Thursday, August 21, 2014


HATHA YOGA TO THE WEST, DIES AT 95 - B. K. S. Iyengar, who helped introduce the practice of yoga to a Western world awakening to the notion of an inner life, died on Wednesday in the southern Indian city of Pune. He was 95. The cause was heart failure, said Abhijata Sridhar-Iyengar, his granddaughter. 
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar was born on Dec. 14, 1918, into a poor family in the southern state of Karnataka. The 11th of 13 children, he was born in the midst of an influenza outbreak. After surviving tuberculosis, typhoid and malaria as a child, Mr. Iyengar credited yoga with saving his life. He spent his midteens demonstrating “the most impressive and bewildering” positions in the court of the Maharaja of Mysore, he later recalled. The news about Mr. Iyengar - or “guru-ji,” as many here called him, using a Sanskrit honorific - rippled through India on Wednesday morning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he was “deeply saddened” by Mr. Iyengar’s death and offered “condolences to his followers all over the world.” Mr. Iyengar’s practice is characterized by long asanas, or postures, that require extraordinary will and discipline. A reporter who watched daily practice in 2002, when Mr. Iyengar was 83, said that he held one headstand for six minutes, swiveling his legs to the right and the left, and that when he finished, “his shoulder-length hair was awry, he seemed physically depleted,” but he wore the smile of a gleeful child. 
Ms. Sridhar-Iyengar said her grandfather recognized early on that yoga, up until then viewed as a mystical pursuit, “had something for everybody, not just the intellectually or spiritually inclined.” “He felt satisfied,” she said. “Even at the end, even a few weeks before, he said, ‘I’m satisfied with what I’ve done.’ He took yoga to the world. He knew that.”

World-renowned yoga exponent B.K.S. Iyengar passed away at a private hospital in Pune yesterday morning. He was 95. Mr. Iyengar, was put on dialysis since Sunday owing to renal failure. Mr. Iyengar, who abhorred hospitals and clinics, failed to respond to the treatment owing to heart problems brought on by advanced age. Despite suffering two massive heart-attacks in 1996 and 1998, Mr. Iyengar, with his near-legendary regimen and discipline, rebounded and kept up a punishing teaching schedule, touring Russia and China in recent years. Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar codified Patanjali’s yoga sutras in an innovatively dynamic yoga style, which came to be known as Iyengar Yoga, winning millions of followers in more than 70 countries of the globe in the process. Mr. Iyengar was honoured with Padma Shri in 1991, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2014 in recognition of his services to spreading knowledge of Indian culture and tradition globally. B.K.S. Iyengar wrote an enthusiastic endorsement for the book “Journey Home”, the autobiography of ISKCON leader and Vaishnava guru Radhanath Swami. “I respect my friend, now Shri Radhanath Swamiji who pursued his spiritual journey experiencing unity in diversity which is a part and parcel of Indian culture, met various spiritual heads in his journey and gained knowledge of Adhyaatma Vidya progressively, and then culminating his journey from the seeker to the state of the seer.” Hatha-yoga is one of the eight steps of Raja-yoga. Nonetheless, it can be used separately, only for helping keep the body and mind fit and in shape. In the West, many seekers of spirituality could come to know something about the wonderful Vedic wisdom when they started the practice of Hatha Yoga. (Editor's note).

Hatha Yoga is founded on a principle of putting the physical body into a position so that the nerve currents in the physical body get tuned up to a perfect pitch. [...] Perform the postures daily in the privacy of your own room, without drawing attention to yourself. Naturally, they should not be performed after meals. Don’t worry if you can’t perform them perfectly, or if some are difficult  you.  [...] When physical tensions are released through Hatha Yoga, mental-emotional tensions are automatically dissolved. This is a great secret and a wonderful tool that you can use every day of your life. Free the mind of thoughts and tensions and you will be more aware, more alive, and more serene. As you perform the Hatha yoga asanas, put out of your mind all thoughts relating to your work, family, friends, associates, problems and challenges that normally concern you. Relax. Relax. Relax. Be completely at peace with yourself and fully enjoy this contemplative art.

“What Is Hinduism?” : 
Chapter 34 “Hatha Yoga”
“A 24-Posture System of Body Tuning and Preparation for Meditation”
Hinduism Today Magazine
Himalaya Academy, India - USA - 2007

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"


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