The Iyengar yoga Development Fund and the Bellur Trust
Read about the two main projects funded by Iyengar yoga (UK), and find out how you can donate.
The Iyengar Yoga Development Fund
The Iyengar Yoga Development Fund (IYDF) funds Iyengar yoga teachers to work with people who would not normally be able to afford or access yoga classes.
It aims support those who would benefit a great deal from the positive outcomes of regular yoga practice.
The IYDF is currently supporting teachers with a range of different students, including prisoners, special needs students, and vulnerable women in a refuge.
About the fund
- Iyengar yoga (UK) teacher members can apply for funding to run a class which is free to students, working with an organisation that works with people who are marginalised, excluded or deprived, and as a result unable to access a yoga class.
- Every certified Iyengar yoga teacher pays an annual sum to Iyengar Yoga (UK) for the use of the Iyengar Yoga Certification Mark: 60% of this money goes to the Bellur Trust; The remaining 40% is used for the Iyengar Yoga Development Fund, and a part goes towards the Iyengar yoga archives project.
- A committee manages the fund and we are able to offer a long term commitment to running classes if funding cannot be sourced elsewhere.
Caroline Kennedy received IYDF funding to teach a group of unpaid carers in London.
These comments from her students are a lovely example of how yoga can help people:
- “Since starting Yoga at the carers centre I have felt better and am a lot more flexible”
- ”I have just had my first class – I found it relaxing and refreshing. It is good to focus on something other than my caring responsibility”
- ”I’m enjoying the classes and it has helped me to relax”
- ”I really enjoyed the yoga I look forward every Monday morning it helps me a lot to relax and socialise [lovely]”
Thank you for your generosity!
Teacher members of IY(UK) can apply for IYDF funding by logging in.
The Bellur Trust
Bellur is the birthplace of BKS Iyengar (Guruji). It is a small, poor village in a remote rural area 60 kms from Bangalore in Karnataka, Southern India.
In 2003, BKS Iyengar initiated the setting up of the Bellur Krishnamachar & Seshamma Smaraka Nidhi Trust® (BKSSNT), a charitable body named in memory of his parents known by us as the Bellur Trust. The aim was to achieve educational, health, social, and economic reform for the people of Bellur, especially for the children, and to further the practice of yoga in schools.
Read on to discover the history of the project…
Twenty years ago Bellur was experiencing a very poor social, economic and cultural situation. BKS Iyengar’s heart went out to the children of his home village, whose lives would never change without education.
He embarked upon a mission to raise and enhance the general quality of life and improve future prospects for the young through the provision of educational, medical, social and cultural facilities and opportunities – and also of course to teach the children yoga!
Since that time Guruji’s energy and determination have rubbed off and miracles have been achieved.
In 2004 there was not even a clean fresh water supply until the Trust erected a water tank. The only amenity was the primary school, built and financed by Guruji in 1967. Even though his father was a headmaster there had been no school in Bellur itself until this time.
In 2002 the school was found to be in a very run down state and children did not continue with any kind of education beyond seven years old. In fact, parents didn’t see the value of education and often only sent their younger children to school for the free meal.
The Trust has built educational facilities at Bellur which serve a wide community bringing hope to young people from 30 – 40 surrounding villages. There is a refurbished primary school and a high school, providing free education, books, uniforms and meals. The only entry provision is that the children undertake yoga! The children have done well, many being successful instate exams. They also practice art, music and dance as well as yoga and have put on many displays and performances.
In 2012 a further education college was opened for adolescents. There is now talk of a university! This means that rural children will be given the same educational opportunities as urban children. Education will improve the prospects of the new generation.
To look after the health needs of the whole area a small but fully equipped modern hospital, even with an operating theatre, has been built and mobile clinics have also provided free treatment for common problems like eye disorders, diabetes, arthritis, and more.
Cultural and Social
Guruji financed the building of the first Patanjali temple in India. It is an impressive colourful structure which can be used socially for events such as weddings and celebration meals. It also houses a beautiful Hanuman relief which is 1000 years old and which was in the village when Guruji lived there.
The cultural heritage of the people has also not been forgotten. Bellur has an important place in Indian mythology and the 1000 year old Rama temple ruins with ancient carvings indicate its status in the past. Yet over the centuries Bellur fell into ruin. The ruins of the ancient temple were restored by Guruji using as many of the original stones that could be found, and rebuilt, appearing now just as it was 1000 years ago.
The temples are helping to reinstate Bellur to its old glory. The villagers, who previously had few visitors, especially Westerners, are getting used to visiting dignitaries and yoga students curious to see Guruji’s birthplace, the achievements of the Trust and the temples. As a result the village is being kept much tidier.
The building projects have provided jobs where new skills can also be learnt and various new means of future employment developed. Education will improve the prospects of the new generation.
BKS Iyengar’s vision for Bellur has become a reality in an incredibly short time due to his personal generosity and inspiration. The villagers have something to be proud of and the young people have hope for a better future.
However the work of the Trust is not over!
We have been asked that anyone who wishes to donate funds to the Bellur Trust does so through IY(UK). This simplifies administration in India as all donations are then transferred directly into the bank account of the Trust in one go.
Thank you for your generosity!
Bellur official website: http://belluriyengaryogacenter.com/