Friday, July 12, 2019

Sri BNS Iyengar: a Hidden Treasure in Mysore [Biography]

BNS Iyengar Bio

In this blog, you can find a brief biography of Guruji BNS Iyengar, a senior yoga master based in Mysore. This bio is courtesy of Andrew Eppler, who directed the documentary Mysore Yoga Traditions, and of Kanchen Mala of Mysore Krishnamacharr Yoga Shala.

As I was writing about my experience studying with Guruji, earlier this year, I realized that his bio was not available online anymore.

I knew Andrew Eppler had worked on it, so I contacted him to ask if he had it published somewhere.  I just wanted to link to it.

Andrew actually sent me the whole bio.  He told me that I could publish it in my blog, if I would consider it helpful.

Well, I couldn't be more honored to have guruji's biography on my blog.  So here it is:

Sri BNS Iyengar's Biography

Sri BNS Iyengar is the last of his generation, and studied directly with Sri T. Krishnamacharya and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

For yoga students who are interested in learning traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga he offers a wide variety of subjects.

Guruji is a Sanskrit scholar with in-depth knowledge of the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali Sutras and many other scriptures. (Guriji means “Teacher Sir” and is a title given to senior teachers in Indian culture, especially Yoga teachers.)

He is gifted in his ability to convey an authentic and traditional view of yoga to his students. Studying under his guidance offers the possibility to learn Pranayama, Mudra, Philosophy and other subjects that are part of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga but not commonly taught to Western students.

By studying with Guruji the western student can get a glimpse into the cultural background that the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga evolved from.

Sri BNS Iyengar was born in 1927 in a small village in South India called Hemmige Agrahara. This village is considered a holy place and has many ancient and beautiful Vishnu temples dedicated to Lord Vadaraja and his consort Perundevi.

Brought up in a Brahmin family, Guruji was immersed in the ancient rituals, scriptures and customs of India culture. His interest in Yoga began at an early age.

Sri BNS Iyengar’s education took place in Mysore and other parts of India. He attended the Maharajas Sanskrit College in Mysore, one of the most prestigious Sanskrit colleges in India.

In addition to his college courses, he also studied Yoga with Sri T. Krishnamacharya for 5 years and then continued with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Krishnamacharya’s senior student, for another 12 years after Sri T. Krishnamacharya left Mysore in 1948.

In those early years, he learned the Ashtanga Vinyasa system of asana practice, as well as Pranayama, Mudra, and many other disciplines. He received a thorough education in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Not only in asana practice but all related subjects as well.

Sri BNS Iyengar’s academic education, both with Sri T. Krishnamacharya and the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College was long and in-depth. It included the study of the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali Sutras, and many other scriptures.

He received a BSc degree from Mysore University. His education also included Ayurveda, Astrology, Classical Indian Music, Physiology, Sanskrit Grammar, Chanting, Vinyasa Vidya and Nyasa Vidya.

Throughout his life, Guruji has always been an avid scholar, writer, and thinker with a true passion for philosophy. To this day he loves to engage in spiritual discussion and debate with his students.

Sri BNS Iyengar is a hidden treasure in Mysore.

He has taught Yoga to both local people and students from all over the world for over 30 years. His teachings have touched many students in many countries.

In his early years, he refused to advertise and simply taught whoever appeared before him and whoever was truly interested. He founded Sri Patanjala Yoga Shala in Parakala Mutt when he was invited to teach there in 1984.

The Parakala Mutt has existed in Mysore since around 1400 AD and has always been supported by the royal families in Mysore. The inauguration of Sri Patanjala Yoga Shala was presided over by Vidwan Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

Guruji has also traveled extensively teaching throughout India and also the United Kingdom, Europe, and America.

For the last 10 years, Guruji has taught at Mysore Krishnamacharr Yoga Shala under the management of Kanchen Mala. Guruji and Kanchen travel often together on teaching trips and recently taught in the USA.

For any yoga student who is truly interested in the background of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and learning all the philosophies and interconnected practices such as Pranayama, Mudra, etc., Guruji is basically “the last link to the real deal”.

He is the oldest living teacher of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. He carries an authenticity that comes with his age and lifelong dedication to yoga. He continues to conduct his classes daily with passion, humor, and inspiration at Mysore Krishnamacharr Yoga Shala.

Studying yoga with BNS Iyengar

If you are interested in studying with BNS Iyengar I suggest you first read about my experience studying yoga philosophy and pranayama with Guruji in February 2019. That would give you an idea of what to expect from his classes.

You can learn more about BNS Iyengar personal philosophy by visiting the interview I had with Guruji back in 2015.

BNS Iyengar contact details

BNS Iyengar no longer teaches at Mysore Krishnamacharr Yoga Shala. He is currently teaching pranayama, mudra, and philosophy at Mysore Mandala Yoga Shala.

If you would like to study with Guruji you'll need to contact them directly at:

Mysore Mandala Yogashala
#897/1, Narayan Shastry Road,
Mysore 570004
Landmark : Near Vatsalya Hospital
Between 10 am and 6 pm
Phone: +91 821 425 6277

By the way, to know what clothes to wear and what items to bring for your yoga adventure to India make sure you visit my detailed India packing list for yogis.

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