Yogacharya BKS Iyengar dies


Yoga exponent Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, the man who taught the world to live happily and die majestically, passed away in a private hospital in Pune on Wednesday morning following a heart attack. He was 95 years old and is survived by a son and daughter.

Complaining of breathing problems, Iyengar was admitted to a private hospital in the city last Tuesday. After suffering kidney failure on Sunday, he was placed on a ventilator as his condition had turned critical. He had been reportedly advised to opt for renal replacement therapy, but he breathed his last at 3.15 am. Iyengar’s last rites were performed at Viakunth Smashanbhumi at 1.30 pm on Wednesday.

Iyengar’s website carried a picture of Iyengar’s beaming countenance with a saying: “I always tell people, ‘Live happily and die majestically’ 14 Dec. 1918-20 Aug. 2014.”

Maharashtra governor K. Sankaranarayanan expressed profound grief over Iyengar’s demise and said his legacy would continue to live on for years. “He dedicated his entire life to the study, practice, research, and promotion of yoga. Indeed, he was an encyclopaedia of yoga and an innovator living in our midst. I am sure his rich legacy will live on for many, many years,” the governor said.

Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan too offered condolences, saying, “Iyengar was famously known as a teacher who would simplify even the most complex techniques of yoga before teaching it to his students. With his demise, the world has lost the true master of yoga.”

The guru was born on December 14, 1918, in Karnataka’s Belur town. He went on to create his own brand of the ancient discipline, “Iyengar yoga”, gain a huge following, which included celebrity fans ranging from cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to the British writer Aldous Huxley. He established studios in 72 countries, and it was an encounter with violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who was in Mumbai on a trip in the 1950s, that prompted Iyengar to take his practice global.

Iyengar had written 14 books on the practice and philosophy of his ancient discipline.

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