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Yoga guru BKS Iyengar at Sankara Nethralaya

Looks can be deceptive, they say, and when you meet Yoga guru Mr. BKS Iyengar you know why! One look at him and it’s hard to believe he is all of 91. Agile, humourous, humble, dedicated, disciplined, benevolent, one can probably run out of adjectives to describe Mr. Iyengar and his contributions in taking yoga outside the realms of India.

He is credited for having introduced yoga to the European countries and USA; his clientele include the likes of violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin, Jayaprakash Narayan and the Queen of Belgium. He, for one, never imagined the extent to which he would be able to popularize yoga among westerners. “Not even in my dream would I have imagined that I would become a yoga icon,” he says. When Mr. Iyengar initially began his practice, he was laughed upon by many and this he says he “took it as a challenge,” and ensured that he “made the subject educative and attractive.”

A well-wisher of Sankara Nethralaya, Mr. Iyengar visited the institute on September 3, 2009. Describing Sankara Nethralaya as “a well done organisation,” whose modernization is “simply amazing,” Mr. Iyengar said the institute was “built on a humane touch.” He urged the hospital’s employees and post graduate students to follow the ideals of Chairman Emeritus Dr. Badrinath as “without compassion this institute would not have grown to this level.”

Did you know?

•    In 1988, the Ministry of Federal Star Registration (USA) named a star in the northern hemisphere  after Mr. Iyengar

•    ‘Iyengar’ is officially recognized by the Oxford Dictionary 2003. It is defined as a noun – a type of Hatha yoga — and the origin for the word is attributed to BKS Iyengar.

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