B. K. S. Iyengar: A Pioneer In Yoga Practice

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Photo: Courtesy Of Tori Milner.

A Legacy that has inspired and touched the lives of millions worldwide

Life and Influence

B. K. S. Iyengar, a yoga icon, left an enduring legacy in the world of yoga. He was
instrumental in bringing yoga to the Western world and developed his own widely
practiced style. His authoritative guides on yoga, such as Light on Yoga,
are considered essential references. Iyengar believed that “action is movement
with intelligence” and emphasized the importance of “conscious movement.” In
recognition of his profound impact on yoga, Iyengar was included in TIME’s 100
list in 2004.

Therapeutic Approach

Iyengar was a strong advocate for the therapeutic benefits of yoga. Having begun
practicing asana to address health issues as a child, he developed a unique style
of yoga that is known for its focus, precision, and attention to detail. Classes
involve holding postures for extended periods of time, building strength,
stamina, discipline, and patience. Iyengar’s emphasis on proper alignment is
supported by the use of props like blankets, blocks, rope walls, and straps,
facilitating postural adjustments and providing safer modifications for challenging

Influences on Global Yoga

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences upon Iyengar’s
passing, highlighting the profound impact he had on yoga practitioners
worldwide. Instructors who studied under Iyengar shared their personal experiences
and reflections on how this yoga icon shaped their lives:

  • Tori Milner, a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher, described Iyengar’s style as
    fostering “true integration” and an awareness of oneself through a deep
    exploration of poses.
  • Carrie Owerko, another certified Iyengar Yoga teacher, shared that Iyengar’s
    observant nature and curiosity extended beyond asana practice, encouraging
    students to listen to their bodies and remain open to learning.

Propelling a Movement

Iyengar’s innovative use of props in yoga practice was a groundbreaking approach
that helped people of all ages and abilities experience the benefits of yoga. His
legacy extends beyond his teachings and practices, inspiring a passion for learning
and a love of yoga that continues to resonate with practitioners worldwide.

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