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

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Image Source: abcnews.go.com
  • 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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Starting Over: 3 Best Yoga Practices for Getting Back in Shape

Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that yoga ameliorates depression, mood swings and insomnia

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As soon as you start doing asanas, you’ll know what the fuss is all about! Pixabay

If you have a good track record at recovering from injury, it doesn’t mean that you should be careless. Full disclosure here: I have a tendency to forgo safety measures whenever I partake in physical activities. It’s an adventurous side in me that also gets me injured. Not to dwell on details, but after a long recovery period that limited my allowance to exercise (doctor’s orders) a lot of my muscle had gone to fat and I’ve lost a considerable percentage of my strength. This certainly didn’t help my recovery, so while I searched for the best doctrine that can help me start over, I turned to yoga practices to get back into shape.

1. The right alignment and sun salutation

Certainly, there was a sense of risk that came with yoga practices, which is something I found intriguing, I’m ashamed to admit. While the right alignment could definitely help me speed up recovery, the wrong alignment could lead to additional injury. Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that yoga ameliorates depression, mood swings and insomnia, which are all the symptoms that emerged during my downtime.

Since the injury that I suffered was mostly isolated to my lower back: a part of the core, unfortunately, I had to find the one ‘beginner’ practice that would not strain me too much, but which still has a ‘holistic’ effect. Therefore, I fully embraced one of the basic asanas known as sun salutation (Surya Namaskar). It actually consists of twelve yoga poses which will activate an impressive variety of your body-parts. It aided in the strengthening of my core and skeletal system as well, which was perfect for my injury.

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Surya Namaskar consists of twelve yoga poses which will activate an impressive variety of your body-parts. Wikimedia Commons

2. The upward plank and melting the weight away

Since I had to fortify my back muscles and abs, I also started practicing the upward plank after a week of doing the sun salutation exclusively. The name of this asana is Purvottanasana, and if you find this to be a mouthful, you can always fall back on the ‘upward plank’. It is an absolutely wonderful pose that also does wonders for your respiratory system.

It will make you sweat just about right which is amazing if you’ve accrued some unwanted fat. You can wear one of these comfortable sauna vests which are designed not to intervene with your exercises, no matter how crazy the positions get. Actually, any type of plank exercise is amazing for your core and your entire body, so you should see to it that you begin practicing these positions whenever you can because they are so convenient to do even in cramped spaces.

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Purvottasana is an absolutely wonderful pose that also does wonders for your respiratory system. Wikimedia Commons

3. The outdoors and the warrior pose

If you have a beachside near your apartment, you are in luck. Any yoga enthusiast would give everything they have for the opportunity to stretch in front of the rumbling waves every day. Me, I thankfully have a wonderful park at my disposal just two streets away from where I’m living right now. As soon as I felt I rebuilt some of my muscles and regained some of my strength, I began going to that park on a daily basis, with my trusty yoga mat in hand. This sublime outdoor environment is where I practiced the warrior pose – Virabhadrasana.

ALSO READ: Evening Exercise as Good as Morning Workout, Shows Study

Virabhadrasana starts off with mountain pose as the beginning position, and extends into a stretch of your left leg backward, as your right leg lunges into a ninety-degree position (it works with the legs switch as well, of course). Throughout this movement, your hands are constantly stretched above your head, and as your leg stretch stops, the arms go wide apart, like wings. This will do wonders for your legs in general, especially thighs, as well as arms and back. It is a welcoming asana for those that need to bring back a skip into their step after a long recovery.

If you are still cynical about yoga’s rejuvenating qualities, you can continue your online search for testimonies, lessons, and videos. God knows you’ll find an opulent range of verifiable sources just in the first fifteen minutes of your search, but know this now: nothing beats practice. As soon as you start doing asanas, you’ll know what the fuss is all about!