Most yogis have heard of or practice Iyengar yoga, created by the late B.K.S Iyengar. My only knowledge of Iyengar himself was a few excerpts from the documentary Enlighten Up, and since then I have only heard more and more fascinating things about him. I took an Iyengar class in Brooklyn at the Yogasana Center. The thing I remember the most is that at one point in a Supta Baddha Konasana, we were using 7 props. At the time I thought that was ridiculous and excessive, but was later informed that Iyengar yoga is largely based on aligning the body in a perfect way.
Here is my personal summary of his life story:
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja, rightfully nicknamed B.K.S, was born dirt poor in an Indian village suffering from health epidemics in 1918. He grew up among 12 siblings, weak and sick from a number of diseases I have only ever heard of from The Oregon Trail. When he was 15 he moved to Mysore and became a student of brother-in-law Krishnamachar. As with most in laws in the beginning, it was awkward and they didn’t get along very well. Things really started to get real when Iyengar started teaching in London, Switzerland, and Paris.
Loads of people were jumping the Iyengar bandwagon, and he branched into other forms of more gentle yoga after a spine crushing scooter accident. Yogis on scooters, it sounds like a sitcom. He wrote many books but the most popular was Light of Yoga, published in 1966, which I highly recommend. He has amazing insight, and I feel this book could be read another century from now and still be applicable to practicing yoga.
What an incredible dude. I also read that on his 80th birthday he performed 80 drop backs. WOW.