The Global Legacy Of Yoga's Master Teacher

With guest host Jane Clayson.

The legacy of Indian yoga master, B.K.S Iyengar, and his influence on yoga in the Western world.

Thousands of New Yorkers marked the first day of summer by practicing yoga in Times Square, during the 12th annual Solstice in Times Square. (AP)

Thousands of New Yorkers marked the first day of summer by practicing yoga in Times Square, during the 12th annual Solstice in Times Square. (AP)

Downward Dog. Sun Salutation. Dolphin Pose. Yoga in the US is a $10-billion dollar industry. There are yoga blocks, straps, mats. Designer yoga pants and shirts. Celebrities do it and we’ve all bought in, to some extent. And we owe it in large part to yoga master B.K.S Iyengar. Born sickly and poor in India in 1918, no one thought he’d survive. Yoga saved him and he began teaching a new kind of yoga, one that focused on alignment and precision. Iyengar died last week at the age of 95. This hour, On Point: The legacy of yoga master B.K.S Iyengar.

— Jane Clayson


 Elizabeth Kadetsky, journalist and author. Assistant professor of fiction and non fiction at Penn State University. Author of “First There is a Mountain” and “The Poison That Purifies You.” (@ekadetsky)

John Schumacher, founder and director of Unity Woods Yoga Center in Washington, D.C. (@SchumacherYoga)

Frederick Smith, professor of Sanskrit and classical Indian religions at the University of Iowa.

From The Reading List

BBC News Magazine: BKS Iyengar: The man who helped bring yoga to the West — “Right now, on exercise mats and in gym classes across Europe, North America and beyond, countless people who couldn’t tell you the first thing about Hindu or Buddhist spirituality are stretching, squatting and concentrating on their breathing. BKS Iyengar, who has died at the age of 95, was credited by many with helping make this happen.”

The Wall Street Journal: Yoga Guru B.K.S. Iyengar Dies in India — “One of the world’s best-known yoga gurus, B.K.S. Iyengar, who helped spread the Indian discipline across the globe, died Wednesday morning in the western Indian city of Pune. He was 95 years old. Mr. Iyengar developed and promoted what came to be called Iyengar yoga with precise poses and the use of props such as wooden blocks and belts to achieve perfect alignment. ”

The Guardian: BKS Iyengar obituary — “More than any other practitioner, Iyengar was responsible for the spread of interest in yoga in the west over the last half-century, having originally introduced the violinist Yehudi Menuhin to the art in the early 1950s. Iyengar used to say ‘my body is my temple and asanas are my prayers.’ He lived up to that maxim, keeping himself supremely fit. Yet during his childhood he was, in his words, ‘a creature of contempt for my people’ because of his constant ill-health.”

Music Used In This Program

— Music from “Samadhi” (used in the 1977 BKS Iyengar instructional film, “Samadhi.”)

— “Raga Yaman” by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan

— “Shanti” by Falu & Gaurav Shah

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