Renowned yoga exponent B.K.S. Iyengar, who passed away in Pune on Wednesday, has a Mysore connection. He learnt the ancient art of yoga from T. Krishnamachar at Chamundipuram, an old locality here.
Among his fellow students there was the late K. Pattabhi Jois, another famous yoga exponent from Mysore who inspired a large number of students from the United States and Europe to learn yoga.
The Pune-based Yoga guru had visited Mysore a couple of times in recent years. He had met his childhood friends, including Mr. Jois, who founded the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Gokulam here and popularised Ashtanga yoga.
Mr. Sharath Jois, who learnt the art of Ashtanga yoga from his grandfather Mr. Pattabhi Jois and teaches yoga at the institute, said Mr. Iyengar migrated to Pune when he was 20 to teach yoga at Deccan Gymkhana and later founded the Iyengar Yoga Institute in that city.
“The yoga legend’s death is a big loss for the ancient art,” said Mr. Jois. “He and Pattabhi Jois, the two great yoga exponents, had popularised the Indian art across the globe. They motivated a large number of students from foreign countries to learn yoga. Their contributions to the ancient art are enormous.”
Recalling the 90 birthday celebrations of Mr. Iyengar in Pune, Mr. Sharath said, “Gurugalu (Mr. Iyengar) was very happy to see me. I used to write letters to him regularly and he would reply. In his letters, he always used to encourage and advise me to take yoga to new heights.”
Mr. Sharath, who tours the U.S. once a year to teach yoga, remembers the day Mr. Iyengar and Mr. Pattabhi Jois met here on July 26, 2005. Mr. Iyengar came to greet Mr. Jois as he could not attend his 90 birthday celebrations. Mr. Iyengar went around Mr. Jois’ institute and interacted with his disciplines, mostly from the West. Mr. Pattabhi Jois passed away in May 2009.
Mr. Iyengar visited Mysore in December 2008 with over 300 foreign disciples. He visited the Karanji Lake Nature Park, a tourist spot.
He again visited Mysore in June 2009 and adopted animals at the Mysore zoo. He went around the zoo in a battery-operated car and expressed his support for the conservation and welfare of animals. He was felicitated at the zoo for his generous contribution towards the welfare of animals.