Yoga in GoaYoga in Goa

Yogis of India

BKS Iyengar
BKS Iyengar The full name of BKS Iyengar, one of the most renowned yoga gurus in the whole world, is Belur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar. Popularly known as Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, he is man who founded the Iyengar Yoga. The guru has been teaching people the art of yoga since the past sixty years and at the same time, is the author of numerous books on yogic practice and philosophy, along with several definitive yoga texts.

His most popular books include 'Light on Yoga', 'Light on Pranayama' and 'Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali'. The majority of credit for the introduction of yoga in the west goes to Sri BKS Iyengar only. One can find Iyengar yoga centers even in the remotest corners of the world. Today, the great man is over 80 years old and still stands as strong as ever. With this biography, you will get a brief introduction on BKS Iyengar.

His Life History
Sri B.K.S. Iyengar was born on 14th December 1918 in the Belur district of Karnataka. He faced difficulties in the early stages of life itself. Iyengar was born into a large poor family and immediately after his birth; he fell in the grips of an influenza epidemic that left him totally frail and unhealthy. Then, the poor boy lost his father at the tender age of nine years. Thereafter, he went to live with his brother in Bangalore. Throughout his childhood, BKS Iyengar experienced one illness or the other, including malaria, tuberculosis and typhoid, along with malnutrition.

When he turned fifteen, he went to Mysore to stay with his eldest sister and her husband, a scholar and a yogi, Sri T. Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya used to teach yoga to people in his own school, which was situated in the Palace of the Raja of Mysore. It was in this school that Iyengar learnt the basic asana of Yoga, which led to a considerable improvement in his health. In the year 1937, his Guru asked him to go to Pune and teach yoga there. There, he faced great difficulty because of little knowledge of the English language and lack of schooling.

At the same time, B.K.S. Iyengar has little experience or theoretical knowledge in the field of yoga. Still, he decided to first learn by trial and error and then, practice thoroughly to make himself perfect. This period turned out to be another difficult phase in his life, when he survived on a diet of mostly bread or rice and kept practicing for hours at a stretch. With time, the number of students attending his yoga classes began to increase. However, the monetary compensation was still not too great. In 1943, BKS Iyengar got married to Ramamani.

International Recognition
Slowly and gradually, B.K.S. Iyengar gained recognition as a yoga teacher in the Indian subcontinent. However, international recognition still seemed to be a distant task. It was in 1952, when he met violinist Yehudi Menuhin, that he started moving on the road to international appreciation. Menuhin made arrangements for taking Iyengar to countries like London, Switzerland and Paris, where he was supposed to teach yoga to the people. With this, he came into contact with people belonging to different countries and different walks of life.

The fame of BKS Iyengar started growing day by day and he began writing books on yoga. His first book 'Light on Yoga' was published in the year 1966 and went on to become one of the international bestsellers. The latest book of BKS Iyengar, 'Yoga: The path to Holistic Health' was published in 2001. The guru opened his own institute in Pune, by the name of 'Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute', in the memory of his wife. He still stays and, at times, teaches at the institute.

BKS Iyengar officially retired from teaching in the year 1984. However, he continues to take medical as well as yoga classes, at special events. At the same time, he is also actively involved in the promotion of yoga throughout the world. These days, classes are being conduced by his daughter Geeta, his son Prashant and other senior teachers.

Iyengar Yoga
Yoga comprises of eight different aspects, namely Yama and Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Iyengar yoga is a form of yoga, which serves as a way of life to all. It is meant for each and every individual and makes use of props. An individual uses things like wooden gadgets, belts, ropes, etc, to achieve perfection in any asana. Regular practice of 'Iyengar Yoga' leads to an integration of the body, the mind as well as the emotions.

The efforts of BKS Iyengar in the filed of Yoga were recognized by the Government of India, which then awarded him with two awards.
  • Padma Shree (1991)
  • Padma Bhushan (2002)

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

About Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Swami Satyananda Saraswati Swami Satyananda Saraswati belonged to the Dashnami lineage of Adi Shankaracharya. He is one of the members of the tribe of Swamis who are called for the order of "Saraswati". In the other words, he is one of the sanyasi-scholars, who live the life of a Brahmin and believe in both knowledge and devotion. Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati is one of the most famous Yoga Gurus, not only in India, but also in the West. Get to know more about the guru with this biography.

His Life History
Swami Satyananda Saraswati was born in the year 1923, in Almora town of Uttar Pradesh. At the tender age of six, Satyananda started having spontaneous psychic and spiritual experiences. During such events, he used to become completely unaware of his body for quite a long time. By the time he reached fifteen years of age, Satyananda started practicing Kundalini Yoga. In another two years, he began asking complex questions like 'what is the difference between perception and experience?'

At nineteen years, he decided to find a Guru who would guide him towards the highest state of consciousness and left his house in this pursuit. It was in the year 1943 that he met Yoga Master Swami Sivananda Saraswati in Rishikesh city of Uttar Pradesh and his search came to an end. He stayed with the Guru for a period of three years. Thereafter, he was initiated by Sivananda Saraswati into the Dashnami order, as a Poorna as well as a Paramahamsa Sanyasi. He was then given the name of 'Swami Satyananda Saraswati'.

Paramahamsa Satyananda completed his initial sanyas training of twelve years in the year 1956. This was followed by his initiation into Kriya Yoga, again by Swami Sivananda. Thereafter, he began to practice Parivrajaka (Mendicant) stage of sanyasa. During this period, Swami Satyananda Saraswati traveled all over the Indian subcontinent. This travel helped him in meeting numerous saints of that time as well as knowing the needs of the society. Swamiji spent years in seclusion, practicing and perfecting his Yoga Sadhana.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati went on his first World Tour in 1968, under the guidance of his Guru. This was followed by several international and national tours, to promote the teaching of yoga. In July 1963, after Swami Sivananda Saraswati passed away, Swami Satyananda established the headquarters of his mission in Munger city of Bihar. In the subsequent years, he set up the Bihar School of Yoga, International Yoga Fellowship Movement, Sivananda Math and the Yoga Research Foundation.

In 1973, Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati was recognized as an Adept (God realized Yogi). The International Yoga Convention was held to commemorate the Sanyasa Golden Jubilee renunciation of Swami Sivananda. It was here that the renowned saints and sages of India accepted him as one of the principal experts in the filed of esoteric knowledge as well as the leading proponent of Yoga.

In the years that he devoted to Yoga teaching, Swami Satyananda Saraswati mastered over eighty masterful Yoga texts. He renounced teaching, in 1988, to take up the lifestyle of a Paramahamsa. After settling in the small village of Rikhia, he has been leading a life of meditative seclusion. Today, he involved in the practice of the severest of the Vedic Sadhanas, such as the Panch Agni Sadhana. He still meets people once in a year, for few weeks, to share his radiance of truth with them.

• Founded 'Sri Panch Dashnam Paramahamsa Alakh Bara' at Rikhia (1900)
• Inaugurated 'Raj Sooya Yajna', an ancient Vedic ceremony (2001)

Swami Niranjanananda

Swami Niranjanananda Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati was born in Rajnandgaon, Madhya Pradesh in 1960. At the age of 4 he joined the Bihar School of Yoga and was initiated into Dashnami Sannyasa by Paramahamsa Satyananda at the age of 10. He spent twelve years overseas and toured many countries setting up ashrams and centers in Europe, Australia and America whilst developing an understanding of the specific needs of different cultures.

In 1983 he was appointed President of the Bihar School of Yoga. During the next 11 years he guided the development of BSY, Sivananda Math and the Yoga Research Foundation. In 1990 he was initiated as a Paramahamsa and in 1993 anointed preceptor in successor to Paramahamsa Satyananda. Bihar Yoga Bharati, Institute for Yogic Studies was founded under his direction in 1994, dedicated to university level studies in applied yogic science, philosophy and psychology. He has authored over 20 revealing and precise books, on yoga, Tantra and the Upanishads. Swami Niranjanananda is laying the foundations to preserve and regenerate the total scope of yogic science by combining academic and scientific methodology with a spiritual vision.

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