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The True Meaning Of A Yoga Day

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now.–Old Chinese Proverb
This practice of yoga is to remove the weeds from the body and mind so that the garden can grow.– B K S Iyengar
My Guruji Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, who was conferred India’s first Padma (Vibhushan) award for contributions made in the field of Yoga, passed away on August 20, 2014, but he is surely here in spirit to see the world embrace this ancient art, science, culture and philosophy.
But what should be the true celebration of a Yoga Day? To understand that we must know that word comes from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning to unite or bind or join. Thus, Yoga aims to conjoin the individual (self) with the universal (force). It is an instrument to sensitise us,and extend our capabilities. In Yoga, what is the instrument? Only what we were born with – the body, mind and breath. Through the different asana and pranayama techniques, we touch these three dimensions within us to enhance our potenti…
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Light on Iyengar Yoga

One person has given to yoga what yoga itself gave him years ago: a new life. Today, if people speak of ‘Iyengar’ and ‘Yoga’ in the same breath, it is to acknowledge the inspiring life journey of Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, better known as B.K.S. Iyengar or, reverentially, Guruji.

Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar’s life story, in a way, is interconnected with the rise and spread of the ethos of Yoga across the world. If many countries now celebrate an International Yoga Day, it is mainly because of the seed of the idea planted by Guruji in a talk he once gave. To him goes the credit of making yoga respected as an art and a science, located within a rich philosophical framework.
In the beginning
But the wide recognition of Iyengar yoga as the global gold standard was preceded by a long and difficult journey for Guruji. When Sundararaja, then 16, started on the path of yoga, the odds were against him. He was a frail child during early years – over time, he had tuberculosis, bronchi…

Iyengar Yoga: An Introduction

What is Yoga?
Generally, yoga is known to be a 5,000-year-old subject, meant for the refinement and emancipation of the human being. Its scope includes the emancipation of the human being at the physical, physiological, mental, intellectual, emotional and spiritual levels. Hence it is an art, science and a philosophy. The word yoga is derived from the sanskrit ‘yuj’ meaning to bind, join, or unite. It is basically the communion of the individual soul with the universal spirit. But that is the end of yoga. Not all humans, however, aspire for such lofty ends; not all go on to complete their PhDs. But all aspire for basic learning and/or health and thus yoga has something to give to everyone irrespective of age, class, creed, religion, gender and nationality.The subject and practices of yoga are said to have passed down from generations until sage Patanjali, said to have lived in the 5th century BC and known as the codifier of yoga, codified its subject-matter in his classic text, Yoga S…

Amazing Facts About The Human Being

A well-known proverb says, “He who conquers others is strong, but he who conquers himself is mighty.” And, it is only when one embarks on this greatest adventure, of looking within and conquering oneself, that an amazing fact comes forth: that the technologically superior 21st century human being can far easily communicate from Japan to Canada rather than from the head to the toes. Man realises that he is yet, unknown. Today, the average person knows more about computer software than that of his or her inner body, mind and spirit.In order to bridge this lacunae in our knowledge and wonder, I have compiled some amazing facts on what makes us tick. In this process of introspection, you will discover some mind-boggling facts that will make you wonder once again at the depth and precision of the inner self. And at the same time, thank god for giving us the gift of yoga.When the world is busy bringing technology to 21st century standards, yoga endeavours to bring the human being into the 2…

Heroes - Different benchmarks

Don’t be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value… Arthur Miller
Have you heard of Mahavirprasad Saraf? Unlikely, because he is not the latest Bollywood entrant, a new telly-filly from the K-stable, a cricket hopeful, a hockey reject, or the next emerging voice of India. He is an ordinary man like you and me, except for one crucial fact. His tally of donated benches to Mumbai recently crossed the 15,000 mark.

The word hero today attracts an entirely new buzz. For most in the genNext, it is someone either from cricket or Bollywood or Page Three. What chance do common mortals have when even the Mahatma could become hero material only when he arrived on the scene via Munnabhai?

There was a time in the not-so distant past when the average person looked up to a class of people who exemplified commitment. Commitment to their art or profession or discipline, as well as to the community and society. Heroes went beyond the call of duty. The models to emulate t…

DRAWING LIFE FROM ART

IT IS very difficult to define art because it is a very subjective experience. An individual’s subjective experience may or may not be appreciated by all people in all times. Yet we all know that art touches one and all. Everyone possesses his or her own artistic side.
You watch a work of art by Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo and you are awed, inspired. Listen to a composition by Mozart or Beethoven, and it keeps you enthralled. Attend a Hari Prasad Chaurasia concert and you are struck by his sheer virtuosity.
Now imagine if the canvas of the artist was the human being himself, his life, his thoughts, his words and his deeds. If the composition and virtuosity required were the harmony between body, mind and soul to create the symphony of life.

Our Guruji, Yogacharya B K S Iyengar, is such an artist. All who have got a glimpse of Guruji’s life and work cannot but be touched by this overwhelming feeling. It moved renowned violinist, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, to write the inscription, “To my …

The Reach and Depth of Yogasanas

As a well-known quote tells us: mostly, people suffer from poor health and disorders not because of what they eat but from what is eating them. (There are more than 330 million people around the world suffering from depression – this is more than those suffering from heart disease, even AIDS.) It is imperative that we must effectively learn to control and filter what we eat or absorb from all the five senses and their king, the mind.Yogic postures (or asanas) effectively purify the karmendriyas (organs of action) and the gyanendriyas (senses of perception), thus creating an effective filter which sieves impurities. This maintains the qualitative content of sattva (purity), rajas (dynamism) and tamas (inertia) in the human being.

People today exercise under the mistaken notion that burning calories is burning impurities. The main aim of practising yogasanas is not just burning calories but burning impurities, be they physical, mental or spiritual.

Fact is that when most of us do the asan…