Remembering Yoga Guru Shri B.K.S. Iyengar: The Legacy of a Yoga Maestro

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage


Yoga, an ancient practice rooted in Indian philosophy, has influenced millions worldwide, and among its most esteemed proponents was Shri Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (B.K.S.) Iyengar. Known for his innovative approach and dedication to the practice, Iyengar was a pivotal figure in bringing yoga to the Western world. His life and teachings continue to inspire yoga practitioners globally, making him a legendary figure in the world of yoga.

Early Life and Challenges

Born on December 14, 1918, in Bellur, Karnataka, India, B.K.S. Iyengar’s early years were marked by illness and general frailty. His struggle with health in his formative years, including bouts with tuberculosis, typhoid, and malnutrition, led him to yoga, a turning point in his life. At the age of 16, he was introduced to yoga by his brother-in-law, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, also known as the “father of modern yoga.” This initiation was not merely an introduction to a practice but the beginning of a lifelong journey of discovery and mastery.

Development of Iyengar Yoga

B.K.S. Iyengar’s contribution to yoga is monumental, with his development of a form of yoga that emphasized precision and alignment, which later became known as “Iyengar Yoga.” His teaching style was unique in its rigor and attention to detail, often incorporating the use of props like belts, blocks, and blankets to help students achieve deeper poses and better alignment, a revolutionary idea at the time. These innovations have made yoga more accessible and effective for people of all ages and health conditions.

Teaching and Global Influence

Iyengar’s teaching journey began in Pune, India, where his classes started to attract students from around the world. His profound understanding of yoga’s therapeutic effects was backed by his personal experience and experiments with asanas to treat his own ailments and those of his students. His seminal book, “Light on Yoga,” published in 1966, has been translated into multiple languages and serves as a bible for yoga practitioners worldwide. This book was pivotal in popularizing yoga in the West and remains a definitive guide on the subject.

Awards and Recognition

Throughout his life, B.K.S. Iyengar received numerous accolades recognizing his contributions to yoga and health. These include the Padma Shri (1991), Padma Bhushan (2002), and Padma Vibhushan (2014), some of India’s highest civilian awards. His global influence was also recognized by Time magazine, which named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2004.

Philosophical and Spiritual Contributions

Iyengar was not just a master of the physical aspects of yoga; he also delved deeply into its spiritual and philosophical dimensions. His teachings emphasize the unity of body, mind, and soul, and the practice of yoga as a meditative discipline that transcends the physical to attain spiritual upliftment and harmony.

Legacy and Continuing Influence

B.K.S. Iyengar passed away on August 20, 2014, but his legacy endures through his family, students, and the Iyengar Yoga institutes spread across the globe. His daughter, Geeta, and son, Prashant, have continued his work, contributing to the field with their own writings and teachings.


B.K.S. Iyengar’s journey from a sickly boy to a world-renowned yoga guru is a testament to the transformative power of yoga. He not only revolutionized the practice with his innovative techniques and deep understanding but also brought it to the common man, demonstrating that yoga is not just for ascetics in the Himalayas but for everyone, everywhere. His life’s work continues to inspire, and his teachings, a blend of the ancient with the modern, continue to resonate in the hearts of millions around the world, embodying his belief that “Yoga is a light, which once lit will never dim.”

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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