National Iyengar Yoga Day was celebrated around the UK and Ireland on 14 January, in recognition of the work of BKS Iyengar and to encourage people to try Iyengar yoga for the first time. Hundreds of people came to free taster classes, talks and demonstrations, many of whom had never tried yoga before.

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Bath event

In Bath, Jon Hunt, Colette Foulstone and Libby Lee held a taster class at The Claverton Rooms Bath University, followed by coffee and chat in the café below the venue. There was a lot of positive feedback, with one of their attendees commenting, “You have a convert. I have done many forms of yoga but this is the best.”

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Washington class

In Washington, Tyne & Wear, Laura Jane Noble ran a well attended class that was appreciated by all, with attendees keen to spread the word amongst their friends.

Congleton Iyengar Yoga Centre’s Founder and Director Christina Niewola, along with teachers Lauren Smurthwaite and Louise Wallace,  offered free classes, a demonstration, and held a raffle and raised donations for MacMillan Cancer Support.  Christina said “This is the second year that we have participated in National Iyengar Yoga Day which is a great opportunity for people of all ages and levels of fitness to come and try Iyengar yoga for themselves. It was good to see a variety of people supporting the events on Saturday and for contributing to MacMillan Cancer Support.”

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Charlotte Rosser of Derby Iyengar Yoga taught two free taster aiming to get new people to come and experience Iyengar Yoga for the first time. 

“I absolutely loved the class!  I’ve never done any yoga before but a really good physio I work with recommended it… I couldn’t believe the difference after one short class.  I found the cross legged position at the start really difficult but by the end of the class could manage it easily.  I left feeling so much more energetic, and even my breathing felt more comfortable. I’m definitely a convert…”

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Trinity Hall class

The Dorset and Hampshire Iyengar Yoga Institute ran two free taster classes at Trinity Hall in Southbourne, offering free hot drinks and biscuits afterwards.  Turnout was great, with new students attended as well as friends and relatives of existing students. 

In Christchurch, Dorset, 40 dedicated yogis came to an afternoon of classes, tea and home-made cake with Elaine Rees and Zoe Hobbs.  Elaine said,Dress code was black and white to reflect the colours of the RIMYI sign on the wall outside the Pune Institute.  We attempted to bring RIMYI into our yoga room by sharing a couple of our own experiences in Pune and played a recording of Prashant leading the invocation (complete with tooting!) which we all joined in with. We delivered a lesson from Pune that Guruji himself had contributed to with Abhijata and finished with a wonderful Savasana that Geeta had taught us…It was a warm, friendly and vibrant atmosphere and we felt it was a real coming together of our local yoga community. And, as a bonus, we raised £375 for the Bellur Trust.”

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Students from Sheila Green’s remedial class for breast cancer joined in with new students at Garway (Herefordshire) Iyengar Yoga Studio to celebrate National Iyengar Yoga Day (and her birthday!). Afterwards the students enjoyed lunch and donations given of over £100 will go to The Haven Breast Cancer Centre in Hereford.

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Jenny-May While reported that more than 300 people came to enjoy a free lesson of Iyengar yoga at the open day of Hereford Yoga Centre, including Mayor of Hereford, Jim Kenyon. Ages ranging from 6 to 72 attended 6 taster sessions.  The studio buzzed with activity and many of the visitors enjoyed a free massage or reflexology treatment from local experts. Delicious smoothies from Raw Food Rosie’s and pasta delights fromThe Cooking Cooks kept the crowds energised.  The mayor, who has practised Yoga before, delighted the Children’s class with his appearance and took part in an hour-long YoGuy (men only) class. 

15 Hereford 1 Jenny-May While at HYC instructs children


Marion Sinclair and Priscila Dinisz at Iyengar Yoga Institute of South London shared this feedback from their event: “Early on the 14th January it was a rainy and cold grey winter morning and we wondered who would join us. By 9am the hall was at capacity with 28 students – a nice mix of ages and about half men, half women. We were really pleased to see this mix. We ran a busy and enjoyable class…and got many thanks and positive comments – one man said it was much much better than he expected!”

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South London

Karen Brindle ran a free class at a village hall in Cuddington, Cheshire and had a great turnout with a range of ages, from late twenties to early eighties.  It was a slightly daunting and challenging experience for Karen, who has only just qualified as a teacher, but she found it equally rewarding and enjoyable and lots of interest was shown in joining a regular class.

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Louisa Elliott held a free yoga class at Canford Sports Centre in Wimborne, DorsetLouisa says,Everyone took the time to tell me that they enjoyed the class & one person even enquired about training to teach Iyengar Yoga!”

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Jill Johnson and Evelyn Crosskey of Oxford & Region Iyengar Yoga Institute held a morning session for existing students which was well attended, and very positively received; they also held free sessions for those new to Iyengar yoga.



Sheffield Yoga Centre held a free class especially for NHS workers with Emma Norminton, a general free taster class with Carolyn Usher and a talk by Centre Director Frances Homewood titled ‘ A Yogic Lifestyle – What Does this Mean?’  Lots of new people attended and tea and homemade cake were enjoyed afterwards.   And the Centre had possibly the oldest attendee of the day – a 98 year old man who was keen to learn more about yoga. 

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24 Sheffield 3 NIYD oldest attendee - 98 year old man


The Warwickshire Iyengar Yoga Group’s Pete Burnham, Di Harris, and Elaine Spraggett ran an event at North Leamington School. Their taster class was well attended by a range of people from beginners, complete newcomers and sports people. 

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Manchester & District Iyengar Yoga Institute held  events on the day which were reported on by a local paper:

Jane Lane at the YogaHut in Falmouth reports that their event was well attended, with several people signing up for classes afterwards.  Feedback was very good, with people happy to have the chance to try Iyengar yoga for the first time.

Claire Ferry, Tracy Stuart & Louise Sarri at Maitri Studio, Belfast ran three classes and most in attendance had never visited the studio before.  They received some good feedback including people keen to attend classes.

Taster classes at The Bhavan in West London were led by Elaine Morrison and Suzanne Gribble. The free event began with an introduction to Iyengar yoga, a one hour general taster class, refreshments and a showing of the film Leap of Faith on the life and teaching of BKS Iyengar. A memorable and special day was had by all.

Norah Phipps ran a class in Hexham, Northumberland that was attended by quite a few more than she expected!  Some were current students bringing friends who were interested, and some have signed up to take a regular class.

Thanks to everyone who organised events and took part in the day – we’re looking forward to the next one already!