By Kath Walters
I had a few dark moments last week but, strangely, when I heard that Mr BKS Iyengar had died, I viewed my own difficulties differently all of a sudden.
Of course, I was sad at the loss of such a soul. However, he’s a soul who has left an incredible legacy of change. Mr Iyengar inspired a tidal wave of interest and practice of yoga across the world. He changed millions of people, from those like me, who have gone a short way along to yoga path, to people like Frank Jesse and Jane Gibb who have applied yoga deeply in their lives and shared the practice of Iyengar yoga with thousands of others.
How Iyengar achieve all this? By simply doing the best that he could in his chosen endeavour, and communicating the insights he gained in the process with anyone who would listen. His commitment and perseverance and willingness to teach made him a leader. But he was simply one person, doing his own thing.
To be alone and practice yoga, when our world is so troubled by conflict, suffering and death, must not have seemed to Mr Iyengar a way to change the world.
I suppose that South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, must also have doubted himself during his 27 years in prison in South Africa -- was he really helping dismantle the racist apartheid system?
The lesson I take from Mr Iyengar’s life and death is this: the more deeply we discover ourselves, and the more graciously we appreciate and nurture our gifts and talents whatever they are, the more our world will change for the good in ways that we could never predict.
It’s a wonderful, reassuring thought – although it’s no easy task -- and a lovely legacy from a remarkable man.
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