Wishing you all the best the rest of 2016…
The feature article in this month’s newsletter describes briefly BKS Iyegnar’s early years.
Also check out the cool pic of my grandniece I couldn’t resist publishing along with a happiness quote from the Dalai Lama.
Video of the Month – BKS Iyengar in 1977
Article of the Month – BKS Iyengar; The Early Years
Upcoming Events; 2016 Beginner Courses, Bali Yoga Retreat
Yoga Students “off the mat” – Dianne Benadretti
Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
Quote of the Month
Love the beauty of the black and white images of this amazing practice.
Sundararaja Iyengar was born on 14 December 1918 at Bellur in Karnataka state, the eleventh of 13 children. His father was headmaster of the village school and the family’s financial condition, which was never good, worsened after the death of his father in 1927. Sundararaja was a sickly boy who suffered from malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis. He was also undernourished. At 16, he weighed only 32 kg, had a chest measurement of 50 cm and his height was less than 1.5 metres.
In 1934, he moved to Mysore to live with his sister and continue his high school education. His brother-in-law Yogacharya T. Krishnamacharya was running a yogashala – a yoga studio – for the family of the Mysore Royal House. Young Sundararaja was roped in to assist Sri Krishnamacharya in June 1935 and was initiated into yoga. Only four months later, he won a monetary prize from the Maharaja of Mysore before whom he gave a yoga demonstration.
The rigorous yoga practice and teaching at the yogashala left no time for his final high school studies. He passed the matriculation examination but discontinued further studies. In October 1935, it became clear where his dedication and priorities lay when he scored 98% and was placed first in the diploma course of the yogashala.
Guruji’s first independent teaching assignment was to teach yoga to the families of the staff of Karnataka College in 1936 (guruji is a term meaning spiritual teacher). He joined the Pune Deccan Gymkhana as a yoga teacher in 1937 and although this source of income ended in August 194o, he not give up his yogic career. He secured one or two private tuitions and somehow subsisted. He also gave a few yoga demonstrations, which drew praise from eminent persons like the Raja of Aundh and the Governor of Bombay.
In July 1943, Guruji married Smt. Ramamaniand and they set up home in Pune. She was an understanding and compassionate companion in his struggle for existence. In 1945, Guruji and his wife each had identical visions of divinity in their dreams. These dreams indicated an end to their struggle. Soon after, increased tuitions began bringing in a steady income. Guruji’s name and fame as a yoga therapist, artist and teacher spread and many eminent people became his pupils – including J. Krishnamurthy in 1948.
Yehudi Menuhin, the celebrated violinist, visited India at the invitation of the Indian prime minister. Menuhin was suffering from exhaustion and stress during his concert performance and he was looking for a yogi teacher who would help him. Menuhin found his Guru in Guruji. Guruji could not accept Menuhin’s invitation to visit Europe in 1952, but he subsequently did so in 1954. Guruji’s teaching and demonstrations were widely appreciated and this made his frequent subsequent visits abroad inevitable. He taught yoga to such eminent personalities as the Queen Mother of Belgium, Clifford Curzon and Aldous Huxley.
Next article: Widening Recognition of B.K.S. Iyengar
When: Starting Tuesday 2nd February
6 week course
Where: Yoga Room, Burleigh Heads
For anyone who has never done yoga before or is new to the Iyengar method.
Book now! Places are limited. Call 0438 837 244, or email
When: 13th to 25th June 2016
Retreat practice gives you the time to rest and to let go of your normal day to day routine. It gives you an opportunity to nurture yourself, restore a sense of balance and well-being.
In this new section of the newsletter we introduce Yoga Room students showcasing some of the amazing things they do off-the-mat and encourage you, where possible, to support their endeavours.
Dianne, who’s been a Yoga Room student since 2015 and currently attends classes every day, is enthusiastically involved in helping the less fortunate.
“It has always been a great passion of mine to assist children who’ve been orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe, my country of birth, by providing them with the things we take for granted in the first world – food, water, medicine, education, and most importantly, the ability to be self-sufficient…yet feel part of a community.
“The conditions that these children endure are heart-breaking, yet I am always amazed at and humbled by their happy souls and their ability to find joy in the simplest of pleasures. They are always polite, cheerful, so grateful for the little they have and so spirited.”
Dianne, who has called Australia home for 15 years now, discovered a passion for watercolour painting five years ago. “Before that, I was not aware that I could paint in watercolours,” she says. Dianne’s paintings are based on photographs taken by her daughter, Ashleigh, who has the same heartfelt desire to help the underprivileged in Africa and also the Indigenous in Australia. The proceeds from the sales of these paintings have all gone to charities, such as Burleigh in Pink, Shelter for Domestic Violence Victims and supporting orphans in Zimbabwe and the children in Kununurra.
In recognition of her work, Dianne was asked if she would stand for nomination for the 2012 International Women’s Day Leadership Award. However, Dianne declined the opportunity because of her extensive commitment to Rotary Club of Surfers Paradise. Having served a short time as Rotarian of the Year, and a member of Paul Harris Fellowship, Dianne is currently serving as vice-president of the Lions Club of Gold Coast Mermaid Beach. Dianne says that the tireless work of the entire committee goes towards supporting many local charities and they are proud of the dormitory they have built at a school in Chang Mai.
Dianne personally mentors women who are in local shelters. Lions also assist many other local charities such as hearing dogs and they have recently donated a defibrillator and a chainsaw to a volunteer fire brigade, to mention but a few of the many projects they have undertaken.
On a personal level, Dianne has worked with her aunt, Kiki Divaris, in Zimbabwe who passed away on 5th December 2015. As chairperson of Zimbabwe Child Survival and Development and also Models against Hunger in Africa, Kiki has left a huge void. Kiki Divaris was given a State Funeral and has been called the ‘Mother Theresa’ and ‘Queen of Zimbabwe.’
Dianne has practised yoga for over 30 years, which has given her the strength to get through some very difficult personal circumstances. “That’s why I keep going to yoga. It’s the strength that’s kept me going. And it is definitely going to keep me strong enough to achieve what I would like to do in Zimbabwe.” Dianne hopes to use yoga as a tool to empower the women in Zimbabwe by introducing World Yoga there, an organisation that teaches yoga to indigenous women who would otherwise have no exposure to this beautiful and empowering practice. Domestic violence is entrenched in many African societies. So far, World Yoga has proven successful in North Africa.
Dianne, in her personal capacity and through her art work, has raised funds to complete a borehole at Zinatsa School in Zimbabwe. She is intending to return to Zimbabwe in April this year, where she is teaming up with the Lions Phoenix Club of Harare who will assist her in the many projects needed to be continued and commenced.
Chapter 2 Verse 16
“The pains which are yet to come can be and are to be avoided.”
BKS Iyengar. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Pg 116.
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
…by the way this is my grandniece; Paige Sarah McCann
Yoga Room Burleigh Heads
+61 438 837 244