B.K.S. Iyengar & the Iyengar family
The world’s most widely practised method of yoga is that taught by Yogacharya Sri B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India. Born on December 14, 1918, in Bellur, India, he studied and practised yoga continuously for over 85 years. BK.S. Iyengar is acknowledged by many as one of the world’s greatest yoga teachers.
Mr Iyengar’s thorough study, understanding and mastery of yoga are unrivalled in modern times. Having taught for over 75 years in all five continents, he won worldwide respect and recognition for his achievements and made yoga accessible and relevant to people everywhere, no matter what their physical or mental ability. He set the standard for his teachers and students while his textbooks on yoga have become classics. He set up the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India (named after his late wife, Ramamani) where his son Sri Prashant Iyengar and granddaughter Abhijata Sridhar Iyengar are now directors.
Triumphing over poverty and serious childhood illness, B.K.S. Iyengar began his study of yoga at a young age with his guru, T. Krishnamacharya. Practicing hour after hour, year after year, he acquired the encyclopedic knowledge, which fired his teaching.
Yogacharya Sri B.K.S. Iyengar brought yoga to the west with his pioneering teaching in the 70s, the beginning of today’s explosive growth in yoga. His seminal manual Light on Yoga, called “the bible of yoga” and continuously in print since 1966, has been the source book for generations of yoga students.
His invention of yoga props — now ubiquitous in yoga studios of all styles — revolutionized the art. Blankets, belts and other devices allow students of all skill levels to work safely in the classical yoga asanas (postures). He also revolutionized the therapeutic applications of yoga, gaining recognition for yoga as treatment for serious medical conditions.
Mr. Iyengar continued his daily practice at RIMYI until shortly before his death at the age of 95 on August 20, 2014. The Institute, which now attracts thousands of visitors from around the world, was named for his late wife Ramamani, who died shortly before it was completed.
Mr. Iyengar also transformed his ancestral village of Bellur, in southern India, with a visionary series of projects including a hospital, a water treatment plant, educational opportunities including those for the girls of the village, and India’s first temple dedicated to Patanjali.
B.K.S. Iyengar’s other influential works include Light on Pranayama, Light on the Yoga Sutras, The Tree of Yoga and Light on Life (see our list of suppliers to order these books).
Dr Geeta S. Iyengar
Dr Geeta S. Iyengar, eldest daughter of Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar was considered by her students to be the world’s leading female yoga teacher.
She studied yoga with her father from an early age and, after graduating from high school in 1961, she began substituting for her father when he was away on international teaching tours. Since her father’s retirement in 1984, she was co-director, with her brother Prashant S. Iyengar, of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) Pune, as well as undertaking her own international teaching tours. She visited the UK twice to teach at large conventions.
Geetaji adapted her father’s method of yoga to the specific requirements of women. Specific asanas, pranayama and sequences are given for different stages in a woman’s life including menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause.
Geetaji died on 16 December 2018, aged 74, two days after her father’s birth centenary.
Prashant S. Iyengar
Sri Prashant Iyengar is the son of BKS Iyengar and the director of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) where he teaches daily classes and specialised workshops.
He gives many talks on yoga and conducts a weekly session on the yoga sutras with his nephew Srineet Sridharan https://yogasutras-rimyi.blogspot.com
His teachings encourage us to broaden out the concepts of yoga beyond the physical practice and outcomes of health and wellbeing. He urges his students to study the interplay of mind, body and breath and how they resonate with the yoga within.
He also emphasises the importance of being your own teacher and, as such, learning through exploring, experimenting and observing. He warns us to be very wary of received techniques and dogma, not to limit our practice by simply “doing” asana and pranayama, but to open ourselves up to a complete immersion in this amazing subject.
He is also a great scholar and has written many books on the subject of yoga.
Abhijata Sridhar Iyengar
Abhijata Sridhar Iyengar is one of the most experienced teachers at RIMYI in Pune and has been involved with the practice and philosophy of yoga since the age of 16. She was taught by her grandfather, Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, as well as her aunt, Geeta and uncle, Prashant. She travelled with BKS Iyengar to Rusia and China for conventions and also joined Geeta in conventions in the UK, Australia and the US. Abhijata is also a director of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI).
A talk by Prashantji titled ‘International Yoga Day – Our Responsibilities’ has been released on Facebook. Click here to watch A series of recent talks by Prashantji on Yoga Education are available on our YouTube channel.
‘The Yoga Teacher and the Violinist’ Listen to the story of how BKS Iyengar and violinist Yehudi Menuhin helped bring yoga to the West on the BBC’s Witness History programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csywv7
Watch Abhijata’s opening speech from the recent IYNAUS Convention: For more videos from this Convention visit the IYNAUS website
Here are two obituaries that have been written to celebrate Geeta’s life and work. A book of condolence will be compiled and if you wish to email firstname.lastname@example.org your messages will be included; please let Charlotte know which Member Group or region you belong to. Obituary from the Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/geeta-iyengar-renowned-yoga-exponent-passes-away-at-74/articleshow/67119933.cms…
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. [accordion clicktoclose=true] [accordion-item title=”Tricia Booth” id=TB state=closed] I first met Guruji in my early 30s. I…
Ramamani Iyengar 90th Birthday Celebrations 2nd November 2017 marks the 90th Birth Anniversary of Ramamani Iyengar, B.K.S. Iyengar’s beloved wife, who died in 1973. With the blessings of their daughter Geeta Iyengar, to help mark the occasion several events will be happening to commemorate and to recognise her great contribution to the lives of Guruji,…
The guru B.K.S. Iyengar died last year. He was credited by many with being instrumental in introducing the contemporary practice of yoga to Britain. Mark Tully knew him personally and discusses the benefits of yoga in this BBC radio programme inspired by the life of BKS Iyengar. Click here
Following a similar announcement by the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States , we would like to invite all Iyengar yoga practitioners in the UK and Ireland to take part in a communal dedication to the memory of our Guru, B. K. S. Iyengar, next Thursday (28th August) at 8.30pm.