BNS Iyengar was part of the peer group that developed in Mysore in the formative years of Ashtanga Yoga. Under the tutelage of Sri T. Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois, he developed an alternative form of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga that is accessible to all. Today, he remains the eldest living master of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga living in the world. At age 93, he continues to teach daily classes in yogasana, mudra, pranayama, and philosophy at Krishnamachar Yoga Shala in Mysore, India. Portrait by Dallos Paz.
"One day, a yogi goes to the market for lunch. At his favorite food stall, he orders chapati. Separately, he also orders a bit of ghee to put on his chapati. After receiving his food, he decides he wants a chai as well. He orders one, but realizes his hands are full. So he sets his food down on a bench as he blows on his chai to cool it off. Just as he takes his first sip, a stray dog sneaks up, grabs his chapati, and flees with it. He quickly runs after the dog, chasing it all through the market yelling, 'Wait! Wait! You forgot your ghee!!!' This must be the yogi's attitude towards every living being."
-BNS Iyengar on karma yoga
April 2013, Krishnamachar Yoga Shala. 1st trip to India
"For the common man, time depends on the movement of the sun. For the yogi, time depends on the number of breaths. It is under your control. We cannot control the movement of the earth or sun, but we can control the breath. This is how the yogi conquers time."
In September 2013, Guruji traveled from Mysore to Norman, Oklahoma for a week-long workshop at Ashtanga Yoga Studio. It was his first visit to the United States, at age 86. Students (L-R): Kanchen Mala, Lea Miller, Allison See, Andrew Eppler, Erin Fore, Eduardo Mateo, Aaron Varela, Stephen Deckard, Joey Paz, Bryce Delbridge.
"Long breathing, long life. Short breathing, short life. A dog breathes 80 times per minute and lives to be 20 years, maximum. But, a tortoise breathes only 4 times per minute and lives 400 years."
Demonstrating Padangustasana at Ashtanga Yoga Studio, Norman, OK w/Joey Paz & Aaron Varela.
"To build the steps from the 1st floor to the 2nd floor of a building, materials are required - water, cement, brick, stone, and so forth. Like that, principles are required to properly practice pranayama. Asana is the ground floor of yoga practice. It must be strong before you begin to build on top of it. Pranayama is the stairway to the higher states of yoga."
August 2015. 2nd trip to Mysore.