Located in the southwestern state of Karnataka, this former capital of the Kingdom of Mysore is home to the opulent Mysore Palace and centuries-old Devaraja Market. Mysore was also home to Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, an Indian yoga teacher, Ayurvedic healer, and scholar who’s often referred to as the father of modern yoga. Yoga students may know it as the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga, where the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute was established in 1948 and where Ashtanga practitioners from all over the world travel to practice and train.
B.K.S. Iyengar was born in 1918 in Bellur, a city that was in the grip of the influenza pandemic at the time. An attack left Iyengar sick throughout his childhood, and when he was 16-years-old, his brother-in-law—Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya—asked him to come to Mysore to help with the family. There, Iyengar started to learn asana, which steadily helped his health improve. In 1936, Krishnamacharya sent Iyengar to Pune to spread the teaching of yoga. Now, Pune is home to the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute—which Iyengar opened in 1975, and is considered the heart and soul of Iyengar Yoga. Iyengar students from all over the world come here to practice and train with the institute’s esteemed teachers.