BKS Iyengar, the Indian yoga guru whose teachings helped popularize yoga in the United States, died Wednesday at the age of 95.
The news of his death was announced on Iyengar's website with a picture of the silver-haired teacher and the words "I always tell people, 'live happily and die majestically.'"
Iyengar died at a hospital in Pune, India, after being admitted for breathlessness, reported the Times of India.He had continued to practice yoga into his 90s, amazing reporters and acolytes with his agility and strength.
Iyengar started practicing yoga, an Indian tradition that dates back 2,000 years, after a series of childhood illnesses left him weak. He started teaching in the 1930s and opened his institute in Pune in the 1970s.
It was the acquaintance in 1952 with an international celebrity, which turned into a life-long friendship, and his writings that helped that bring Iyengar's practice of concentration and carefully arranged postures to a global audience. (Read a New York Times interview with Iyengar from 2002.)
He struck up a friendship with violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who said Iyengar's practice improved his playing. The limelight and Iyengar's 1966 book Light on Yoga, which included hundreds of pages of instruction and multiple photographs, helped introduce yoga to the U.S. at a time when the country was eager to try alternative lifestyles.
In 2004, Time named him one of the most 100 influential people.
Recently elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Wednesday, "Generations will remember Shri BKS Iyengar as a fine Guru, scholar and stalwart who brought yoga into the lives of many across the world."