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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.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoHis 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?

8 Responses to “Light On Iyengar”

  1. Yes, I do my own private yoga practice. I was trained in Iyengar yoga. Teaching yoga did not give me the same passionate sensation that Nia does — I’m more of a dancer than a yogini, but I do love my little yoga practice. I follow Hope Zvara who is on YouTube and she also has a studio in Hartford (which is where I live!) but her class times don’t coincide with my schedule, so I just follow her YouTube videos. Thanks for your post!

    Parmahansa Yogananda has some wonderful books out which you might like, too.


    • I have WAY, too many yoga books. It is funny because the same pose can have five names. 🙂 I am always bummed where there is a class I want to take, but it happens at the same time I am teaching. 🙂

      XOXO – Love seeing you here!


  2. I have heard of Iyengar though never taken a class in that style. The slow pace and static nature of the practice hasn’t appealed to me (probably because It’s what I most need!) but I respect the attention to alignment he emphasized.


    • Ha, ha, ha, ha. I just had that same thought recently (doesn’t appeal, but maybe because I need it most). But then maybe not . . . some call it the perfectionists yoga and I usually need to be more fluid/flexible than rigid (I dare not say perfect because I am not!). That is why Nia is great for me because there is a “perfect” (but not really) to be obtained but most of the stuff on the way there is acceptable and embraced. I also, respect, and emphasize in my classes, the attention to alignment.

      Thanks for commenting, Elysha!


  3. Angelica Barell said

    Hi Terre

    Nice blog! You know that Louiza is an Iyengar practicioner, right? Are you teaching gentle yoga tomorrow at Bascom? I think I would like to start coming back to classes in a gentle way like that.

    Love, Angelica


    • Hi Angelica!

      Yup. I do know that Iyengar is what Louiza teaches. I was hoping one day to attend one of her classes she is still teaching, but they don’t sound like drop-in type of things. And yes, I am teaching tomorrow (Gentle Yoga) at Bascom!

      I am glad you are feeling better enough to think about slowly transitioning back into movement.

      Hugs to you, Dear One!


  4. Student said

    Hi Terre,
    Iyengar Yoga is my practice. I teach it and would recommend it to all. The style is methodical and succinct. Props may be used to make the pose accessible to all or to go deeper into a pose. BKS iyengar dedicated his life to the practice. He
    studied his students to understand their physical challenges. He would not rest until he found a slution. Iyengar yoga is therapeutic besides a means to unite body mind and soul.
    Terre I’m happy to hear you have an interest in BKS Iyengar and his work.
    I will see you in Nia for some movement and dance.

    Lots of hugs,


    • I do know you teach Iyengar. 🙂 I am intrigued by his story.

      There are so many types of yoga, it is nice to expand my knowledge of yoga by exploring them.

      Love dancing with you, so do join us when you can! XOXO!


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