Yoga guru BKS Iyengar has died at age 95, and his passing is being mourned by enthusiasts of the practice worldwide. The teacher was one of the best-known in the world of yoga, and he developed his own style of the practice.
The Indian native passed away in the city of Pune, from kidney failure. Iyengar ran a school in the city for 80 years, teaching yoga in what is considered one of the best schools in the country. He was admitted to a hospital in Pune a week before slipping away with heart complications.
Until last year when he fell ill, the guru was still able to stay in a headstand, or sirsasana, for more than half-an-hour, despite his status as a nonagenarian.
Sri Krishnamachar was a school teacher when his son, who would become one of the world's most-beloved gurus, was born on 15 Dec. 1918, just weeks after the end of World War 1. The young man suffered from malaria, tuberculosis and typhoid fever growing to adulthood. He first encountered yoga at age 16, and went on to teach the practice two years later. He was sent to Pune by his guru, in part because the teenager could speak some English.
Iyengar yoga classes are now available in more than 70 countries worldwide, and the late guru's teachings have been published in 13 different languages. This style, which often uses belts, blocks and other objects to achieve proper posture, is one of the most popular in the world. In 2004, Time Magazine named Iyengar as one of the most-influential living people of the year.
"Guruji was a sincere and committed practitioner. His own practice helped him to explore and achieve perfection in yoga asanas [positions]. This is reflected in his teachings all over these years," the BKS Iyengar website stated after the passing of the yoga proponent.
The late guru has a 65-year-old son, who teaches theoretical aspects and philosophy of yoga at the school. At the end of 2013, he expressed his desire for his niece to manage the school after the passing of the elder yogi.
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar never chose a preferred successor to his school, or admiration of his followers.
"I never thought of this and I can't think of this. I have shared my knowledge with millions of people. A yogi can't develop favoritism. I consider the grossest of the gross and finest of the fine students as equals," Iyengar said in an interview at age 94.