In Memoriam: B.K.S. Iyengar 1918-2014

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We lost our living, breathing teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar this week. If you are plugged in to the Iyengar yoga community on Facebook and other social media, you may feel inundated with words of his passing. Well, at least that is how I feel at this point. I loved the man, the teacher, having only been in the room with him a few times, and having had only one personal, profound interaction with him. I can easily get lost in grief and sadness, samskaras (deep-seeded habits or impressions) that have deep roots.

To comfort me, my husband said that passing away could be seen as moving from one asana to the next. I liked that. The more aware you are of your physical, emotional, mental, intellectual bodies during that first asana, the easier the transition will be to the next. And it is just a transition. Not so much a door closing, but another door opening. Or a more mundane metaphor: when the house is already clean, the cleaning flurry when that unexpected guest arrives isn’t even necessary, right? These are stories I tell myself to calm those deep-seeded impressions.

To honor this Mr. Iyengar’s legacy, his light and knowledge so passionately shared, though, I look ahead. His gift of prolonged daily yoga practice, his knowledge and his guidance—his light on the subject of yoga—live on. This light will grow more within us each day, every time we practice.  A well-used quote from the Mr. Iyengar himself, is my inspiration: “It is my profound hope that my end can be your beginning.” Like a parent, he urges us to continue to practice with his zeal and his compassion long after his physical presence. So, as my teachers in the U.S. have reminded me, I now tell you: Practice! And remember your roots stemming from this master as you journey ahead.