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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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Westerners Adopt Indian Practices, Deny Giving Due Credits

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument.

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Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to protect our own heritage and Dharma. Hindu Council Of Australia

By Shashi Holla (WA) and Surinder Jain

Colonial or a white supremacy mind set may be clever enough to adopt Hindu practices but denies giving credit where it is due. Stealing Hindu Intellectual Property, they do not hesitate to rename and repackage so that they can sell it back to India for immense profits. Off course, they will leave no chance to tell Indians to stop their superstitious ways and to adopt the new scientific knowledge which “they” have “invented”.

Following has been already digested or appropriated by West. Some of the Western academics don’t believe that they belong to India.

Yoga Nidra   AS  Lucid Dreaming

Nadi Shodhana AS Alternate Nostrils Breathing

Vipassana  AS Mindfulness.

The latest addition to this list is

Pranamyam AS Cardiac Coherence Breathing

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.[29] But the latest attempt has taken the appropriation too far. An American magazine “Scientific American” in its article titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better health” termed “Pranayama” as cardiac coherence breathing. (15 January 2019). The article gives us an idea about how West is so sophisticated in stealing knowledge from ancient cultures particularly Hinduism.

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Man doing Yoga. Wikimedia Commons

Prāṇāyāma is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gītā.[11] According to Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is, prāṇāyāma is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prāṇa and āyām.[12] Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[14][15] Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.[16] Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.[18]

“Pranayama” a department of Yogic science practiced and documented 5000 years back ( even 15,000 years back) by Rishis is not even acknowledged by the author of the article. If one read the article they vaguely suggest that breathing exercises also existed in China, Hindu and in Greek culture.  This is how appropriation of ancient techniques takes place by West.  As Sankrat Sanu an entrepreneur, researcher and writer put it in his tweet “after erasing the origin they claim it as their own invention, attack original traditions as Superstition”.

As famous Indian American Author Rajiv Malhotra summarizes: “The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”. Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to  protect our own heritage and Dharma.

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The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”.  Pixabay

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument. West has created an eco system and mechanism in which their knowledge system is Well protected and patented by international norms. Unless West does not give a new name and fits into their framework native wisdom is not recognized in academia and media. Whereas Hindus were generous in sharing their health techniques freely from millennium never thought they will struggle in proving things which belong to them. In fact in a westernized framework of Yoga and other techniques Indian scholars, insiders and practitioners are blatantly ignored. So our own knowledge will be repackaged and exported back to us at an extra price and conditions.

Also Read: Climate Change Will Melt Vast Parts of Himalayas: Study

Many of our practices are being called to be Biofeedback systems. According to WikipediaBiofeedback systems have been known in India and some other countries for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and Pranayama (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods. Many yogis and sadhus have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes. In addition to recent research on Yoga, Paul Brunton, the British writer who travelled extensively in India, has written about many cases he has witnessed. (Hindu Council Of Australia)