Mr. Iyengar has been invited to the 10th annual Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park, Colorado, September 26th-29th. At this weeklong conference, he will be present during a special three-day Iyengar Yoga Intensive lead by his most advanced teachers in the world. Registration for this 3-day intensive with B.K.S. Iyengar became available online in April and the 800 available tickets were sold out within 5 minutes!!!
At the age of 86, he says this will be his last visit to the U.S. Mr. Iyengar has just finished writing yet another book on Yoga, Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom, which is being published at the end of August by Rodale Press. The purpose of his journey to the U.S. is to promote his book and to inspire his community of students with his presence.
Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar’s first book, Light on Yoga, was published 50 years ago. It is still considered the most authoritative and comprehensive book ever written on the practice of Yoga and is now translated into 17 languages. He has also written 2 other classic books, Light on Pranayama (Yoga Breathing) and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Yoga Philosophy).
B.K.S. Iyengar first visited the U.S. in 1956 and since then he has come to this country many times, mostly during the seventies and eighties. This will be his first appearance in thirteen years and marks the 50th anniversary of his first visit to the states. Without exaggeration, Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar is currently the most influential living Yoga Master in the world. His teachings have drastically changed the way Yoga is being taught today here in the U.S. and also the rest of the world. His influence is now seen spreading into all schools of Yoga with his emphasis on alignment, use of props, and therapeutic applications to help make Yoga accessible to all, whether tight or flexible, young or old, fit or feeble.
As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, Mr. Iyengar was honored in Time Magazine (April 26, 2004 ) as one of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential People in the world. The article read, “The 100 people who shape our world, those whose power, influence, or moral example touches the lives of all of us, right now.”
At Yoga Northwest we are honored to be in a direct lineage with Mr. Iyengar’s teachings. Almost 30 years ago, I first went to study with him at his Yoga Institute in Pune, after following his book Light on Yoga for 5 years daily, studying on my own. Mr. Iyengar was my first Yoga teacher EVER!!! It was quite a “Jump Start” and made me deeply committed to the practice of Yoga for life. Several of our instructors at Yoga Northwest have also been to India to study Yoga at the Iyengar Institute and some of them will be going there in the near future.
It has become so popular for students of Yoga to go study at the Iyengar Yoga Institute that they now have to screen out people. Anybody wanting to go there needs to have studied Iyengar Yoga for eight years, be recommended by a Senior Teacher, and then be on a waiting list for 2 years or longer!!
But, for the average student of Yoga, going to Pune is far out of reach. So, Mr. Iyengar’s trip to the U.S. will be a great opportunity for students to meet a living master right here at home during the months of September and October. If you were not one of the lucky ones to make the mad rush registration in April, you might have a chance to see him on his metropolitan travels around the country. He will be visiting New York, Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles, all areas with strong Iyengar Yoga communities.
During his travels around the country, he will undoubtedly share inspirational talks about his lifelong passion of Yoga, which he has spent 70 years exploring with deep commitment, curiosity, and devotion. In a speech he gave at his 86th birthday last December, he shared insights into unraveling the mysteries contained within our bodies. And when asked what it is that has kept him doing Yoga all these years, Guruji (Mr. Iyengar) answered, “The inner intelligence that is continually being revealed.”
So, look for his book Light on Life at a bookstore or in our Yoga Northwest boutique in October. Patricia Walden, one of Mr. Iyengar’s most senior students here in the U.S., has read the manuscript and has written in her review that Mr. Iyengar “simply and beautifully shares the knowledge and devotion to Yoga.” And she gives us a sneak preview of that devotion when she quotes the final, inspiring sentence of Mr. Iyengar’s introduction, where he writes: “It is my profound hope that my end can be your beginning.”
With his fame and fortune, Mr. Iyengar has remained a humble man, living a simple life in a small house adjacent to the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute. The institute was dedicated to his wife, Ramamani, who died a sudden death in the early 60’s and left him with 6 young children to care for.
Instead of filling his own pockets with his fortune, he has administered the Bellur-Trust. Bellur is a village in the Indian State Karnataka, where Mr. Iyengar himself was born. The Bellur-Trust is being funded by the Iyengar family as well as the greater family of Iyengar Yoga students from around the world, Yoga Northwest included. In the last few years the trust has funded a school for all children in the village to attend for free. A high school has just been completed in June 2005 with free admission, books, and uniforms provided by the trust. There are now future plans for a medical clinic and a technical college.
In addition, the Bellur-Trust has provided the village with a water tank to supply clean drinking water. Last December the Trust inaugurated the world’s first Patanjali Temple in Bellur. In the temple there is a marble bust of Mr. Iyengar’s late wife, Ramamani. Whenever Mr. Iyengar talks about his wife, you sense his deep admiration and affection for her.
Guruji, Mr. Iyengar, is truly a generous and devoted man. He has devoted all his life energies towards unraveling the secrets to an enlightened life. And with sincere generosity he passionately wants to help others improve their lives through his classes, books, and trust fund. His words continue to resonate through me…“It is my profound hope that my end can be your beginning.”
“When I practice, I am a philosopher,
When I teach, I am a scientist,
When I demonstrate, I am an artist.”
~ B.K.S. Iyengar