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B.K.S.Iyengar: the man who spread Yoga Internationally

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  • By Pragya Jha

Yoga is a way of life, an art of righteous living or an integrated system for the benefit of the body, mind and inner spirit. When it comes to yoga we must not forget one of the significant names who has contributed towards yoga and spread it across west. Bellur  Krishnamachar  Sundararaja Iyengar , popularly known as B.K.S. Iyengar, was the founder of the unique style of yoga known as “Iyengar Yoga” .

He was born on December 14, 1918 in Bellur , Karnataka . He frequently fell ill during his childhood and suffered from malariatuberculosis, typhoid fever and general malnutrition . Married to Ramamani Iyengar, father of five daughters and one son. Ramamani supported him and with her help  Iyengar refined and advanced the asanas he learned.

Iyengar’s introduction to Yoga

He was introduced to yoga by his brother–in-law Prof T Krishnamacharya. He was the person who influenced Iyengar and made him the creator of the word “Iyengar Yoga” and made it world famous. Iyengar single mindedly dedicated himself to Yoga .He practiced yoga for hours and was so obsessed with it that his neighbors and family considered him mad. Iyengar started making innovation in yoga by researching the way of internal alignment, considering the effect of body parts, even skin, in development of each pose. He considered body as a temple and asana as a prayer .

Iyengar’s contribution towards yoga

His dedication and work towards yoga made him popularize his “Iyengar Yoga” in India and across the world. He made Yoga accessible to people of every age. He brought yoga to the western world .He came to Pune in 1937 and spread the knowledge of yoga. In 1975 he set up his own institute  and expanded its branches in India and abroad.

His yoga got international recognition  when a violinist Yehudi Menuhin visited  Bombay and showed his interest in Yoga. He met Iyengar and told him that he is tired and could relieve only for five minutes. Iyengar made him perform Savasana and he fell asleep. After one hour he awoke and felt refreshed. Their bond became strong and Iyengar visited to Switzerland on the invitation of Menuhin. From then he visited west regularly and spread his teachings of yoga all over the world. Yehudi was the reason behind Iyengar’s transformation from an Indian yoga teacher to an International yoga guru. He even taught Queen Elizabeth that how to do a headstand.

Uniqueness of Iyengar Yoga

The attention is made on alignment of body parts. Props such as wooden gadgets, belts and ropes to make the poses accessible .He focused on therapeutic yoga which work against illness.

He wrote books like Light on Yoga; Light on Life; Light on Pranayama; The tree of Yoga; Yoga, wisdom and Practice and many more. He received Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, and Time 100 awards.

End of journey

BKS Iyengar took his last breath on 20th August 2014 at 3:15 am at the age of 95. He was admitted to hospital on complaint of breathlessness and low blood pressure. His condition deteriorated and he died of cardiac arrest. His disciples from India and abroad reached to Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Institute to pay tributes.

Iyengar was an enthusiastic man who won millions of hearts with Yoga.

Pragya Jha is a student of journalism in New Delhi.

 

 

 

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Yoga Face-toning May Compete With Fillers, Face-lifts

"The jury is still out on whether or not facial yoga is effective in reversing the signs of aging," he said in an email.

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Yoga face toning is an effective way of reducing the signs of ageing. VOA
  • Yoga face toning may take over botox and face lifting procedures.
  • 27 participants noted changes in their faces after weeks of this experiment.
  • It is still a matter of discussion if this method can reverse ageing or not.

In his toolbox of Botox, fillers and plastic surgery, cosmetic dermatologist Dr Murad Alam has added a new, low-cost, noninvasive anti-ageing treatment: facial yoga.

Dermatologists measured improvements in the appearance of the faces of a small group of middle-aged women after they did half an hour of daily face-toning exercises for eight weeks, followed by alternate-day exercises for another 12 weeks.

Facial exercises are healthier than surgeries. Pixabay
Facial exercises are healthier than surgeries. Pixabay

The results surprised lead author Alam, vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“In fact, the results were stronger than I expected,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s really a win-win for patients.”

Participants included 27 women between 40 and 65, though only 16 completed the full course. It began with two 90-minute muscle-resistant facial exercise-training sessions led by co-author Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga in Providence, Rhode Island.

Participants learned to perform cheek pushups and eye-bag removers, among other exercises. Then they practised at home.

Improvements noted

Dermatologists looking at unmarked before-and-after photos saw improvements in upper cheek and lower cheek fullness, and they estimated the average age of women who stuck with the program as significantly younger at the end than at the start.

Face yoga is a healthier substitute to surgical procedures. Pixabay
Face yoga is a healthier substitute for surgical procedures. Pixabay

The average estimated age dropped almost three years, from nearly 51 years to 48 years.

Participants also rated themselves as more satisfied with the appearance of their faces at the study’s end, Alam and colleagues reported in JAMA Dermatology.

“Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of ageing,” Alam said. “Assuming the findings are confirmed in a larger study, individuals now have a low-cost, non-toxic way of looking younger or augmenting other cosmetic or anti-ageing treatments they may be seeking.”

The exercises enlarge and strengthen facial muscles to firm and tone the face, giving it a younger appearance, he said.

Happy Face sells instructional worksheets — promising smoother skin, firmed cheeks and raised eyelids — for $19.95. DVDs cost $24.95.

Some skepticism

But not all dermatologists are rushing to promote the videos or the exercises.

Dr John Chi, a plastic surgeon and professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, said the study raises more questions than it answers.

“The jury is still out on whether or not facial yoga is effective in reversing the signs of ageing,” he said in an email.

Chi, who was not involved with the study, said he would recommend facial yoga to patients who found it relaxing and enjoyable but not for the purpose of facial rejuvenation.

“While the premise of facial exercises to improve the facial appearance or reverse signs of ageing is an appealing one, there is little evidence to suggest that there is any benefit in this regard,” he said.

Chi said facial yoga had not been rigorously examined in peer-reviewed scientific studies. Asked whether procedures such as face-lifts, Botox and fillers had been rigorously examined in peer-reviewed studies, he replied: “Great question. Attempts to do so have been made in the scientific literature with variable levels of scientific rigour.”

Alam agrees that his study raises additional research questions, such as whether the exercises would work for men and how much time people need to commit to doing the exercises for them to be optimally effective. He would like to see a larger study. VOA