Light On Iyengar
Posted by terrepruitt on May 9, 2015
Some of you may have heard of Iyengar yoga. It is a form of Hatha yoga created by Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar. It was borne from hours and hours (equating to years and years) of practice. Iyengar yoga focuses on doing the asanas in a precise and exact manner with mindfulness and specific breath. The poses are also held so that the practitioner can have “microscopic awareness and inner penetration” and not just mechanically do the pose without thought. I never knew Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (B.K.S.) Iyengar’s story and having just learned it, I find it very interesting.
His brother-in-law was a “respected yoga scholar” and he asked B.K.S. to move to his city to help his sister with running the house. B.K.S.’s brother-in-law, Tirumalai Krishnamarcharya, was not impressed with B.K.S. suggesting he should practice yoga to improve his health. B.K.S. did, and after three years he noticed improvement. His brother-in-law ran a yoga school and during a yoga demonstration asked B.K.S. to execute a pose he was not familiar with much less able to do. But B.K.S. did it anyway and injured himself. It took him years to fully heal the injury.
This was the catalyst for his thoughts on progression and sequencing. He realized that one needs to work his way up to certain poses. One needs to prepare himself both mentally and physically for certain asanas. Poses should not be done without any preparation.
B.K.S. married during the time when yoga was not very popular and his efforts to bring it to a wider audience did not help his family’s financial situation. It took 12 years for B.K.S. situation to change for the better and many more years for yoga to become popular. But as you may know yoga eventually caught on and is now practiced in many corners of the world.
In 1975, three years after his wife, Ramaamani Iyengar, died, the Ramaamani Iyengar Memorial Institute in Pune, India was opened. Thousands of people attend the yoga school to learn Iyengar yoga.
B.K.S. Iyengar died in August of 2014. If you consider 1934, when he moved to Mysore to help his sister, as the year he started doing yoga, he had been doing yoga for 80 years. He died when he was 95.
The title of this post is a play on the titles his books Light On Yoga, Light On Pranayama, Light on Astanga Yoga, and Light on Life. Having not read any of them, I am assuming the books shed light on each subject in the title. Since I just learned a bit about B.K.S. Iyengar I thought I would share, shedding some light.
I just received B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga The Path To Holistic Health, I am sure that I will be learning a lot more about Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar and Iyengar yoga so I am sure I will be sharing more about it. With the different branches of yoga and the many different types there is always something to learn and that means there is always something to share!
Have you heard of Iyengar yoga? Do you do yoga? What type of yoga do you do?