After a historically significant time in India, Maurice has now resumed teaching at the Yoga Room. He was there during the passing of BKS Iyengar (Guruji), and took part in the traditional ceremonies that marked the end of an era.


Spring is here, and signs of new life is all around us. New life nourished by the generations before it. The generation of BKS Iyengar has given birth to skilfully and gracefully using the physical body as a vehicle to realize Spirit. One of his insightful quotes says it all “It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.” This newsletter is in honour of Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (14 December 1918 – 20 August 2014) God Bless You.

Asanas of the Month – Iyengar 1938 yoga demonstration
The Day Guruji died (20th August 2014)
What is Iyengar yoga?
Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
Quote of the Month
Upcoming Events: Gold Coast Yoga Lifestyle Retreat, Tuscany Retreat 2015, Bali Yoga Retreat 2015,
Previous newsletters




Asana of the month


In 1938 BKS Iyengar created a yoga demonstration produced as a newsreal, the first of its kind! Click here to see this amazing demonstration on YouTube.





The Day Guruji died (20th August 2014)

Maurice McCann


I first met BKS Iyengar (Guruji) in 2005 on my first trip to India, he was 87. I was fortunate enough to spend two months at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, doing classes with Geeta and Prashant. I remember the excitement at just seeing Guruji. He would walk into the practice room, and everyone would stop what they were doing. Many would race over to bow before him, some would just stare… He took it all in his stride.

You knew he had come to the room for the sole purpose of practicing yoga, and no one disturbed him while he was practicing. Abhijata, his grandaughter, would always practice with him. I remember how joyous she looked to be near her grandfather, and how elevated the room became when he entered through the door. With Guruji in the room, everybody’s practice became intensely focused. I must admit, I was a little reserved to begin with, and slightly sceptical.

Every day I saw him, however, I became more aware of the amazing effect he had on everybody in his vicinity. I never attended a class taught by Guruji, but I learnt a lot from being near him while he was practicing. I got to see how he came into the postures, how he maintained the postures, how he instructed his granddaughter, and I got to see him giving valuable insights to other students around me. He was a genius.

Since that visit in 2005 I have endeavoured to attend classes there every 2nd year. I missed 2011 because we were too busy setting up The Yoga Room. I was grateful to get back into the flow in August 2013, a 50th birthday present arranged by my wife. Unfortunately, it was cut short. After arriving at the institute, and attending only a few classes, sadly, my mother passed away from a long term illness. I returned home for her funeral immediately.

If my mother hadn’t passed away during my visit in 2013, I would not have been present when Guruji passed away in 2014. The only reason why I was went back in 2014 was because my visit was cut short the year before.

On the morning of 20th August 2014, I woke up before my alarm went off and sat for meditation. The apartment I was staying in was unusually quiet. It wasn’t until I came out for a bite to eat, that I heard the news of Guruji’s passing.

Pune in August is always a bit surreal. The monsoon ‘weighs down’ the atmosphere, and everything becomes damp with humidity. Skies are grey and streets are muddy, but at the same time there is an undeniable feeling of renewal. This particular day was extraordinary. None of us knew what to say or do.

Not being familiar with the Indian customs, we made our way over to RYMYI. I didn’t know what to expect.
Usually full of hundreds of students, the practice rooms were empty. Usually a hustling and bustling atmosphere, everything was still and silent. It was then that the shock hit me.

The Iyengar’s family house is at the back of RYMYI. As I approached the house, I saw people walking in and out of it. I was also permitted to enter. Geetaji was in the front room on the phone, and there was a short queue of people waiting to enter the next room. I joined the queue and at this point realised what was going on. Guruji’s body was prepared and lying on the floor in the next room. People were filing past, and paying their last respects to this wonderful man. When Geetaji got off the phone, I offered her my condolences, and then proceeded into the room where Guruji was.

Prashant was sitting against the wall at the feet of his father. I knelt and said a short prayer to Guruji, turned and acknowledged Prashant, and then quietly left the room. It was all over in such a short time but it seemed to last forever. The memory is etched in my being.

I waited outside with all the other people for quite some time. Few words were spoken, an overriding feeling of sadness held us all together. I didn’t know what the protocol was or what to do next so I walked through the park and stopped for a chai on the way back to the apartment. There were some other students at the chai stop and one of them showed us a photograph of a sign recently posted giving details of the cremation ceremony that afternoon.


It was a very hot day. Time seemed to pass in waves, quickening and slowing unpredictably. The Crematorium was a well maintained place with plenty of shade under some very old trees. We waited. Then, as the crowd began to build, an ambulance arrived carrying Guruji’s body. Many Brahman Holy Men were with him, chanting sacred Vedic Mantras. We all followed the vehicle to a site where the ceremony was to be held. I was lucky to be quite close to the ambulance, and saw Guruji’s peaceful body being carried from the vehicle.

There was much preparation done by the Holy men. They purified and blessed the whole area including sandalwood and sacred cow dung to be used for the cremation. They used specific chants to bless the body, and prepare it for the fire. We all took part in the chanting. Prashantji was central to these preparations at one time blessing the ground by pouring water on it from an earthen pot. I’m not sure of the symbolism but I imagine all the elements were involved in preparing for the final ritual of cremating the body of this amazing man.

Once the fire was lit it was fuelled by ghee. People stayed until the fire began to blaze, and then they began to disperse. I stayed on for an hour, maybe two, just watching the flames. My mind was awestruck- only 12 hours prior to this there was life in those cells, and that body housed the amazing man BKS Iyengar. Now the body was lifeless, and it was turning into ash right in front of my eyes.

I was talking to one of the locals about what an amazing man BKS Iyengar was, and how we (everyone) can learn from his example. We may never be able to repeat or even match the amazing achievements this person has made. We can, nevertheless, contribute to this world in a positive way and make a difference! God Bless You Guruji, you are always in my heart.




What is Iyengar yoga?


BKS Iyengar based his own practice on the 2000 year old teachings of Patanjali’s eight limbs. His students named his yoga practice ‘Iyengar yoga’. Believing he had no right to brand yoga, he didn’t approve of the name. “…My style of practice is not different than others except in alignment of the motor nerves with the sensory nerves. [This requires] intellectual reflection and skillful actions without distorting even the minutest part of the anatomical structure of the body, so that the bones, joints, muscles fibres, the energy, the mind, and the intelligence [are in] harmony and the life force touches all the concerned layers of the body.” Schuman


Iyengar yoga uses a variety of asana and pranayama especially put together in a number of different sequences to solve specific physical and mental issues. Postures are systematically reached, and are held for a relatively long period of time. The intense focus on the subtleties of postural alignment develops stability, and a meditative mindset.


To facilitate the achievement of perfect alignment, Iyengar developed over 50 props. This allowed all practitioners of all ages and physical conditions to access the benefits of yoga. He considered alignment of utmost importance because “When you cannot hold the body still, you cannot hold the brain still. If you do not know the silence of the body, you cannot understand the silence of the mind. Action and silence have to go together. If there is action, there must also be silence. If there is silence, there can be conscious action and not just motion.” Yoga Journal


Iyengar yoga has made all yoga postures accessible to everyone. On a gross level it improves the health of the physical body, but it goes much deeper than that. It uses the physical body- something that we can see and that is obvious to us- to access deeper and more subtle layers of our being, in a way that brings a grounded confidence in humanity, and an intimate experience of the Self.




Corinne Schuman Interiew with Mr. Iyengar via email for Beliefnet

Yoga Journal, Sept – Oct 2005, Pg 154





Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
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Chapter 2 verse 15
pari??mat?pasa?sk?radu?khairgu?av?ttivirodh?cca du?khameva sarva? vivekina?||15||
• The wise man knows that owing to fluctuations, the qualities of nature, and subliminal impressions, even pleasant experiences are tinged with sorrow, and he keeps aloof from them.

BKS Iyengar. Light on the yoga sutras of Patanjali Pg 116.





Quote of the month

I always tell people, live happily, and die majestically

BKS Iyengar



Upcoming events




2014 Gold Coast Yoga Lifestyle Retreat

Maurice McCann


When: Mini Retreat 22nd to 24th OR Full Retreat 22nd to 31st October, 2014

Where: Yoga Room, Burleigh Heads

Price: $245 Mini Retreat, $525- $590 Full Retreat

See Events page for details.

Book now! Call 0438 837 244, or email





2015 Tuscany Yoga Retreat

Maurice McCann and Daniela Casotti

When: 31st May to 12th June, 2015

Where: Valdinievole, Tuscany, Italy

Price: Share € 2,490, Single € 2,790

Join us on our yoga retreat in Tuscany. We will be staying in a 15th Century farmhouse just 15km from the medieval city of Lucca and 30 km from Florence. This incredible oasis lies amidst open expanses of vineyards and olive trees. 11 nights’ accommodation, 10 full days of yoga- five hours a day, and 3 meals a day. Limited spaces are available. Book now! Call 0438 837 244, or email





2015 Bali Yoga Retreat

Maurice McCann & Daniela Casotti


Half the retreat will be right next to the ocean in Mushroom Bay Lambongan Island. The other half will be held in the mountains near the traditional village of Sidemen.

When: 15th – 27th June 2015

Where: Nusa Lembongan & Sideman, Bali

Early Bird Price: $1,990 Shared,
$2,250 Single

For more information click here.




Daniela and Maurice
Yoga Room Burleigh Heads
+61 438 837 244