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BKS Iyengar

 - Shardana Yoga Ashraya
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (BKS) Iyengar was born into a poor Brahmin family in the village of Bellur, in Karnataka, on 14 December 1918, during the deadly influenza outbreak. Sickly and weak from birth BKS Iyengar was not blessed with good health in his childhood and youth. Recurrent bouts of malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis made him weaker and weaker and doctors feared he might not survive beyond his twenties. In 1934 a life changing event: his sister married a well respected Yoga Master and Scholar, Shri T. Krishnamacharya, who introduced him to Yoga. He started a stern regimen of practice under his guru’s guidance to regain his health. In 1936, when he was only 18 and not fully recovered he was sent to Pune on his guru's request to teach yoga in the renowned Deccan Gymkhana, a training Academy for wrestlers. Without the guidance of his guru BKS Iyengar was forced to deepen his practice and learn directly from his experience.  In 1943 he married Ramamani. The religious fervor with which he devoted himself to the practice and teaching of yoga soon gained him respect and admiration.

 - Shardana Yoga Ashraya
In 1952 he met the internationally renowned violinist Yehudi Menhuin, which would be crucial for the spreading of yoga in Europe and worldwide. From 1954 BKS Iyengar was regularly invited to hold classes in Switzerland, homeland of the violinist, but also in England and France. His reputation grew and the number of followers increased dramatically. In 1965 his first book Light on Yoga was published and turned out to be an international best seller. It included the widest range of illustrations of asana (yoga poses) and detailed instructions for practice. In 1975 the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune was founded, in memory of his recently departed wife. The Institute became a place of pilgrimage for yoga students from all over the world to study at the feet of the Master. BKS Iyengar continued tirelessly in his mission to spread yoga beyond India’s borders giving yoga demonstrations and holding classes worldwide.

 - Shardana Yoga Ashraya

In 1984, after nearly 50 years of intense teaching, he announced his intention to leave to the next generation, his daughter Geeta and his son Prashant, the responsibility to teach classes at the Institute. In reality BKS Iyengar up till today continues to have a very active role at the Institute, in particular in therapeutic classes where his knowledge remains unsurpassed. He is also actively involved in the projects of the Bellur Trust, a charitable organisation founded to help the people of his native village Bellur. Until his death in 2014 at the glorious age of 95 BKS Iyengar continued with his genius to inspire and guide generations after generations of yoga practitioners. His religious fervor never left him and his practice was always intense (the picture on the left which shows him in Shirshasana has been taken after his 95th birthday!). He is acclaimed as the greatest yoga master of this century. He received many awards in his own country as well as worldwide and he was nominated for The Nobel Peace Prize for his untiring effort of sculpting manking by spreading peace through the practice of Yoga.

 'Before we can find peace among nations we must find peace inside that small nation which is our own being' BKS Iyengar

Shloka (verse) In Praise of the Guru

 

Brahmaanandam Parama Sukhadam
Kevalam Jnaana Murtim
Dvandvaa Teetam Gagana Sadrisham
Tatvam Asyaadi Lakshyam
Ekam Nityam Vimalam Achalam
Sarvadhee Saakshi Bhutam
Bhavaateetam Triguna Rahitam
Sadgurum Tam Namaami

This sloka tries to describe the qualities of a true Guru. A real Guru has the following qualities. He experiences the supreme Bliss of Brahmaananda (transcedental divine bliss). He enjoys and confers changeless supreme happiness. He is beyond space and time (there is nothing higher than him). He is the embodiment of wisdom which is the basis for all types of knowledge. He transcends the pair of opposites (such as happiness and sorrow, gain and loss). He is more Omnipresent than space itself. He is the very embodiment of the Divine principle, which is the inner meaning of the four great pronouncements Prajnaanam Brahma, Aham Brahmasmi, Tat Tvam Asi and Ayam Aatma Brahma. He is One without a second (ekam). He never changes under any circumstances (nityam). He is without any type of impurity (vimalam). He is steady and motionless (achalam). He is the witness of everything. He transcends mental comprehension and verbal explanation. He is beyond the three gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas). I offer my humble salutations to such a Guru who possesses all these qualities.

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Utthita Trikonasana

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Utthita Parsvakonasana

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Ardha Chandrasana

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Parsvottanasana

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Adho Mukha Svanasana

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Shirshasana

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Uttanasana

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Halasana