Photo credit: USA Today/www.bksiyengar.com
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, better known as B.K.S. Iyengar, died earlier today from heart problems and renal failure at the age of 95.
Iyengar is often referred to as "the father of modern yoga". He has been credited for establishing and popularizing yoga firstly in India and then around the world. Iyengar published his first book, Light on Yoga, in 1966. The book has been translated into 17 languages and sold 3 million copies as of 2005. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine.
Not only did Iyengar teach Yoga to millions of people, he was a life-long devotee. Iyengar reported in interviews that, at the age of 90, he continued to practice asanas for 3 hours and pranayamas for an hour daily. Besides this, he mentioned that he found himself performing non-deliberate pranayamas at other times.
In memory of BKS Iyengar, I'm posting some quotes by him for my:
My 15 Favorite Iyengar Quotes:
- "We are a little piece of continual change, looking at an infinite quantity of continual change."
- "Penetration of our mind is our goal, but in the beginning to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat."
- "You must purge yourself before finding faults in others.
When you see a mistake in somebody else, try to find if you are making the same mistake.
This is the way to take judgment and to turn it into improvement.
Do not look at others' bodies with envy or with superiority.
All people are born with different constitutions.
Never compare with others.
Each one's capacities are a function of his or her internal strength.
Know your capacities and continually improve upon them."
- "Nothing can be forced, receptivity is everything."
- "Willpower is nothing but willingness to do."
- "There is only one reality, but there are many ways that reality can be interpreted."
- "The art of teaching is tolerance. Humbleness is the art of learning."
- "Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured."
- "Meditation is oneness, when there is no longer time, sex, or country. The moment when, after you have concentrated on doing a pose (or anything else) perfectly, you hold it and then forget everything, not because you want to forget but because you are concentrated: this is meditation."
- "Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present."
- "There is no difference in souls, only the ideas about ourselves that we wear."
- "You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind, and soul."
- "There is no progress toward ultimate freedom without transformation, and this is the key issue in all lives."
- "Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice."
- "Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they're meant to be."
Here are 55 more Wisdom/Quotes from Iyengar:
"The material body has a practical reality that is accessible. It is here and now, and we can do something with it. However, we must not forget that the innermost part of our being is also trying to help us. It wants to come out to the surface and express itself."
"It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence."
"Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one's being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union - the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul."
"Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed."
"Regarding perfection, that’s a very difficult question. I can say that I have superseded most in my sadhana [practice]. I am in it, and my mind and my intelligence gets better in my sadhana, and it reaches a certain place. When I stretch, I stretch in such a way that my awareness moves, and a gate of awareness finally opens… My body is a laboratory, you can say. I don’t stretch my body as if it is an object. I do yoga from the self towards the body, not the other way around."
"Do not stop trying just because perfection eludes you."
"The head is the seat of intelligence. The heart is the seat of emotion."
"Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun."
"Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open."
"If you take up any noble line and stick to it, you can reach the ultimate. Be inspired, but not proud. Do not aim low; you will miss the mark. Aim high; you will be on the threshold of bliss."
"When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world."
"The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life."
"The supreme adventure in a man’s life is his journey back to his Creator. To reach the goal he needs well developed and co-ordinated functioning of his body, senses, mind, reason and Self."
"The beauty of a lake reflects the beauty around it. When the mind is still, the beauty of the Self is seen reflected in it."
"Intellectuals tend to be arrogant. Intelligence, like money, is a good servant but a bad master. When practicing pranayama, the yogi [makes] himself humble and without pride in his intellectual attainments."
"The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in."
"Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you have to choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it."
"It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity."
"The practice of yogasana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga. While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end… Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit."
"Often, we hear people saying they remain active and light when they do just a little bit of asana practice. When a raw beginner experiences this state of well-being, it is not merely the external or anatomical effects of yoga. It is also about the internal physiological and psychological effects of the practice."
"He who has conquered his mind is a Raja Yogi. . . . .It is generally believed that Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are entirely distinct, different and opposed to each other, that the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali deal with Spiritual discipline and that the Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Swatmarama deals solely with physical discipline. It is not so, for Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga complement each other and form a single approach towards Liberation.
As a mountaineer needs ladders, ropes and crampons as well as physical fitness and discipline to climb the icy peaks of the Himalayas, so does the Yoga aspirant need the knowledge and discipline of the Hatha Yoga of Swatmarama to reach the heights of Raja Yoga dealt with by Patanjali."
"It took me whole decades to appreciate the depth and true value of yoga. Sacred texts supported my discoveries, but it was not they that signposted the way. What I learned through yoga, I found out through yoga."
"Yoga recognizes that the way our bodies and minds work has changed very little over the millennia. The way we function inside our skin is not susceptible to differ either in time or from place to place. In the functioning of our minds, in our way of relating to each other, there are inherent stresses, like geological fault lines that, left unaddressed, will always cause things to go wrong, whether individually or collectively. The whole thrust of yogic philosophical and scientific inquiry has therefore been to examine the nature of being, with a view to learning to respond to the stresses of life without so many tremors and troubles."
"In order to find out how to reveal our innermost Being, the sages explored the various sheaths of existence, starting from body and progressing through mind and intelligence, and ultimately to the soul. The yogic journey guides us from our periphery, the body, to the center ofour being, the soul. The aim is to integrate the various layers so that the inner divinity shines out as through clear glass."
"Life means to be living. Problems will always be there. When they arise navigate through them with yoga - don’t take a break."
"Body is the bow, asana is the arrow, & the soul is the target."
"Focus on keeping your spine straight. It is the job of the spine to keep the brain alert."
"Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame."
"It is while practicing yoga asanas that you learn the art of adjustment."
"When I practice, I am a philosopher. When I teach, I am a scientist. When I demonstrate, I am an artist."
"A yogi’s brain extends from the bottom of the foot to the top of the head. A crooked body means a crooked mind."
"Your body is the child of the soul. You must nourish and train that child."
"As we explore the soul, it is important to remember that this exploration will take place within nature (the body), for that is where and what we are."
"There is no progress toward ultimate freedom without transformation, and this is the key issue in all lives."
"Our flawed mechanisms of perception and thought are not a cause for grief, but an opportunity to evolve, for an internal evolution of consciousness that will also make possible, in a sustainable form, our aspirations toward what we call individual success and global progress."
“Life itself seeks fulfillment as plants seek sunlight.”
“Be inspired but not proud.”
“Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.”
“You exist without the feeling of existence.”
"The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it."
"Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek, but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal."
"Breath is the king of mind."
“We must create a marriage between the awareness of the body and that of the mind. When two parties do not cooperate, there is unhappiness on both sides.”
“By drawing our senses of perception inward, we are able to experience the control, silence, and quietness of the mind.”
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.”
“When we free ourselves from physical disabilities, emotional disturbances, and mental distractions, we open the gates to our soul.”
“The physical body is not only a temple for our soul, but the means by which we embark on the inward journey toward the core.”
“Yoga is about the will, working with intelligence and self-reflexive consciousness, can free us from the inevitability of the wavering mind and outwardly directed senses.”
“True concentration is an unbroken thread of awareness.”
“We often fool ourselves that we are concentrating because we fix our attention on wavering objects.”
“As breath stills our mind, our energies are free to unhook from the senses and bend inward.”
“Breath is the vehicle of consciousness and so, by its slow measured observation and distribution, we learn to tug our attention away from external desires toward a judicious, intelligent awareness.”
“The union of nature and soul removes the veil of ignorance that covers our intelligence.”
“There is a universal reality in ourselves that aligns us with a universal reality that is everywhere.”
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