Yoga Master B.K.S. Iyengar practised and taught yoga for over 80 years. He developed an understanding of the human body, its energy and purpose which became famous through his books. Published in 1964 “Light on Yoga” has become the gold standard for yoga worldwide.
Training to become an Iyengar teacher is a rigorous task. Certification demands precise standards of personal practice, deep understanding of prescribed asanas (poses), and the ability to clearly demonstrate them.
It was Mr. Iyengar, known as Guruji, to whom we owe the development and correct use of props. Chairs, blocks and straps enable anyone to benefit from the practice, regardless of physical condition or experience. His creativity introduced the rope wall, the back bender and many more specifically designed supports so students could spend more time in the asanas.
Although yoga in the Western world now is recognised under many varied labels, Guruji’s insistence that consciousness and sensitivity be part of our practice remains the basis of the teaching. He used the term Raja Yoga since Iyengar students are asked not only to practice the physical positions, but to widen their understanding by studying the “Yoga Sutra”. This document, written about 1,500 years ago, is a collation of the knowledge of yoga at that time. The author Patanjali explored the “nature of yoga, consciousness and the human condition” as Guruji describes it, explaining “the relationship between the natural world and the innermost and transcendent soul”. Do we want to be free of suffering in this life? Study how through these aphorisms.
Bibliography ( highlights )
Light on Yoga
Light on Pranayama
Light on the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
Tree of Yoga
Light on Life
In an interview with Yoga Journal at the age of 90 Guruji was asked "What is Iyengar yoga?"
He answered: I myself do not know [laughs]. People, for convenience’s sake, brand my practice as Iyengar Yoga. I just try to get the physical body in line with the mental body, the mental body with the intellectual body, and the intellectual body with the spiritual body, so they are balanced. Each asana has an optimum line or position. From the head to the foot, from the front to the back, from the right to the left—without deviation, without distortion. Beyond that, I don’t think I’ve done anything. It’s just pure traditional yoga, from our ancestors, from our gurus, from Patanjali.”