About BKS Iyengar
The full name of BKS Iyengar, one of the most renowned yoga gurus in
the whole world, is Belur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar. Popularly
known as Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, he is man who founded the Iyengar
Yoga. The guru has been teaching people the art of yoga since the past
sixty years and at the same time, is the author of numerous books on
yogic practice and philosophy, along with several definitive yoga texts.
His most popular books include 'Light on Yoga', 'Light on Pranayama'
and 'Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali'. The majority of credit for
the introduction of yoga in the west goes to Sri BKS Iyengar only. One
can find Iyengar yoga centers even in the remotest corners of the world.
Today, the great man is over 80 years old and still stands as strong as
ever. With this biography, you will get a brief introduction on BKS
His Life History
Sri B.K.S. Iyengar was born on 14th December 1918 in the Belur district
of Karnataka. He faced difficulties in the early stages of life itself.
Iyengar was born into a large poor family and immediately after his
birth; he fell in the grips of an influenza epidemic that left him
totally frail and unhealthy. Then, the poor boy lost his father at the
tender age of nine years. Thereafter, he went to live with his brother
in Bangalore. Throughout his childhood, BKS Iyengar experienced one
illness or the other, including malaria, tuberculosis and typhoid, along
When he turned fifteen, he went to Mysore to stay with his eldest
sister and her husband, a scholar and a yogi, Sri T. Krishnamacharya.
Krishnamacharya used to teach yoga to people in his own school, which
was situated in the Palace of the Raja of Mysore. It was in this school
that Iyengar learnt the basic asana of Yoga, which led to a considerable
improvement in his health. In the year 1937, his Guru asked him to go to
Pune and teach yoga there. There, he faced great difficulty because of
little knowledge of the English language and lack of schooling.
At the same time, B.K.S. Iyengar has little experience or theoretical
knowledge in the field of yoga. Still, he decided to first learn by
trial and error and then, practice thoroughly to make himself perfect.
This period turned out to be another difficult phase in his life, when
he survived on a diet of mostly bread or rice and kept practicing for
hours at a stretch. With time, the number of students attending his yoga
classes began to increase. However, the monetary compensation was still
not too great. In 1943, BKS Iyengar got married to Ramamani.
Slowly and gradually, B.K.S. Iyengar gained recognition as a yoga
teacher in the Indian subcontinent. However, international recognition
still seemed to be a distant task. It was in 1952, when he met violinist
Yehudi Menuhin, that he started moving on the road to international
appreciation. Menuhin made arrangements for taking Iyengar to countries
like London, Switzerland and Paris, where he was supposed to teach yoga
to the people. With this, he came into contact with people belonging to
different countries and different walks of life.
The fame of BKS Iyengar started growing day by day and he began writing
books on yoga. His first book 'Light on Yoga' was published in the year
1966 and went on to become one of the international bestsellers. The
latest book of BKS Iyengar, 'Yoga: The path to Holistic Health' was
published in 2001. The guru opened his own institute in Pune, by the
name of 'Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute', in the memory of his
wife. He still stays and, at times, teaches at the institute.
BKS Iyengar officially retired from teaching in the year 1984.
However, he continues to take medical as well as yoga classes, at
special events. At the same time, he is also actively involved in the
promotion of yoga throughout the world. These days, classes are being
conduced by his daughter Geeta, his son Prashant and other senior
Yoga comprises of eight different aspects, namely Yama and Niyama,
Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Iyengar yoga
is a form of yoga, which serves as a way of life to all. It is meant for
each and every individual and makes use of props. An individual uses
things like wooden gadgets, belts, ropes, etc, to achieve perfection in
any asana. Regular practice of 'Iyengar Yoga' leads to an integration of
the body, the mind as well as the emotions.
The efforts of BKS Iyengar in the filed of Yoga were recognized by the
Government of India, which then awarded him with two awards.