My father studied with BKS Iyengar since he was 7 years old.
Aadil’s experience of asana was originally prenatal, as his mother could not conceive for 7 years and, only after practicing yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar did she conceive Aadil, her first child. She practiced yoga throughout her pregnancy. Aadil began observing Iyengar’s classes at the age of three, commenced formal study at the age of seven, and was the youngest person to be awarded the Advanced Yoga Teacher’s Certificate at the age of twenty-two! Today, over 30 years later, Aadil is recognized as one of the world’s leading yoga luminaries and innovators. He is respected as “teacher of teachers,” as many of the world’s leading yoga instructors have been guided by him. He has a unique teaching style, mixing melodious instructions with recitations of poetry, philosophical insights, and in-the-moment humor.
Upon BKS Iyengar’s death Aadil Palkhivala spoke of the saddening news in an email to his friends, students and family. He wrote:
“My dear students and friends,
Today my beloved teacher of asana and pranayama, the man to whom I attribute my birth itself, passed. He was 95.
I loved him deeply, and always will.
I called him Iyengar Uncle until I was 17! During my teens, I spent more time with him than my own father! He took me into his heart and, often, even his home. He taught me with intensity and with kindness. He was very kind and loving to me. It was he who encouraged me to start teaching officially in 1974. Then I affectionately started calling him Guruji. When I severely injured my back, he created series after series specifically for my healing, nurturing my spine to health. For years and years he had breakfast every Sunday at our home after teaching. He regularly stayed in our home with his wife, Rama. When Guruji entertained Yehudi Menuhin, it was at our home in Bombay. Rama and my mother were dear friends. Guruji personally arranged my first trip around the world in 1980 to spread Iyengar Yoga…
There are many, many stories. There are many joyous memories. Many adventures we shared, from holidays in the mountains to 8 hours of asana practice a day, alone with each other, face to face!
We did not agree on many issues: philosophy, nutrition, meditation, practical teaching style and technique…. Yet, even after I left the “Iyengar Yoga” system, we always stayed in touch. If I had an asana question which I could not answer, I called or wrote to him. He immediately answered with kindness. I called him on his birthdays and he always came to the phone. We chatted. We caught up on our lives.
Guruji answered every letter I wrote him, including the last one a few months ago which I am holding in my hands now. In it he writes,
….my health is slowly fading due to a continuous virus infection which is affecting me very fast. I do not know when God is going to call me.
I wish you a happy life in case God calls me.
I feel grateful, nay, blessed that the Grand Master of asana was my teacher.
The tears will pass, the love will not.
With humility and prayers,
~ Aadil Palkhivala”
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