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A visit to Bellur Iyengar Yoga Centre

 

 

Abha Humeniuk, of Tiny ON, visited the Bellur Iyengar Yoga Centre in May 2023. She tells us of her experience.

 

 

On November 27 2023, we received sad news from Prashantji that Raghuji, the son-in-law of B.K.S. Iyengar and a tireless worker who was instrumental in the realization of the Yoga Centre in Bellur, had left his physical form for higher realms. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and all those who were touched by his presence.

 

 

Many of our Canadian practitioners may not know Raghuji, but this past May, I had the privilege of meeting him in Bellur. As Prashantji mentioned in one of the introductory classes, we are deeply indebted to him for his enthusiastic devotion in making Guruji’s dream come true.

Bellur is the birthplace of Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar. It is a small village in the Kolar district of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, and is where I attended the residential programme taught by Prashant Iyengar, Guruji’s son.

The Bellur International Yoga Centre was established by BKSSNT (Bellur Krishnamachar & Seshamma Smaraka Niddhi Trust – in honour of Guruji’s parents). It is a wonderful place to experience yoga and meet other yoga students. Here, everything is well organised with precision. From a stark rocky locale to a landscape of greenery, fruit trees (papayas, mangoes and bananas) have been cultivated and are flourishing. Their bounty graced our breakfast table each morning. Apart from the yoga centre, the foundation has established a hospital and school and has provided a variety of employment opportunities for numerous local inhabitants.

Arriving at Bangalore’s spacious and modern airport, we quickly met and made the acquaintance of our fellow students who had converged here from many different countries. Friendships were immediately forged. Institute staff met us and we then traveled by coach through the countryside for the short onward journey to the Bellur Yoga Centre.

 

The yoga hall

 

The yoga hall contains statues of Patanjali, Guruji and Amma, and a large photograph of Geetaji. They all speak to us. The hall itself has amazing natural light, cross ventilation, yoga wall ropes and many inspiring images of B.K.S. Iyengar. The main hall is 7715 square feet in area, very spacious and most conducive to yoga practice. The dormitories are well laid out and appointed and are located adjacent to the outdoor cafeteria that overlooks the rural and agricultural setting.

 

The open-air cafeteria

Traditional vegetarian meals are provided. The cleanliness, timeliness and Sattvic diet provided here (healthy and wholesome) is excellent. The meals were lavish as well as balanced, nutritious and delicious. The open-air cafe has a lovely breeze and one can interact with fellow students.

 

Traditional South Indian dishes for our farewell meal

 

For all this we are grateful to Raghuji.

Each day was an immersion in morning and evening classes taught by Prashantji. I felt like many of the concepts of yoga I had heard in my childhood were being clarified. He is a treasure trove of traditional knowledge and there is so much to learn from him.

He is currently the director of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (R.I.M.Y.I.) in Pune, and an acknowledged authority on yoga. His knowledge about the scriptures and the ancient texts makes learning yoga interesting and worthwhile. Also, the experience of going to the Patanjali and Hanuman temples adds to our experience of love and devotion. It is truly an enriching experience.

It is a magical place, as Firooza Razvi puts it. It is insulated from the outside world and therefore a great stimulus for immersion. International students and National Indian students were there to receive Prashantji’s teachings. He advocates exploration, openmindedness and inclusivity.

For those who have been only to Pune, they should also visit Bellur. The experience might take you to a new level, and we will be fulfilling our duty towards Guruji’s dream.

 

 

For more information on the Bellur Iyengar Yoga Centre and the possibilities for residential study, please visit the Centre’s website:

https://belluriyengaryogacenter.com/

 

 

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