BKS Iyengar 

His Story 

BKS Iyengar is sometimes referred to as the "Michelangelo of yoga" or even the "king of yoga." However, we simply call him BKS Iyengar, or even Yogacharya--yoga master. 

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (BKS) Iyengar was born on December 14, 1918. He grew up in an environment centered on learning. His father, Sri Krishnamachar, was a school teacher, which shaped his ability to educate those around him. However, Iyengar struggled with his health from a young age. A victim of malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis growing up, he began practicing yoga when he was 16 years old. Two years later, his guru, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, sent BKS to Pune, Maharashtra to teach others. Self-disciplined and devoted, he developed his own modified practice focused on fine details in alignment in yoga asanas (poses). 

Decades later, BKS Iyengar has written 14 books on yoga philosophy and practice. His most famous and influential work, Light on Yoga, was published in 1966 and has been translated into 18 languages. Named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People," his practices have been appreciated by Dr. Rajendra Prasad (the first president of India), Pope Paul VI, and even Elisabeth, Queen of Belgium. A testament to Iyengar yoga's accessibility for all, he taught Elisabeth sirsasana (head stand) when she was 80. 

Today, BKS Iyengar still teaches and practices yoga at the age of 95. With the help of his late wife, Ramamani; five daughters, Geeta, Vinita, Suchita, Sunita and Savitha; his son, Prashant; and his granddaughter, Abhi, he maintains the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India. Geeta and Prashant have, like their father, dedicated their lives to the teaching and practice of Iyengar yoga.

Institute in Pune, India 

The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI), located in Pune, India, is the nucleus of Iyengar Yoga. Celebrating almost 40 years of operation, it is dedicated to Ramamani Iyengar, the wife of B.K.S. Iyengar. Its directors are B.K.S. Iyengar and two of his children: Geeta S. Iyengar and Prashant S. Iyengar. Students and teachers, including Siegfried and Kimberly, travel across the globe to study, learn and absorb the both essence of yoga and the values of life it instills.

The RIMYI was designed with yoga philosophies and teachings in mind. One-of-a-kind, RIMYI has three floors representing the mind, body and soul. Eight columns stand tall supporting the Institute, symbolizing the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.

Keeping with the theme of "eight," a student must practice Iyengar yoga for 8 years before he or she may officially visit RIMYI to participate in classes and workshops. After being accepted, one can visit RIMYI's library, which houses more than 8,000 books on philosophy, anatomy, physiology, scriptures, medicine, yoga, and more, translated into many languages. The Institute is also filled with art and awards that have been presented to BKS Iyengar.


"Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you have to choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it."

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured."

”A yogi’s brain extends from the bottom of the foot to the top of the head. A crooked body means a crooked mind.”

"It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity."

“Words cannot convey the value of yoga – it has to be experienced.”

“The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.

"When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world."

"Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.”

"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.”

“Body is the bow, asana is the arrow, & the soul is the target.”

“Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.”

Related Videos

Sadhaka: The Yoga of B.K.S. Iyengar

This feature documentary about the life and teaching of B.K.S. Iyengar has now come to the post production editing stage after three years of filming in India.

B.K.S. Iyengar: Yoga Demonstration, Sydney 1983

Guruji, at 65-years-old, bursts with joy and humor while both demonstrating and discussing several asanas. Although the quality of the video is not the highest, the positive energy remains intact. A must-watch for current and future Iyengar enthusiasts! 

Trikonasana with Dr. Geeta Iyengar

This video, filmed in India in 2009, gives a taste of the uniqueness of Dr. Geets S. Iyengar's teachings. Unfortunately, not many have had the opportunity to go to India and experience the Living Tradition of Iyengar Yoga as taught by the masters themselves. Notice the emphasis on Ekagrata (one-pointedness of the mind)!