B.K.S. Iyengar, the venerable yogi who celebrated his 90th birthday this past Saturday, and 70 years of practicing yoga, speaks about his beginnings and the future of yoga in today’s world.
On bringing Yoga to the masses:
If knowledge of yoga spreads across the nation people can save money on medicines and use it to buy food instead. Further, yoga is an art for me. I have immense respect for it. It requires years of attention to the subtlest form of the self. Stretching of the body is not yoga. The self has to penetrate outside, just as the body has to look within.
On the business and money of Yoga:
The world is changing. A teacher of yoga has to make a living. In 1954, when violinist Yehudi Menuhin invited me to London, I was paid 100 dollars and toiled for months. In 1960, when I took my first class, I charged 10 shillings per student. It was barely enough to make ends meet. Today, practical philosophy lies in the teacher giving more than what he takes. Just as there is rajadharma, there must be yogadharma. Each and every student should be treated equally. Preferential treatment to those who pay more is not acceptable.
On Yoga’s acceptance in other religions:
Yoga is the supreme religion. The body and intelligence are the same everywhere. The mind is individual and yoga helps it become universal. It brings about a vibration in the body and this music is due to the practice of the asanas. Its benefits are immeasurable and that is the only reason for its popularity.
Read the complete interview at Daily News and Analysis
Here’s Iyengar in 1938 at age 19
In 1991 at age 72