The founder of Iyengar yoga, BKS Iyengar, is currently in hospital in India, in a ‘serious but stable’ condition. The 96 year old, internationally respected guru was taken into a private hospital in the city of Pune on Wednesday 13th August, according to the Times of India.
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, better known as BKS Iyengar, is respected and loved by yoga aficionados for his work, and he is widely credited as being responsible for making yoga popular around the world. His book, ‘Light on Yoga’ delves into the science behind Hatha Yoga, from which Iyengar is derived, and the Iyengar methods also introduced the use of props to yoga practice to make the asanas easier to learn. This and the precise methods of teaching the poses have done much to help make yoga accessible to a wider range of people.
In 2004 BKS Iyengar was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time Magazine, and he was awarded India’s second-highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, earlier this year.
Doctors who were treating Iyengar said last week that he had been admitted to hospital after the breathing problems he had been attempting to treat at home became worse. He had also been having problems with swollen feet, which led the doctors to believe that the guru was probably suffering from a heart-related complaint.
His secretary, Pandurang Rao, said that he had been unwell for over two weeks, and that following a series of tests, he had been diagnosed with heart failure.
Even though the guru is well into his tenth decade, he had showed no signs of slowing down in recent years. He travelled to Delhi in May this year, and then spent a further month in Bangalore.
“The trips certainly put a strain on him. Ever since he returned to Pune, he said he could feel the exhaustion”, according to Rao.
Iyengar has already survived two heart attacks, one in 1998 and another in 2000.
Doctors reported that although Iyengar’s heart was weak and beginning to fail, he was still fully conscious, was able to hold conversations with doctors and visitors, and was eating normally. His health problems are exacerbated by his advanced age, and the fact that on top of heart failure, his kidneys are also showing signs of decreased function, which isn’t unusual in patients with heart conditions.
Update: 20th August 2014
B. K. S. Iyengar Dies at 95 from heart failure