Are you interested in taking your yoga practice to the next level by enrolling in an Iyengar yoga teacher training? Listed below are some schools and resources should you want to study this style of yoga:
Etowah Valley Yoga
Lead by master teacher Sue Hopkins, this Iyengar yoga teacher training program will give you a greater depth of knowledge into the alignment, action and essence of the asanas, pranayama, meditation, and philosophy of yoga. Located in Cartersville Georgia, the school offers both immersions, 200-hour, and advanced 500-hour series programs.
To learn more please visit Etowah Valley Yoga.
B.K.S. Iyengar is considered one of the grandfathers of yoga not only in the West, but the East as well. In this day and age where so many studios are creating their own fusion or hybrid style of yoga, the name Iyengar might be getting lost with some of the “newbies” But if you have ever used a prop (wooden block, blanket, belt, chair, etc…) then this all derived from Iyengar. Many teachers look to study Iyengar as a way to immerse themselves in the rich history and roots of yoga: a form of “back to basics”
It should be noted that by taking a “true” teacher training in the Iyengar style that your yoga certification is not just guaranteed because you finished a set amount of hours. Iyengar comes from the old school where you need to earn your right to call yourself a yoga teacher. For many in the yoga community, this is considered the correct way to certify new teachers: when they are ready not when they complete a set amount of hours.
Along your path of becoming a yoga teacher it is always a good idea to know where you have come from so you know where you are going. By studying Iyenagr, in many ways you will be paying a tribute to the yoga lineage and truly immersing yourself in what was intended by many of the masters of the East.
Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga developed by BKS Iyengar, who first studied Hatha Yoga with Krishnamacharya and in 1943 set out to teach on his own. His first book, Light on Yoga, was published in 1966, became an international bestseller and is today considered the modern day ‘Yoga bible’ (along with the Bhagavad Gita) Iyengar, now 93 years old, has retired from teaching regularly, although he remains active in the yoga community by teaching workshops and continuing to write.
Iyengar Yoga is characterized by its intense focus on physical alignment and precise attention to detail during asana practice. Iyengar also pioneered the incorporation of props, such as blocks and straps, to assist the beginning or infirm student in asanas, effectively making Iyengar a form of yoga accessible to all students.
Additionally, Iyengar’s methods of yoga therapy have been studied by doctors for their strikingly positive health results with students suffering from a variety of maladies, including depression, anxiety, and arthritis. A huge facet of the Iyengar organization is in supporting the field of yoga research as it applies to present day health and well-being.
In the past there were more schools who were focusing on Iyengar yoga and still do in many ways. However more studios and teachers are now looking to brand their own style of yoga where they take many styles they have learned to create their own. Currently approximately one percent of Yoga Alliance‘s registered US schools teach in the Iyengar tradition.
The Iyengar style is widely practiced and well respected all over the world. While some of the newer students in the West may not be aware they are practicing this style of yoga, when they are in any yoga studio and pick up a prop or are taught many of the basic standing poses, this is Iyengar. Light on Yoga, Iyengar’s preeminent book, is required reading for just about every modern yoga teacher training. While it may not be as “sexy” as some of the new styles of yoga being taught today, it is still considered one of the most well-respected.
Of course BKS Iyengar is Iyengar’s leading light. His daughter and son, Geetaji and Prashantji, have followed in their father’s footsteps and are his preeminent teachers. While there are many more teachers who have continued with this tradition, many are not as well known just because they do not placate to the media and marketing aspects of yoga.
Iyengar’s main school, the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, is located in Prune India. Iyengar also has yoga Institutes in Mumbai and San Francisco and a worldwide network of certified teachers. Similar to Bikram, Iyengar has cultivated his own circle within the yoga community. Not being a separatist, but just understanding that sometimes true meanings can get lost in the West and has therefore just focused on keeping the integrity of his own organization.
Iyengar yoga teacher trainings are quite intensive and require some serious time to complete. The curriculum provided on Iyengar’s website gives no specific timeline for how long a training might last, and emphasizes that it is the quality of the teaching practice, not just the years a trainee devotes to it, that make one eligible for certification. Because of this teaching philosophy, Iyengar trainings that offer quickie certifications in one-month sessions are not recommended, at least not for the trainee seeking the immersion Iyengar intended. Advanced Iyengar studies might take years to complete and feel more like college. For example, at the Iyengar Institute of San Francisco, whose programs are also accredited as vocational schools, the trainee devotes one-year minimum to complete the 200-hr program and two years for the 500-hr. At the Iyengar Yoga Association of NY, a 200-hr training requires two years of study to finish.
Suffice it to say, if you truly want to study Iyengar this will not be a weekend workshop or something you can do online. Iyengar takes his yoga seriously and has done everything he can to keep the integrity of his name and this practice in tact. So should you decide to immerse yourself in yoga and want to kick it up a notch, this might be the way to go.
If you want to study Iyengar then expect to get challenged beyond belief: both mentally and physically. When entering his school you will be getting a comprehensive education in a tradition that stands out in the yoga community because of its devotion to detail, both in an asana practice and through its pedagogy. If you are looking for something “light” and “playful” or some form of weekend “immersion”, then this is not for you. This type of program is for someone who is ready to commit themselves for at least a couple of years.
While Iyengar has a great sense of humor and appreciation for love and joy, he takes his yoga seriously and if you want to learn his method you should as well. Iyengar yoga is one of the few methods still available in the West that truly resembles what was intended by the masters of the East.
If you want to learn more about Iyengar you can visit some of the following websites
Iyengar’s main website: www.bksiyengar.com
Iyengar Institute of San Francisco website: www.iyisf.org
Iyengar Yoga Association of New York website: http://www.iyengarnyc.org/
Iyengar In the News
At 93 years of age he is no longer actively teaching on a regular basis. But he does speak at some engagements and every so often can be found leading a class. Iyengar recently took a trip to China where he spoke to many of his students and devotees there. His message was simple: love and live in peace. You can read more about his trip to China here www.iynaus.org
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