Yoga exponent Geeta Iyengar, daughter of B.K.S. Iyengar, passes away
Dr. Geeta S. Iyengar, the eldest daughter of legendary Yoga guru, B.K.S. Iyengar and a noted exponent of the yogic science in her own right, passed away at her residence on Sunday, aged 74.The cause of death was myocardial infarction, said family sources.Dr. Iyengar’s sudden death comes barely two days after the conclusion of the birth centenary celebrations of ‘Yogacharya’ Iyengar held at the city’s Balewadi sports complex. Described in the world press as the world’s “leading female yoga exponent” and a “pioneer” who blazed a trail for women in Yoga, she carved out a niche in adapting yogic principles for women.Her book ‘Yoga: A gem for women’ became the primer for women across the world and was translated in half-a-dozen European languages.Ms. Iyengar, who jointly directed the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) along with her brother Prashant, began imbibing the precepts of yoga from her father at a tender age.Already a recognized teacher by the age of 16, she began instructing in the early 1960s. With a doctorate in Ayurveda, she melded her knowledge of the medicinal system with the principles of yoga. Adhering closely to her father’s emphasis on classical sources and ritual practices of yoga, she soon emerged out of the Yogacharya’s shadow to spread the ‘Iyengar brand’ in countries across the globe.She believed that the aim of yoga was ultimately to reach the core of eternal truth, which involved a long process of transformation.Maintaining a punishing schedule till her last breath, Ms. Iyengar kept instructing and touring the country’s hinterland extensively for the past year in anticipation of the 10-day exposition (which began on December 3) and the birth centenary celebrations of Yogacharya Iyengar, which concluded on December 14 last week.“Geetaji’s death comes as a shock to all of us…she was an extremely vibrant person and was the moving force behind the 10-day practical yoga exposition to mark the Yogacharya’s birth centenary. She even took classes on the occasion,” said Shael Sharma, one of Yogacharya’s disciples.Like her father, she was a noted expounder of Patanjali’s ‘Yoga Sutra’, which she held was the foundation of the art and science of yoga.Touring the globe extensively, she held inspirational retreats and conventions in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and South Africa among other places in the world.Her retreats blended rigorous instruction with humour and compassion. They aimed at a unity of the body and the mind and often transcended the asanas, the pranayama and mere remedial teaching to include chanting and Sanskrit pronunciation.“Yoga,” she once said in a 2011 interview, “was like an elixir of life to me.” Yet, like her father, Geeta Iyengar kept ill-health through much of her childhood.At the age of nine, she suffered from nephritis (kidney inflammation) and had to be hospitalized as a result.This caused her father great consternation, as he was not able to afford the high cost of medication; he instead recommended that she practice asanas to improve her health, spurring her lifelong devotion to Yoga.She is survived by her brother Prashant and her four sisters.