Biography of B K S Iyengar

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar was born on December 14, 1918 in Bellur, Karnataka. He is one of the definitive yoga teachers the world has seen. He has been teaching yoga for for almost 75 years. Iyengar has also authored several books on yoga philosophy and practice. Some of his bestsellers include Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Light on Pranayama and Light on Yoga. Iyengar yoga studios can be found all over the world. This article reveals the fascinating

biography of B K S Iyengar.

Sickly Early years

Iyengar was born in a poor family. His childhood was difficult in Bellur. He was a sickly child and suffered many diseases such as general malnutrition, fever, typhoid, tuberculosis and malaria. Iyengar’s father passed when was just nine years old.

Learning Yoga

When he became 15, Iyengar shifted to the place of his brother-in-law, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who lived in Mysore. Here, Iyengar started to learn yoga practice and soon overcame his childhood weakness and ill-health.

Yoga Teaching

In 1937, Iyengar relocated to Pune to start teaching yoga. He also experimented with various techniques and developed new ones. His efficient and result-oriented methods started attracting huge numbers of students to his yoga classes. In 1943, Iyengar married Ramamani.

International Fame

In 1952, Iyengar became acquainted with Yehudi Menuhin, an internationally famous violinist. Menuhin paved the foundation for Iyengar to start teaching yoga abroad. Westerners were thus exposed to the ancient Indian health system of yoga. In fact, Iyengar is responsible for the popularity of yoga in western countries.

Books On Yoga

In 1966, Iyengar published Light on Yoga. It topped the bestseller charts and was translated into many languages. This book is called the bible of yoga and helped in popularizing yoga around the world. Iyengar has penned 14 tomes on subjects such as pranayama and yoga philosophy.


In 1975, Iyengar founded a yoga institute in Pune, to honor his departed wife. Though he officially retired from yoga teaching in 1984, he is still active writing books and taking special classes. Iyengar’s son Prashant and daughter Geeta are also internationally acclaimed yoga teachers. Time magazine has recognized Iyengar’s contribution to yoga by naming his among the world’s 100 most influential people. The Indian government honored him with the Padma Shri in 1991. In 2002, he received the Padma Bhushan.

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