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On the Record: Yoga guru Prashant Iyengar on the importance of yoga, and the business of ‘unyoga’

'Yoga doesn’t start by taking instructions in yog. It starts when you seek the truth of life.'

Written by Pooja Khati | Updated: April 26, 2016 11:53:37 am
yoga, yoga guru, prashant iyengar, unyoga, international yoga festival, delhi yoga festival, indian express talk Prashant S Iyengar.

The son of the late BKS Iyengar, Prashant S Iyengar, 67, is Director of Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune. He was in Delhi for the curtain raiser of the International Yoga Festival last week.

Excerpts from an interview:

Your father, the late BKS Iyengar, was the founder of the ‘Iyengar Yoga’ style. Yet you began practising yoga rather late.

Yoga has always been there in my house and I always had the sanskar  (values) but you have to wait for it to fructify and that happened only when I turned 20. Yoga is an adhyatamak (spiritual) subject, and as a practitioner you have to dip into your conscience, to the core of your creative self.

BKS Iyengar main_759

Also see: BKS Iyengar —He inspired through his yoga and his words

In an interview in 2005, you spoke of ‘unyoga’. What did you mean by that?

There are three kinds of practices — yoga, non-yoga, and unyoga. Non- yoga is something that is not yoga but unyoga is something that is against the principle of yog. Today, yoga has become a commercial subject; business has creeped into it. Now there are personality cults and ego cults. That is not yoga, it is un-yogic. These un-yogic things will and are spoiling the environment.

In today’s fast-paced life, how does yoga fit into our busy schedules?

Yoga doesn’t start by taking instructions in yog. It starts when you seek the truth of life, so that you develop good sanskar. Today we live in the present and are geared towards maya.

You play Hindustani classical music on the violin. How did that happen?

In 1961-62, I had heard a Yehudi Menuhin concert. It triggered something in me, and I decided to learn the violin. Menuhin played western music but I learnt Hindustani classical.

Tell us about your new book.

It is an extensive commentary on patanjali yoga. I write primarily for my students; nearly 3,500 pages are already done.

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