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Renowned yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies

The yoga guru who helped make the ancient Indian spiritual practice a global phenomenon passes away, aged 95.

Last updated: 20 Aug 2014 17:58
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BKS Iyengar, the yoga guru who helped take the ancient Indian spiritual practice to the rest of the world has died.

Iyengar died early on Wednesday in hospital after suffering kidney failure, the Press Trust of India news agency said. He was 95.

His website carried a tribute which read: "I always tell people, 'live happily and die majestically'"

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a yoga lover, tweeted that he was "deeply saddened to know about Yogacharya (yoga teacher) BKS Iyengar's demise".

"Generations will remember Shri BKS Iyengar as a fine guru, scholar & a stalwart who brought yoga into the lives of many across the world," he said. 

Globally recognised

Iyengar started his yoga school in 1973 in the Indian city of Pune, developing a unique form of the practice that he said anyone could follow.

He trained hundreds of teachers to disseminate his approach, which uses props such as belts and ropes to help the novice practitioner to achieve the right poses.

He wrote many books on yoga, a practice that dates back more than 2,000 years in Asia, but has in recent decades become hugely popular around the world.

He attracted many celebrity followers, among them the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who came across Iyengar before he became famous, during a trip to Mumbai.

"Perhaps no one has done more than Mr. Iyengar to bring yoga to the West," said the New York Times in a 2002 profile of the guru.

"Long before Christy Turlington was gracing magazine covers, decades before power yoga was a multimillion-dollar business, Mr. Iyengar was teaching Americans, among others, the virtues of asanas and breath control."

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Source:
AFP
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