India

BKS Iyengar: Google doodle for India yoga guru

Google doodle depicting BKS Iyengar's yoga poses Image copyright Google

Google has honoured Indian yoga guru BKS Iyengar with an animated doodle on his 97th birthday.

Iyengar was credited with his own brand of yoga and taught author Aldous Huxley and violinist Yehudi Menuhin, among other celebrities.

He died in 2013 in the western city of Pune, aged 95.

Iyengar yoga is now taught in more than 70 countries and the guru's books have been translated into 13 languages.

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Media captionArchive shows BKS Iyengar in the 1930s

The Google doodle shows an animated figure practicing some of the yoga poses or "asanas" made famous by Iyengar.

One of yoga's finest teachers, he practised what he called an "art and science" for more than eight decades and ran one of India's top yoga schools in Pune.

He continued to practise - once telling a correspondent that "practice is my feast" - in his old age and could still do the sirsasana - or the headstand - for half an hour until just before his death.

He used around 50 props, including ropes and mats, to align and stretch the body.

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Media captionUntil Mr Iyengar fell ill in 2012, he could still hold a headstand for more than half an hour, as Sanjoy Majumder reports

"When I stretch, I stretch in such a way that my awareness moves, and a gate of awareness finally opens," Iyengar told the Mint newspaper.

"When I still find some parts of my body that I have not found before, I tell myself, yes I am progressing scientifically... I don't stretch my body as if it is an object. I do yoga from the self towards the body, not the other way around."

When he first met Yehudi Menuhin, the violinist complained that he never had time to relax and never got a good night's sleep.

"Within one minute Iyengar had him snoring happily away. But Guruji did warn me: 'Relaxation doesn't mean yoga is a soft option. It's a disciplined subject - a casual attempt only gains casual results'," Mark Tully, former BBC correspondent in India, wrote after meeting Iyengar in 2001.

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