Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on October 28th, 2014

B.K.S. Iyengar: Who overcame rejection and ridicule to spread yoga across the world.

B.K.S. Iyengar
B.K.S. Iyengar   Photo: echo.net.au

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years in Asia. But to spread yoga around the world, including throughout his native India required a determined person.

That person was B.K.S. Iyengar ("eye yun gar"), who recently passed away at age 95.

The 11th of 13 children, Iyengar was born into poverty in India and was a sickly child. At various times in his youth, he nearly died from malaria, tuberculosis or typhoid.

"My arms were thin, my legs were spindly, and my stomach protruded in an ungainly manner," he would later write. "My head used to hang down, and I had to lift it with great effort."

In desperation, 16 year old Iyengar focused on yoga and two years later, as his mind and body strengthened, he began to teach as well as study.

"I set off in yoga 70 years ago when ridicule, rejection and outright condemnation were the lot of a seeker through yoga even in its native land of India," Iyengar wrote in his 2005 book, "Light on Life."

"Indeed, if I had become a sadhu, a mendicant holy man, wandering the great trunk roads of British India, begging bowl in hand, I would have met with less derision and won more respect."

But yoga was Iyengar's passion, a passion he avidly shared with others.

One of those people was the renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who while in India in 1952 came for a yoga session with Iyengar.

For Menuhin, that session was profound, as he thereafter not only became actively involved with yoga; he later brought Iyengar to Europe and introduced him to prominent Westerners.

One of those Westerners was Belgium's Queen Mother, who despite her being 80 years old, Iyengar taught to stand on her head.

Iyengar's reputation was now spreading far and wide and in 1956 he came to the U.S. for the first of many trips he would make to teach yoga.

In 1966, his book, "Light on Yoga," became a global bestseller, making Iyengar and yoga more famous than ever.

Today, according to Yoga Journal from a 2012 survey, there are 20 million yoga practitioners in the U.S. alone in what is now a $10 billion global industry.

This means this once sickly child, ridiculed as a young man for his yoga teachings, succeeded in introducing yoga throughout the world.

Success Tip of the Week: If you think one person can't change the world, think of Iyengar as you too could change the world in pursuit of your passion.

Editor's Note: To learn more click here (which has a 1 minute, 44 second video well worth watching) here , here and here.

In the next KazanToday: A man who successfully fought the educational establishment and revolutionized higher education.

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