December 14 marked the 97th birthday of the late great B.K.S. Iyengar. Widely credited with popularizing yoga in India and across the world, he inspired several people including J. Krishnamurti, Aldous Huxley, Queen Elizabeth, and Sachin Tendulkar. It’s no wonder Google decided to honour the great man with a Doodle on his birthday.
Born to a poor Iyengar family in Bellur, Kolar District, Karnataka, B.K.S. Iyengar faced several health problems as a child. He suffered from malnutrition and was extremely thin. His uncle, the great Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, invited him to Mysore to learn the practice of Yoga. This was a pivotal point in Iyengar’s life as regular practice of yoga gradually improved his health. With the encouragement of his guru, Iyengar moved to Pune to teach yoga at the age of 18. This was the start of his yoga-teaching career and it would last eight decades. Having gained popularity in India, he gained international recognition through his friendship with famous violinist, Yehudi Menuhin.
He founded ‘Iyengar Yoga’ – a form of Hatha Yoga inspired from Patanjali’s eightfold path of Yoga. He authored several books including Light on Yoga, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing. In his lifetime, he won several awards and accolades and he continued to practice different asanas even after he had crossed the age of 90. He believed in nature conservation and was also actively involved in philanthropy.
We owe a lot to the great guru. Here are ten inspiring quotes from the man who reinvigorated the wonderful practice of yoga:
- Breath is the king of mind.
- Do not stop trying because perfection eludes you.
- Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.
- The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it.
- Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.
- Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.
- Be inspired but not proud.
- Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek, but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal.
- You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind, and soul.
- Breath is the vehicle of consciousness and so, by its slow measured observation and distribution, we learn to tug our attention away from external desires toward a judicious, intelligent awareness.