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In Memoriam B.K.S. Iyengar 1918-2014

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar  B.K.S. Iyengar. Photographed at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, in Pune, India. Photograph: Michael O'Neill "Only his body has ended. One person's efforts from inside out, changed the acceptance of yoga throughout the world. Nothing was hidden, from the time he began to practice, to his illness and death. Even last night he was telling Abhijata (Mr. Iyengar's granddaughter), 'I have shown you all these things, now realize them for yourself.' What he has given cannot be encompassed by words. If a disciple is more developed, then that person will understand. What can be said in words, is that he was precious to us."  — Geeta Iyengar You can find more posts on Times Quotidian about … [Read more...]

The 1008 Names of Vishnu

2009 was a year for auspicious beginnings and none more impressive than the installation and blessing of the new Patanjali murti at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles. It was an honor to be apart of this ceremony and particularly fun to see the community come together, re-up on some old friendships and eat some very tasy cake. — NC This post is in honor of Sri BKS Iyengar's 91st birthday, December 14, 1918. Patanjali Puja at IYILA The date, Sunday July 12, 2009 and hour, 5:30am had been chosen according to Indian astrology as most auspicious for the sanctification of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles and installation of its new Patanjali statue. Indeed, the stars did align for IYILA on that morning. Not only was … [Read more...]

Continuity

I never had the opportunity to work directly with Mr. Iyengar, but did spend many years studying with his student Dona Holleman, pictured here executing Vrschikasana. There is a kind of body knowledge that can only be transfered by being in the presence of the Guru, an absorption of experience fueled by unbroken attention. In the early days, when Mr. Iyengar had only a few sheep in the flock, circumstance allowed for daily hands on learning at the source. Much like Sri T. Krishnamacharya instructed the young BKS Iyengar, so did Mr. Iyengar teach Dona Holleman. It is truly extraordinary to have this photograph to show the continuity in the teaching. This photo was taken in the mid 1960's. Dona remains as supple and focused as pictured. She … [Read more...]

Wisdom Work

These pictures were taken in June 2008, at Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India. This is Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar (Guruji), 90 years of age, assisting his student in the execution of the posture (asana) called Vrschikasana. Vrschik means a scorpion. In order to sting its victim the scorpion arches its tail above its back and then strikes beyond its head. This asana resembles that of a striking scorpion, hence the name. I am riveted to these pictures trying to appropriate for myself the adjustments Mr. Iyengar is administering to his student, Raya; the specific touch that would inspire the body and mind to strike, to form, the posture. At first viewing one can detect how Guruji is using his own … [Read more...]

The Invocation to Patanjali

I have been a yoga practitioner since 1984. In the beginning, like many, I tried on different styles, but eventually settled into method of B.K.S. Iyengar. There will be many many posts to follow on the practice of yoga. But first things first. Here is the chant and translation that is recited before every class. The sound clip is of BKS Iyengar himself.   yogena cittasya padena vacam Yoga for consciousness, grammar for speech malam sarirasya ca vaidyakena medicine for the ills of the body; yopa karottam pravaram muninam he gave us these things the sage patañjalim pranjalir anato’smi Patañjali to whom I pay my respects. abahu purusakaram His upper body (arms) of human form, sankha chakrasi … [Read more...]