Yesterday B.K.S. Iyengar passed away at the age of 95. B.K.S. Iyengar is thought of as the father of modern Yoga. He popularized Yoga first in India and then brought it to the West. The West's first exposure to B.K.S. Iyengar came about as a result of one of his first students who was musician Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin bragged that his violin playing had improved because of his practice of Yoga with Iyengar and from that point forward Iyengar was thrust into the spotlight opening the doors to Yoga in the West. His first book Light on Yoga became an international best seller and has been translated into 17 different languages (It is also one of the books in Sensei's library). So many people today are quick to call themselves teachers and even more are quicker to try and teach others. It would be nice if the motive for becoming a teacher was less about one's ego and money and more about the the art. Having never met B.K.S. Iyengar, he struck me as the type of person who taught for the sake of the art and not for the glory or riches of being a teacher. I personally study Yoga and studied Iyengar style Yoga for five years in college and I am humbled by what he must have sacrificed to get his art to me a lowly and lazy practitioner.
I am inspired by him as a teacher and what he accomplished over his lifetime. I hope to someday be a teacher like B.K.S. Iyengar who kept the fires burning for the next generation. My only hope is that Aikido and Sensei's teachings be available for subsequent generations to come. So many today confuse being a teacher with fame and fortune. Sensei always said that, "Teaching is a noble profession" and that one needed to treat it that way. I understand it is a hard balance between making money and possibly becoming famous or well known and being a teacher. I believe that in order to strike a balance one must first go back to the root of why he is a teacher and that root should always be for the benefit of others. Teachers teach for no other reason than for the sake of others. All other reasons are immoral and deceitful and thus not making it a noble profession.
B.K.S. Iyengar was a teacher of Yoga, but what he was really teaching us was how to live our lives. If you think Yoga like Aikido is just exercise you are missing the point. Both are a vehicle towards spiritual, mental and emotional enlightenment but what is not understood is that like Aikido the enlightenment doesn't come at the end of practice because the practice itself is enlightenment. A quote accompanied the announcement of his death on his website read, "I always tell people, live happily and die majestically." This should be every person's rule to live by. Rest in peace.