Wednesday, August 20, 2014

B.K.S. Iyengar has left his mortal body

Yesterday B.K.S. Iyengar left his mortal body. Though his passing saddens all those who met him, his eternal teachings and legacy remain. It is through these that our path will continue to be illuminated. Worldwide he has brought  health and peace of mind to millions of people.

His parting message was to "Live happily and die majestically". 
What did he mean by 'die majestically'?
To die as if death was just a stepping stone, to embrace death as the ultimate, most advanced yoga pose, the pose that yogis spend their lives preparing for. A good death is indeed majestic, as it enables the spirit to soar beyond the constraints of our material reality. Facing death without fear is the ultimate message of yoga. 

Iyengar's wisdom is the result of of an extraordinary life spent overcoming obstacles, experimenting, testing his intuitions, sharing his insights with students and followers, either in person or through his books.

Iyengar himself had originally turned to yoga to find a solution to the health problems from which he had suffered as a child, and he wanted ordinary people to benefit too. He was among the first to promote the therapeutic applications of yoga as a natural preventive and cure for serious medical conditions, helping to widen access to a discipline of mind and body which had previously been seen as exclusive if not incomprehensible. 

He was the first to introduce simple props such as ropes, belts, wooden blocks and bolsters to enable the elderly and less fit to maintain classical postures correctly and safely. The Iyengar form of yoga is even  employed by physiotherapists treating people with spinal injuries and back problems to recover full movement.
His daughter Geeta pioneered yoga for women, selecting and adapting classical poses to benefit women's bodies and conditions  such as menstruation, pregnancy, menopause.

Critics say the global expansion of yoga into western gyms and fitness centres has taken the practice too far from its spiritual origins. But Iyengar said it was unfair to blame yogis. "It all depends on what state of mind the practitioner is in when he is doing yoga," he said last year in an interview with Indian newspaper Mint. "For the aberration, don't blame yoga or the whole community of yogis."

He was right. The yogi's state of mind is the most important element, and if a yogi (a student or a teacher)  is driven by her ego, greed, superficiality, ignorance etc. the yoga she practices will reflect  that.


No comments:

Post a Comment