I first came to the Iyengar Yoga Institute in 1987 to get admission for myself. While filling in the form, I heard somebody roaring in the class! Out of fear and inquisition, I sneaked a look inside the class only to find that the roaring lion was none other than Guruji BKS Iyengar. The class included several eminent doctors, leading professionals, industrialists, artists as well as householders. I was rather taken aback watching Gurjui’s stance and the lion-like personality. I felt that this wasn’t my cup of tea and never filled the form!
It is said that it takes a lot of good merits to get such a great master in life. My sufferings had yet to continue to make me worthy to be under his wings of grace. I had to wait for two more years to enter the Institute again! One fine day in 1989, I was called to visit the Institute in my professional capacity as a physiotherapist. As I entered this prestigious place, I could not help feeling elated and joyous.
I soon became a student of Prashanjtji and Guruji. I started experiencing the benefits and relief of my own physical issues. Simultaneously I had the good fortune of having Guruji’s precious and personal guidance in treating different ailments using modified asanas.
Very soon I realised that Yoga therapy could extend the limits of Physiotherapy and Guruji graced me by changing my clinic into Physio-Yoga Clinic. With this synergy, patients with a wide variety of health conditions started experiencing peace and quietude in addition to improvement in their physical health.
Guruji’s innovative approach using props such as chairs and ropes empowers and enables the weak, the paralysed and the aged person in maintaining difficult asanas such as Sirsasana and Sarvangasana. Maximum benefit can be attained by maintaining the asana for a longer duration.
Although asanas are initially introduced to improve the physical body, they work subtly on the Chitta (mind) and bring about change in the chemistry of individual, which over time impacts on one’s overall personality.
In addition to perfect alignment and sequencing of asanas, Guruji emphasised on exhaling the anger, passion, lust, jealousy and infatuations - all the negativity and to inhale peace, tranquillity, quietude, contentment, sublimity, nobility - all the positivity.
Guruji emphasised the need to conquer the 6 enemies (Shadripoos) and build a strong base of virtuosity and character through the practice of Yoga. He believed only then would this body be a fit vehicle to experience the silent in-dweller within. Thus this way of practicing ‘Yoga’ is transformed into ‘Yog’ a spiritual endeavour. Many of us have experienced an end to physical pains and ailments by regular practice. Guruji and Prashantji often reminded us that we need to be vigilant so that we do not get caught in this Maya (illusion) of Yoga!
Guruji told us to put our ‘Ego’ outside along with the footwear before stepping into the Yoga class. This prepared us to be the students of this noble subject despite our achievements in worldly life. For ripping layers of ego, Guruji had to have a personality like a lion. In my long association, I observed different facets where everybody from celebrity to watchmen were treated with equality by Guruji.
His dedication, discipline, precision, enthusiasm, strength and yet compassion and tenderness toward the ones who were suffering and his dedication towards Yoga inspired all of us. His laughter and the cheerfulness showed that the child in him was always awake. We found in him an artist, a super diagnostic specialist, a strict disciplinarian father and at the same time a loving mother!
Guruji was a true Karma Yogi, a Bhakta and a Dnyani too. Guruji worked immensely against overwhelming odds and we have the great fortune of enjoying the benefits. Guruji will thus remain for eternity in the history of Yoga to guide the seekers.
Guruji and Prashantji came into my life at a very crucial moment and uplifted me as well as my family. We shall always remain indebted to them forever.