As the eldest daughter of the great B.K.S. Iyengar, founder of Iyengar Yoga, Geeta Iyengar describes herself as not living in her father’s shadow, but in his light. In her teens, Geeta decided to dedicate her life to practicing and teaching yoga, bucking Indian social norms by not marrying and having children. Now in her 60s, Geeta Iyengar, or Geetaji as her students affectionately call her, has had a lifetime of learning from her father the great B.K.S. Iyengar, founder of Iyengar Yoga.
Today Geetaji can be found tirelessly instructing large classes of Indian and Western students at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI). With yoga’s booming popularity, especially among women, there is now a burgeoning interest in how this ancient science of life – which has traditionally been dominated by men – relates to women who have different bodies and often different lifestyles. With this in mind I traveled to Pune to speak with this great yogini about her life and practice, and how yoga can truly be a gem for women.
Founding the feminine Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India, where she is director of her father’s famous school, the home of Iyengar yoga. But during her childhood Geetaji overcame several debilitating illnesses, which soon taught her about the amazing healing power of yoga. As a teenager she decided to dedicate her life to practicing and teaching yoga, and has now been teaching at her father’s school for more than 40 years. She has become an authority on yoga for women with her wealth of insight and experience chronicled in her seminal book, ‘Yoga a Gem for Women’.