PUNE: Yoga is one of the most sought-after fitness regimes in the whole world today. On the occasion of the beginning of the birth centenary year of BKS Iyengar, the man who has made a great contribution towards spreading the knowledge of Yoga amongst common people, Dr Geeta Iyengar, his daughter, speaks about the importance of practicing Yoga in this ever-changing modern world
What is the importance of practicing Yoga in day-to-day life?
Yoga certainly comprises of body exercises. However, that’s not everything this has to offer. It has a much greater philosophical and spiritual relevance in our lives. Yoga is a very complex science, but it’s no secret. That’s why, BKS Iyengar, whom we disciples respectfully still refer to as Guruji, tried to spread the knowledge of Yoga amongst people, in the simplest possible manner.
How did Iyengar begin the journey of giving the knowledge of Yoga to people?
Guruji was a patient of tuberculosis since childhood. However, he couldn’t be medically treated very well due to family conditions. At a very young age, he took to Yoga, which helped him overcome the disease, thus making him realise how important is Yoga, for a healthy life. Hence, he decided to take it to all the people.
With his Guru T Krushnamacharya, Guruji had been demonstrating Yoga to people since the age of 15. After he shifted to Pune, he first started teaching Yoga at Deccan Gymkhana. Later, he also started classes at Fergusson College, Bhave School, Renuka Swaroop Prashala, etc, in order to take Yoga to the younger generation of the time. Eventually, as his practice grew, he eventually moved to Mumbai, then the whole country and abroad. It was his flexibility and the simplicity with which he explained and demonstrated Yoga that made him popular among the public.
What was Iyengar’s role in promoting Yoga amongst women?
When Guruji began teaching Yoga, the practice was considered to be meant only for men. However, Guruji understood that Yoga was necessary for women as well, and began giving lessons to women. His approach too was such that the women coming to him to learn were at ease and comfort and could perform Yoga without any hesitation.
Even today, Iyengar Yoga addresses the women’s health issues, whether it’s puberty, infertility, or any other women’s disorders.
How important is practicing Yoga, for the impatient younger generation born in the era of ‘instant’?
Today, certainly there is more awareness about Yoga amongst the new generation than before. However, being born in times when nothing is much difficult to gain, they lack the passion and patience that is required to practice Yoga with dedication. And this is one of the reasons why this generation needs to practice Yoga more than any of the earlier ones. There are so many distractions in their lives. They have the habit of getting everything instantly. At the same time, the levels of stress and competition have risen more than ever. To deal with all this, and still lead a peaceful, simple life, this generation needs to practice Yoga.