Latest News and Info
International Day of Yoga – 21 June
18th June 2018
The fourth International Day of Yoga will be celebrated on Thursday 21 June.
The day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, its midsummer date having been suggested by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Or email us your photos and tell us about your event for the chance to be featured in the next issue of IYN, our members’ magazine.
IY (UK) teacher Jayesh Mistry will be teaching at this large event in Bradford:
Assessment Volunteers Needed
8th May 2018
Assessment Volunteers Needed
Introductory Assessments are being held in June. The venues hosting the assessments would welcome volunteers to be the students for the teaching part of the assessments. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how our teachers are assessed. Please contact the venues direct (contact details below) to volunteer.
To volunteer for Introductory Assessments, you should have at least a year’s attendance at classes and already perform Sirsasana and Sarvangasana. You should be willing to be helped up into Sirsasana (head balance) at the wall and Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) and must not be a remedial student or injured (stiffness is fine but no injuries). Teachers may not act as volunteers but we can take Introductory Level 1 trainees and trainees just starting their second year of training.
MDIIY, Manchester are hosting Introductory Assessments on Sat 2nd, Sat 9th, Sun 10th, Sat 16th and Sat 23rd June. Volunteers are required from 12.30-4 pm approx. For further details and to volunteer, contact: Clare Tunstall, email@example.com
Iyengar Yoga Institute Maida Vale are hosting Introductory Assessments on Sun 3rd, Sat 9th, Sun 10th, Sat 16th and Sat 30th June and on Sun 1st July. Volunteers are required from approx. 1.30-5 pm on Saturdays and approx. 2-5.30 pm on Sundays. For further details and to volunteer, contact: Mary Newton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maitri Studio, 4 The Mount, Belfast, BT5 4NA are hosting Introductory Assessments on Sat 23rd and Sun 24th June. Volunteers are required from approx. 12.30-4 pm on Saturday and approx. 12-3.30 pm on Sunday. For further details and to volunteer, contact: Claire Ferry, email@example.com
Centenary Year 2018: Tributes to Guruji
8th May 2018
B.K.S. Iyengar Centenary Year 2018: Your tributes
In celebration of the hundredth year since the birth of B.K.S. Iyengar, each month we’ll be posting a selection of your tributes. Click on a name to open or close their contribution.
Kirsten Agar Ward
Richard Agar Ward
Going Beyond Boundaries, 10-13th of May, Gothenburg, Sweden
19th March 2018
The Iyengar Yoga association in Sweden is honoured to welcome Abhijata Sridhar Iyengar to the Nordic Iyengar Yoga Convention 2018. Abhijata will visit four cities on her tour in Europe and during 10-13th of May she will be in Gothenburg, Sweden. The theme for the tour is Going Beyond Boundaries.
Abhijata is the grand-daughter of Guruji B.K.S Iyengar. From the young age of 16, she started seriously studying yoga under the direct guidance of Guruji, her aunt Geeta S. Iyengar and her uncle Prashant Iyengar. Her teaching is carried out with great energy and clarity, and with remarkable poise. Take the opportunity to participate in this Convention and experience the teaching of Abhijata Sridhar Iyengar.
The Convention welcomes students of Iyengar Yoga from all over the world! To book a place: http://nordiciyengaryogaconvention.com/
Request for video tributes: Guruji the Film
29th January 2018
Prashantji Iyengar, son of Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar (Guruji), introduces and launches the documentary project to commemorate the upcoming birth centenary of Guruji on 14th December 2018, urging all followers to participate in the documentary by filming your thoughts on the impact that Guruji and Iyengar Yoga have had on your life and offer a glimpse of the vast impact that binds all ‘sadhakas’ (practitioners)
It shall be a 100% crowd-sourced documentary where every participant, from anywhere across the world, can be a filmmaker in their own right and have their unique voice reach out to the Iyengar Yoga family worldwide. The most unique and inspiring stories shall be compiled into a documentary to be released on Guruji’s birth centenary.
All details can be found on www.gurujithefilm.com
Interview with Zubin Zarthoshtimanesh
22nd January 2018
Interview with Zubin Zarthoshtimanesh
Minker Chang from World Yoga Festival talks to Iyengar Yogacharya Zubin Zarthoshtimanesh ahead of his highly anticipated visited to the festival this 19th-22nd July.
Can you please introduce yourself?
I am a teacher in the Iyengar yoga lineage. Our Guruji is Yogacharya B. K. S. Iyengar. I started yoga quite young thanks to my father who was a student of our Guru-ji. That is how I came into yoga, and here I am now, after twenty-seven years of learning with Guru-ji.
Can you tell us about your path and journey into yoga?
It has been continuous. One gradually grows into a subject, an art. I didn’t start off as a teacher. Everyone starts off by being a student. As Guruji always says, be a student. The important thing is to keep learning. It is learning all the time. That has been the common strand throughout the years, of trying to grow in the subject, and at the same time, trying to understand this container, which is the body. Yoga is like an ocean, such a vast thing. When one learns from this ocean, where does one begin? The container, the body, which contains the mind, the breath, the senses, so many things inside us. One accesses the container not for the container’s sake but to access the content which is within the container. So that is how this exploration takes place.
Can you tell us some of your impressions of Guruji?
Guruji, he needs no introduction to the world. People know of his work, his life, what he has done, his eighty years of teaching the subject of yoga. Today people may know it as Iyengar yoga and respectfully they named the yoga after him. But what he used to also insist, a subject which I’ve just explored in a way, which helps people to understand, is how to really understand what the body is, for not only the body, but the body in relation to the mind, because it has connections. The body-mind-breath are related in relation to the body for the body, body for the mind, body for the breath. Similarly, mind for the body, mind with the breath; so these are the connections which he explored in his practice – in his Abhyasa – in his sadhana. It is now universal in that sense, yoga has evolved to absorb this aspect. It is not that it is a different brand. We must be clear what is a market space and what is an educative space. So here, let us understand what it is to really be aware of what is going on, in the essential aspects of the art, the subject, and what it is to just kind of have someone trying to sell you something. Now Iyengar yoga as people understand it is giving respect to one person’s practice, a person who went so deep in exploring the essential aspects of the subject which we now know as yoga.
What were some of the main lessons you learnt from your Guruji, what did he instil in you as a student?
One of his favourite quotes was, “The body is my temple, the asanas are my prayers”, as well as some of his teachings like ‘The wall is my guru’. You can learn from just about anything, so he took a simple thing like a wall or the floor, which gives you a sense of direction, a sense of precision, to understand how to position your body, your mind and your breath, with that as a reference point. These are some of the things which now surface in me with my association with him.
Can you describe your own self-practice and how that has evolved?
We practice every day to deepen. In that sense practice should not be a repetition of what you are doing. You are not like a machine or robot that starts and switches off in the same way every day. You should try to see how you are exploring different things. Your starting point today should be the end-point of yesterday. That is how you can grow. That is how we have been taught to practice.
How do you view your role as a yoga teacher?
I still don’t see myself as a teacher. I still see myself as a practitioner, practicing the art and when I am going around I am sharing my knowledge, my understanding, so I don’t put myself on that kind of pedestal, that kind of position. I am more of a colleague, more of a traveller with someone. So that makes me also one with that whole journey.
One of the things that fascinates me is how to maintain the balance between lineage and evolving the living tradition? How can we maintain that balance?
What you have asked is very relevant and deep. In a tradition, you learn and evolve, just like our Guruji did. His Guruji, our Guruji’s Guruji Sri T. Krishnamacharya, evolved a system of yoga from what he had learnt from his teacher. In that tradition, in that Paramparam, our Guruji’s Guruji also had this skill for sequencing the asanas. Before you could start the asanas in any which way, you could start with standing, you could start with lying down, and then something came in like a sequence to build up like a course of meals; so similarly here one could have a certain sequence which builds up the resonance, the vibrations in you, which culminates in a crescendo. In this there are also evolutions and further evolutions in how you evolve the way you practice the asana. Guruji took that from this limb, how asana, in the scheme of Ashtanga yoga, that is the eight-fold path of yoga – yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi – asana is one limb, but what he discovered – what he realized – his practice led him to realize that all the limbs are implicit in one limb, like a petal contains a whole flower, and the whole flower is contained within the petal, that kind of inclusivity, that asana contains the whole of yoga, and the whole of yoga contains the asana; so he maintained the tradition and yet he evolved to give a different facet, there is always that freshness because life moves on. As one keeps on practicing, one will start discovering these truths. It is a journey.
Are there any final comments that you would like to share?
Nothing should be final. We are always in the process of evolving and exploring. To give inspiration, Patanjali in sutra 1.20 says the essential ingredients for a yoga practitioner, for any aspirant on the spiritual path; he says Sraddha (faith), Virya (courage), Smrti (memory and mindfulness), Prajna (awareness), and Samadhi (absorption) are the five key ingredients that an aspirant should have; so Patanjali reminds us of these five essential qualities which are required to tread on the path in order to succeed on the journey.
Zubin will be sharing his vast depth of knowledge of Iyengar Yoga at World Yoga Festival 19-22nd July, 2018, Reading, UK. Iyengar Yoga members can book at a discounted rate of £129 plus booking fee for a full festival pass (we emailed members on 23 December 2017 with the code but please contact us if you have not received the code). For more information, please visit www.yogafestival.world
Assessment Volunteers Needed!
2nd January 2018
Assessment Volunteers Needed!
Intermediate Junior Level 1, 2 and 3 Assessments are being held in March 2018 at Dublin Yoga Centre, the Iyengar Yoga Institute Maida Vale (IYIMV), Manchester and District Iyengar Yoga Institute (MDIIY) and at Sheffield Yoga Centre. The venues would welcome volunteer “students” to be taught by candidates during the teaching part of the assessments. Please contact the venues direct (contact details below) to volunteer.
To be a volunteer at Intermediate Junior level, you should have been practising for at least five years and be attending General or Intermediate classes. You should be able to perform Sirsasana and Sarvangasana on the day of the assessment ie should not be menstruating, nor should you have neck, shoulder or back problems that would prevent you from practising these poses or others.
Volunteers who are teachers must hold a certificate below the level being assessed. Volunteers who are teachers taking assessment this year, may volunteer at an assessment of a higher level than the one they are themselves taking, eg, if you are taking a Level 2 assessment this year, you may also volunteer at a Level 3 assessment.
Dublin Yoga Centre is hosting Intermediate Junior Assessments as follows:
Level 1: Sat 3 March – volunteers required 12.45 til approx. 3.30/4 pm
Level 2: Sun 4 March – volunteers required 12.15 til approx. 3/3.30 pm
For further information and to volunteer, contact: Aisling Guirke, firstname.lastname@example.org
IYI Maida Vale is hosting Intermediate Junior Assessments as follows:
Level 1: Sat 10 March
Level 2: Sun 11 March, Sat 17 March, Sun 18 March and Sun 25 March
Volunteers are required on Saturdays from 1.45 til approx. 4.30/5 pm and on Sundays from 2.15 til approx. 5/5.30 pm. For further information and to volunteer, contact: Mary Newton, email@example.com
MDIIY, Manchester is hosting Intermediate Junior Assessments as follows:
Level 1: Sat 3 March
Level 2: Sun 4 March, Sat 24 March
Level 3: Sat 10 March, Sun 25 March
Volunteers are required from 12.45 til approx. 3.30/4 pm. For further information and to volunteer, contact: Clare Tunstall, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheffield Yoga Centre is hosting Intermediate Junior Assessments as follows:
Level 1: Sat 17 and Sun 18 March
Volunteers are required from 12.45 til approx. 3.30/4 pm. For further information and to volunteer, contact: email@example.com
Send us your memories of BKS Iyengar
29th November 2017
In 2018 the yoga community will be celebrating 100 years since B.K.S. Iyengar’s birth. To mark the occasion we’re planning a special centenary edition of our members’ magazine, Iyengar Yoga News, and would like to invite you to share what B.K.S. Iyengar meant to you. Your response could be in the form of text, a drawing, poem, or some other form of expression.
Alternatively, you might like to contribute to a project being set up by the organisers of Abhijata’s tour of Europe next year. They are aiming to organise an exhibition and publish a book based on “100 words/ 100 people for 100 years of Guruji”. Rather than simply retelling the remarkable story of the life of BKS Iyengar, they would like to present a more personal picture of the man who has touched all of our lives. If you have a story to share, whether it be a something of the human character of the man or perhaps something about his almost super-human abilities they would love to hear it. Anyone wanting to contribute should limit their stories to around 100 words and if they have an accompanying high resolution photo/s it would be greatly appreciated. The organisers have written to us: “… we would like each country to be presented so please urge senior teachers and practitioners alike to contribute … We hope for a good response and we may have to ask each country to do an initial edit if many people are inspired to write … We hope to gather together these 100 stories, some funny, some inspiring, some life-changing ..”.
If you send your contribution to us at the address below, we will collate them and send them on to the organisers of this project, and we may use some of them for our website, our social media and in the next issue of our magazine.
Please send submissions via email by 31st December 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Ramamani Iyengar’s Birth Anniversary
18th October 2017
Ramamani Iyengar 90th Birthday Celebrations
2nd November 2017 marks the 90th Birth Anniversary of Ramamani Iyengar, B.K.S. Iyengar’s beloved wife, who died in 1973. With the blessings of their daughter Geeta Iyengar, to help mark the occasion several events will be happening to commemorate and to recognise her great contribution to the lives of Guruji, their children and Guruji’s spiritual children all around the world.
As part of the celebrations we will be collecting donations for the Bellur Trust as a way of showing our gratitude for her contribution to our lives (see below for details of how to donate).
The following tributes to Ramamani are from B.K.S. Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar and Prashant Iyengar:
From “Rama – The Light Of My Life.” By B.K.S. Iyengar
Everyday I got up early for my yoga practices. Rama also got up at the same time to prepare coffee for both of us. She used to observe me practise but she never interfered. For her, even the word “Yoga” was unknown. She did not know then what it stood for, and she never ventured to ask what Yoga teaching meant or what I learned. However, in the course of time, she developed a keen interest in learning the art.
I started teaching her daily and she became my pupil. As she made progress I taught her how to assist me towards improving my methods. My instructions to help me during my practice made her a good teacher. This enabled her to teach one or two lady students from my group independently. As our family responsibilities increased and her attention to the welfare of the children took much of her time, she could not take to teaching. Whenever she found time she practised yoga for herself. She was ever ready to help whenever I wanted a support to get a better position in my practices.
Sometimes I used to practise for 10 hours a day. I had no mirror to even look at my positions or compare my experiences with anybody. There was a constant struggle inside me. She completely gave everything for my practice. Never once did she ask me, “Let us go to the cinema together or let us go to the market.” She would tell me, “If you want to practise I will go on my own.”
Slowly we understood each other, and lived happily, spiritually and were devoted to each other.
Rama was the personification of patience and magnanimity. She was simple, generous and unostentatious. She was kind to one and all. She had great forbearance even to people who did not wish her well. She was quiet, serene and peaceful and remained unruffled in adverse circumstances. She took everything in her stride coolly. She looked after those who came to her for help or advice with love, joy and devotion … Her love was unique; she had a heart full of compassion and people called her “Amma” which means mother … we lived without conflicts as if our souls were one … She was never harsh to the children; yet she commanded high respect and moulded them with discipline.
I am never separated from her for she is always in my life. It was her affection for me to learn and teach this subject that has made me name the Institute after her.
From “Reminiscenses of My Mother” by Geeta Iyengar.
Simplicity and humility
As much as she never complained of her difficult days, she never showed off her wealth during better times. She never showed off or expressed herself ever with pride. She would always thank God for whatever changes, progress that we made. False pride and ego were far away from her. She was always very composed, simple and humble. Despite our financial status changing there was never a display of wealth. Our house was always simple and till we moved to this new house where our Institute currently stands there was no change in our style of living.
My mother maintained all our traditions and culture, but at the same time she was quite open to new ideas and things. It was she who pushed me into wearing shorts for yoga practice. In fact, the yoga shorts, the bloomers, which are now being worn all over the world, were initially designed by my mother.
Earlier not many women would practise yoga and those who did wore the 9 yard sari. It was cumbersome to practise in that. What to wear for yoga class was a big problem for Indian women! The Western women would wear a two piece suit but Indian women could never see themselves wearing those clothes. Most Indian women wore saris then and to change from that to a two piece suit can be unimaginable. There were no t-shirts available then. We wore blouses and skirts and a sari.
So, the Indian women were always at a loss on what to wear while doing yoga. The blouses would be buttoned in the front and that is what I wore for a long time.
Some women would wear pants or trousers that belonged to their husbands or brothers. Then, the stretch pants came in with more Westerners coming to India in the 1960s. And, the Indian women also wore salwar kameez.
Guruji brought me two full pants from one of his European tours. My mother realised that even these would not give the necessary freedom for the movements that we required.
I also did not know what was the appropriate dress for me when I started doing yoga. She insisted that I should wear shorts like my father was wearing. These shorts would be very loose near the thighs so she would insert a string through the hem and knot the string at the inner end of the thighs. Later, elastic was available so the string was replaced by elastic. Thus the yoga shorts or Pune shorts were born … Gradually more and more women started wearing these shorts.
From “My mother my yoga teacher: an interview with Prashant Iyengar.”
“You had mentioned in one of your earlier interviews that you learnt yoga from your mother. Can you please elaborate on that?
“I have said earlier that I have learnt yoga from my mother but it is not as all of you have understood yoga. It is the philosophy of life and conduct that I have learnt from her. The principles of tolerance, magnanimity, compassion and the sense of sacrifice are all important for yoga. This is what I learnt from her. She had the sense of duty mindedness. She never had an excuse for not doing anything … She tried her level best to carry out her duties. Her attitude was like following the principle of karma yoga from the Bhagavad Gita. She worked without expectation and resigned herself to the will of God. She was absolutely selfless to the core. We could not even identify her likes and dislikes. She never ever said she did not like something or someone … it was her matter of concern on what was right or wrong. But at the same time she had a pardoning nature and forgave anything and everything.
She had a sense of sacrifice. When a person makes a sacrifice – he makes it expressed. “I sacrificed this or that.” Then there is no sacrifice. Sacrifice should be a product of certain qualities. And she had those qualities. She was unselfish and without hatred. That made her magnanimous and compassionate which in turn led the sense of sacrifice.”
Like a karma yogi she was devoted to her duties. She had a sense of duty-mindedness but had no eyes for the fruits of her actions. She never proclaimed her role or her contributions … she did everything very silently. We realised her contributions only in her absence.
She was epitome of philosophy of yoga. Jnana, Karma and Bhakti are the three paths of yoga. She had a balanced state of mind like a jnani. She was never drawn to the polarities. She had never expressed likes or dislikes. She was not attached but not indifferent too … she was never excessively attached to anyone. There was always a balance in her.
Like a karma yogi she was devoted to her duties … Like a bhaktan, she totally resigned herself to the will of God.
She was a yogi in the truest sense.
How to donate to the Bellur Trust
Please send donations to Jess Wallwork – email jess(at)iyengaryoga.org.uk
The Cooperative Bank
Account name IY (UK) Ltd
Sort code 089299
Account number 65529364
Bank Identification Code (BIC) or SWIFT code: CPBKGB2