BKS Iyengar (1918 – 2014) is recognized as one of the principal yogis responsible for introducing yoga to the West. Today, the Iyengar style of yoga is one of the most widely practiced forms of yoga worldwide.
Mr. Iyengar is known for his extraordinary personal practice, his genius as a teacher, and his lifelong dedication to disseminating the ancient art of yoga around the world. A consummate teacher, his distinctive style includes specificity of instruction, innovative sequences of poses, and a profound understanding of the connection between mind and body. He introduced the use of props, including the sticky mat, block, strap, and many more, to help all practitioners experience the essence of yoga poses (asanas). His deep understanding of the effects of yoga asanas led him to be a pioneer in the field of yoga therapeutics, and he is arguably the foremost practitioner of yoga therapy today. He is the author of many classical works including Light on Yoga, the seminal text on yoga postures.
Mr. Iyengar remains unsurpassed in his practice and teaching. Until a few weeks before his death at age 95, he practiced in public every day in the main hall at his Institute in Pune, India. Anyone who witnessed his practice could see the vitality and intense discipline that permeated every pose.
Video of Iyengar’s Practice:
Below is a montage of BKS Iyengar’s yoga demonstrations over the years, created in honor of his 2005 visit to the United States. In this montage, you can observe Iyengar practicing over a span of five decades. Most of the footage is taken from three sources:
Outdoor shots in black & white (India, 1938): Iyengar at age 20
Outdoor shots in color on terrace (India, 1975): Iyengar at age 57
Indoor performance on red carpet (Harvard, 1987): Iyengar at age 69