B.K.S. Iyengar Centenary Year 2018: Your tributes
In celebration of the hundredth year since the birth of B.K.S. Iyengar, each month we’ll be posting a selection of your tributes. Click on a name to open or close their contribution.
I first met Guruji in my early 30s. I am now nearly 80. He was giving a talk and demonstration at Umist, part of Manchester University.
I was so impressed with his sincerity and wisdom that I vowed to follow him as his student.
Through my lessons with him in the U.K. and Pune over the last, nearly 50 years, he has been my mentor and friend. Sometimes a hard task master but always concerned about my well being.
Thank you Guruji.
Tricia’s memory of her first visit to Pune in 1977:
I had practised Iyengar Yoga and had become a teacher. Although I had had lessons with Guruji on his visits to the U.K. I wanted and needed to visit the Institute in Pune. So in January 1977 I did.
In those days the classes were small. There were 30 of us from Manchester . Guruji met us on the stairs as we entered the yoga room. We had seen photos of the practice room and when we entered I made the comment that it felt like coming home. He immediately said ‘Yes this is your Spiritual Home’.
Over the following visits I have always remembered him welcoming us to our Spiritual Home.
A beam of light radiated from Mr Iyengar as he entered the yoga room, he was so focused, observant, instructive and thoroughly in control of the class. No one could linger in the background. Yoga taught by Guruji was completely in the moment, I will always remember his insight, instruction and presence.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I have often wondered how can someone I have never met have so much positive influence on my life: David Bowie and BKS Iyengar. I was lucky to see David Bowie three times but never meet him, yet strangely it is Mr Iyengar whom I feel like I have! After BKS Iyengar died I realised that it is because I have lived and learnt his teachings through others who have shared his passion for yoga and life. I have been taught by those who were taught by him, I have been and still am told stories continually about him, we are still taught by his family and his principle pupils, we are still all that close to him.
I didn’t need to meet Iyengar himself, (but would’ve have loved to), because I have experienced him through others. I have learnt that Iyengar’s selfless teachings and instructions are to be passed on, to be shared, to be practised ‘pass it on’. Not only did Mr Iyengar inspire me to practice, he inspired me to draw. By observing the photos in Light on Yoga and drawing the postures it helps me to help me understand their direction, their actions, their links and by putting pictures together, as opposed to a list of Sanskrit names, I hope I pass something on to inspire my students and others to carry on their practice at home.
Oddly I was visiting Pune for the first time, to be taught at the Iyengars’ home of yoga when I heard that Bowie had died, but I knew, this is not something to be sad about as the ‘work’ of geniuses lives on forever.
Kirsten Agar Ward
Words cannot adequately express my gratitude. Told by medics we had a 0.0001% chance of a pregnancy without unaffordable IVF, Guruji helped us with yoga programmes, we performed pujas and we were blessed with our son. Guruji was so compassionate and generous in helping us all in so many ways – directly like this, by his teaching of course, by his example. Being in his presence, whether in practice, class, or more informally was awesome. He gave us so much. It was truly a godsend to live at the same time as he and to have encountered him directly.
Richard Agar Ward
One may seldom ever meet souls as evolved as Guruji. Perhaps those such as he may only emerge once every few hundred years. Those of us who learned directly from Guruji were especially fortunate. Guruji was transformed by his own efforts in the field of Yoga. He received Divine Grace to become the outstanding individual, practitioner and teacher in the art, science and philosophy of Yoga in the twentieth century. If anyone can be said to have lived life to its potential it was he. We pupils should be eternally grateful. What would our lives have been like without him?
Guruji’s hands: In 1987 I was able to spend a little time with Guruji outside the class. I mentioned to him that I was developing an amateur interest in palmistry. He asked me if I wanted to look at his hands. On inspection I found it hard to believe my eyes. The lines on his right and his left hand, though numerous, were absolutely identical to each other. This I have never seen before or since. His fingers were straight, above all, his middle finger on each hand. I said, “It looks like self-discipline is your strong point.” Yes, he said!
I was studying in Pune at the institute for the first and only time in August 2010. It was early in the morning and still dark outside and we were taking our first class with Aby. She had been berating us because everybody’s postures looked a bit dull and lacklustre and she wasn’t wrong!
All at once I became aware of a new alertness in the crowded studio, it reminded me of a pack of meerkats standing sentry. Suddenly legs had straightened, spines extended, shoulders retracted, ribs softened, it was the yogic equivalent of a Mexican wave. I dutifully copied but it was only a moment later that I understood the cause…..Guruji himself had entered the studio for his self practice, I think I saw him smile to himself, but I may have imagined it. Despite the fact that I could never claim I met him directly, I certainly felt his presence!