NORMAN — Mysore, India, is known for its friendly people, culture and ornate palaces. It also is the Ashtanga yoga capital of the world. Ashtanga synchronizes yoga postures with breath, creating internal heat that allows for deeper stretching and more flexibility.
Yoga students from around the world travel to Mysore each year to study from the master teachers who live there. Among the most respected of those teachers is Sri BNS Iyengar.
With more than 60 years of experience with yoga, Iyengar is one of the most senior teachers of Ashtanga in the world. He has students across the globe, including Andrew Eppler, owner of Ashtanga Yoga Studio, 120 E. Tonhawa St. in Norman.
Now, Iyengar is in Norman, lecturing and teaching. This is Iyengar’s first visit to the United States.
Eppler said he is humbled and honored that his teacher chose Norman as the place he would visit. The revered teacher receives dozens of invitations each year, and he has traveled to Europe to teach on previous occasions.
About a year and a half ago, Eppler extended an invitation to his teacher. After long and careful consideration, Iyengar followed his instincts and agreed to come to the Sooner state.
The humble yogi lives very simply, Eppler said, never seeking material wealth or fame. His gentle spirit hides a determined strength of character.
The Transcript was privileged to have an exclusive interview with the respected yogi from abroad. Iyengar is soft-spoken and recites Sanskrit Yoga sutras in a melodic voice before explaining the application of those ancient texts to modern life.
Q: Why did you choose Norman as your first American destination?
Iyengar said he came to Norman to propagate the traditional Indian system of yoga. He had been invited to the U.S. by many people over the years but never before felt the time was right. At age 86, he decided it was time to visit the U.S. and teach the proper principal of yoga. He thought the visit would also provide a good life lesson for Andrew (Eppler), his student.