission by teaching daily classes and Sunitha, one of her other daughters, and recently Abhijata, one of his daughters.
The institute is named for the wife of B.K.S. Iyengar and three floors symbolize the body, mind and soul, as well as eight columns represent the eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga by Patanjali : yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.
The center’s library houses more than 10,000 books in several languages on philosophy, anatomy, physiology, ayurveda, medicine and of course yoga.
- Yoga Dipika : Lumière sur le yoga, Buchet/Chastel
- La Bible du yoga, J’ ai Lu ,
- L’Arbre du yoga, Buchet/Chastel,
- Pranayama dipika : Lumière sur le Pranayama, Buchet/Chastel,
- Lumière sur les Yoga Sutra de Patañjali, Buchet/Chastel,
- Le Coeur des yogas sutras, Buchet/Chastel,
- L ‘arbre de vie , Buchet/Chastel
- Le yoga , joyau de la femme, de S.Geeta Iyengar , Buchet/Chastel
“When I practice, I am a philosopher ; when I teach, I am a scientist ; when I demonstrate I am an artist.” B.K.S. IYENGAR
“Health is the complete harmony of body, mind and spirit ; when one is free from physical limitations and mental distractions, the doors that lead to the discovery of his soul are open.” B.K.S. IYENGAR
“The asana is the perfect stability of the body and mind, and the mind of kindness.” Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, II, 46
“Pranayama destroys the veil that covers the light of knowledge.” Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, II, 52
“When the body and mind are purified and the senses in control, also appears a joyful awareness needed to achieve the inner being.” Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, II, 41