B.K. S. Iyengar (1918 – 2014)
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar is the full name of B. K. S. Iyengar and he is known as the founder of Iyengar style of yoga (named after him) and also he was one of the most reputed yoga teacher of today’s time. He lived for 95 years and dedicated his whole life to yoga. He started doing yoga at the age of 15 years when his brother in law (Krishnamacharya, well distinguished yogi) advised him to do so to improve his health which was affected by many diseases like malaria, typhoid, high fever, etc. at very early age.
At just the mere age of 18 he started teaching yoga in Pune by the advice of his brother in law who saw him teaching his daughter and at teaching he always experiments with different asans and techniques and that’s how he later found out Iyengar Yoga, which is widely accepted by people who needs stamina and flexibility. Iyengar was very famous inn India from very early time and he got the international reorganization at the time when he visited violinist Yehudi Menuhin in Switzerland, who had become his friend. After that, Iyengar’s popularity worldwide increased and later his book- Light on Yoga was published which become international best-seller, translated into 17 different languages and sold 3 million copies worldwide and was author of 14 books.
Iyengar yoga is said to be a style of yoga which takes help of props to achieve the correct alignment of body. It is because in a scooter accident Iyengar’s spine got dislocated and afterwards he started exploring ways of doing yoga for disabled people which involves taking help of props like wooden block, straps, etc to get the proper alignment. Iyengar is said to be most influential yoga teacher internationally and there are thousands of Iyengar centers located all over the world. He was married to Ramamani and raised five daughters and one son. His wife passed at the age of 46 and later he named the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute after her.
Shri K. Pattabhai Jois (1915 – 2009) Age:- 93
Shri K. Pattabhai Jois was yoga teacher known worldwide for developing and promoting Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (a style of yoga). At the age of 12, he got influenced by T. Krishnamacharya (Father of Modern Yoga) when he attended Krishnamacharya’s lecture and the very next day became his yoga student and learned yoga for consecutively 2 years, without telling family members about it. When he was 15, he ran away from home to Mysore and lived there for the rest of his life. After couple of years from running away he got reunited with Krishnamacharya, who later made him the yoga teacher at his Yogshala. Afterwards in his life he held the post of professor and Honorary Professor in different colleges and teach at Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore.
He said that Ashtanga Yoga was the result of Yoga Korunta (ancient Sanskrit text) as he found this style of yoga by reading this text and practicing prescribed asans mentioned in it. Shri K. Pattabhai Jois is known worldwide for Ashtanga Yoga and this international reorganization came when a man named André Van Lysebeth (Belgian) become his student and afterward published a book named Yoga Self-Taught (English translation) which mentioned Sri Jois. After this, many famous celebrities become his students like Gwyneth Paltrow, Larry Schultz, Sting, Madonna, Caroline Klebl and Bryan Kest.
Shri Jois claimed that he was the teacher of B. K. S. Iyengar (founder of Iyengar Yoga), but this claim was refused by later stating that it is not true and he have never learned yoga from Sri Jois though his brother in law (T. Krishnamacharya) was his as well as Jois’s yoga guru for many years. He got married to Savitaramma at the age of 18 and has 3 children Ramesh, Manju and Saraswathi. He was also the author of book named- Yoga Mālā (Kannada).
Swami Kuvalayananda (1883 – 1966)
Swami Kuvalayananda is known for his scientific research on yoga and also for his humanity. He was celibate and was greatly influenced by many Indian freedom fighters in the British Raj and realized that the society need literacy and awareness which he promoted throughout his whole life, as he himself belonged to very poor family and knew the importance of education and its power.
When he come under his professor Paramahamsa Madhavdasji also a yogi, he come face to face with the yogi life and its discipline which later inspired him to find the science hidden behind yoga with the aim of promoting yoga in India for physical wellness of people. He started research on yoga at the laboratory of Baroda Hospital, as he got deeper in research he realized that yoga can help society in numerous ways if promoted rightly and he made this his life aim.
He opened Kaivalyadhama Health and Yoga Research Center to research easily on yoga and thereafter published very famous ‘Yoga Mimamsa’- a quarterly published journal which states his research on various asans and pranayams and their results. At that time his work was appreciated by many professional researchers from many reputed universities like- University of Michigan, Columbia University, University of California and Yale University and west researchers visited his Center to do more research by themselves. In his later years he established more Kaivalyadhama Health and Yoga Research Center to promote yoga for public cause.
He was very good at studies but it was hard to keep up his studies because of his family’s poorness and when he got scholarship for studying Sanskrit, he thought he would do something for people. He was devoted to helping society from very early age and knows their life’s roughness very well and succeeded in doing so.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918 – 2008)
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was the High Seer, he is mostly famous for founding the Transcendental Meditation technique or TM which focus on repeating mantras with closed eyes. Also he is known internationally for Beatles and beach boy’s Guru and ‘giggling guru’ because he usually laughed while giving interviews. Maharishi’s birth name was Mahesh Prasad Verma but as he becomes senior yogi, he was offer the honorific ‘Maharishi’. Maharishi belonged to very wealthy family and in his childhood, he was greatly influenced by his Grandfather’s stories about saints and their life and this influence was further carried ahead by his uncle to protect him from material world.
He was celibate and vegetarian. He become the student of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (his lifelong Guru) and stayed in Himalaya, that’s where he got the knowledge about power of mantras and spreading TM. He always dedicated everything he has learnt and his doing to his Guru and said that “it was his teachings not mine doing.”
His international recognization came when he became Guru of Beatles and beach boys, after that he started his ten year long tour to spread the TM in the world to create world and inner peace. His movement was appreciated by many and large number of people was taking part in it from all over the world. Later he decided to make up TM teachers who could follow his legacy and take his work ahead and also opened up thousand of TM centers around globe. He was author of 31 books which mainly throws light on yogi’s life, spirituality, TM, nature, peace, etc. There is also a university named after him- Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA. Maharishi died natural death after retiring 3 weeks before his death from TM’s head and other movements to live alone & in silence.
The last words that were ever heard from him are “Live long the world in peace, happiness, prosperity, and freedom from suffering.”