With much fondness, reverence and gratitude we remember Yogacharya Sri BKS Iyengar on the occasion of his 98th birth anniversary. In fact we found just the perfect jewel from our archives to share on this very special occasion as we reminiscence about the energy of Guruji.
While working on our book – Yoga in India: A Journey to the Top 24 Yoga Places, we were at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune and had the good luck of a meeting with Guruji. As we chatted about Yoga in India, the conversation wandered and we asked Guruji about his favorite animal. We captured that moment on video and here’s what he told us….
BY ADITHI MATHEWS
“Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.” – T. Krishnamacharya
For the modern practitioner, Yoga translates to purely Asana or the physical limb of the entire 8 steps which, leads to the state of Samadhi. T. Krishnamacharya, studied Yoga during his childhood from his father and is known to have emphasised his teachings around the physical limb of Yoga – which are Hatha Yoga postures; although he studied the philosophy and other aspects in great detail as well. Emphasising his teachings on Asana, is one of the reasons he is known as the ‘Father of Modern Yoga’. The second reason would be the fact that he was the guru of two of the biggest and most renowned Yoga legends – Pattabi Jois (founder of Ashtanga Yoga) and BKS Iyengar (Iyengar Yoga). (more…)
Continuing our tribute to BKS Iyengar this week, the yoga.in team has selected a few of our favourite videos of BKS Iyengar as a homage to the great yoga master:
Genius In Action: BKS Iyengar
An excerpt from a film tribute created on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of BKS Iyengar’s first trip to the US narrated by his long-time student Patricia Walden.
The Ultimate Freedom Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar
Filmed in black and white in 1976, BKS Iyengar presents a short introduction to yoga followed by the demonstration of asanas.
1938 silent film of Krishnamacharya and BKS Iyengar
This 45-minute black and white silent film was filmed in 1938. We see a young BKS Iyengar demonstrating asanas as well as his teacher, Krishnamacharya, and a female disciple.
Breath of the Gods trailer
A 3-minute excerpt of a feature documentary on the origins of modern yoga, featuring BKS Iyengar, Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois, including some rare black and white footage of BKS Iyengar demonstrating asanas in the presence of the Maharajah of Mysore as his guru, Krishnamacharya, watches on.
BKS Iyengar demonstrates inhalation and exhalation at a yoga convention:
Bonus video: Yoga Yantra
This is a beautiful animation based on film footage of BKS Iyengar in practice, traditional yantras and mandalas, and Indian classical music. You can watch it here.
Venkatesh and Hema are a husband and wife team who run the Atmavikasa Centre of Yogic Sciences in Mysore. They describe their yoga as “Traditional Hatha Yoga with the inspiration of the perfection of Iyengar and the intensity of Ashtanga”. At the age of thirteen, Venkatesh was attending yoga competitions (and winning them) and by the age of sixteen teaching others. His ability to see an asana and immediately replicate it perfectly shows his impeccable body awareness. Hema, his wife, is the backbone of the center and runs her own therapeutic yoga programme and the philosophy section. The two make an excellent team as you will see in this video. Enjoy!
Nestled in a quiet neighbourhood in Mysore, Karnataka, and attached to the family home, the Shri Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute is one of the most highly esteemed yoga centres in India.
Now lead by Pattabhi Jois’s grandson, R. Sharat Jois, the institute focuses on the austere tradition of Ashtanga yoga or “8-limbs yoga”. Attending the institute is typically a one-month minimum commitment which includes early morning self-led practice, therefore leaving the afternoons free for self-study or touring the city. Sunday seminars are open to advanced students with the opportunity for a discussion with R. Sharat Jois. Find out more in our new video:
Breath of Gods
You’ve heard us talk about this documentary . . . because we are pretty excited about it! Well good news for those of you in London. It will be released at the ICA, The Mall on February 22nd with more dates to follow. We’re still waiting to hear about release dates in the US, we’ll keep you posted. If you’ve forgotten what the documentary is about – here is a refresher:
Modern yoga, that is, the form practiced daily by tens of millions of people around the world, goes back directly to Lord Shiva according to Indian tradition. At the same time, however, modern yoga originated in the early 20th century, a creation of Indian savant T. Krishnamacharya, a story that is far less known and is where Breath of the Gods looks to explore further.
We see Krishnamacharya’s life and teachings through director Jan Schmidt-Garre’s eyes on his search for authentic yoga. His journey leads him from the legendary students and relatives of Krishnamacharya’s to the source of modern yoga, at the palace of the Maharaja of Mysore. He discovers the different styles and teaching methods of the yoga masters; from Pattabhi Jois he learns the ‘Sun salutation’, from Iyengar the ‘King of Asanas’, the headstand, and finally Sribhashyam reveals to him his father’s secret ‘Life Saving Yoga Session’.
Breath of the Gods is an eye-opening journey to the origins of modern yoga, featuring interviews with yoga legends B.K.S Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and T. K. Sribhashyam, and rare historical footage.
If you go to see it, let us know what you think about it!
Phool Chatti Ashram is located on the banks of the Ganges River near Rishikesh but far enough away to be secluded in nature. In the past, this was a place for weary travelers on their pilgrimage. Today, they still maintain their traditional character while also providing minor comforts for the western traveler. The ashram has a Guru, but you will be guided by the kind and knowledgeable Lalitaji who will also guide you through our new video!
We invite you to read more on Phool Chatti Ashram in our yoga directory and in our book on the best yoga centers in India.