Yoga in the Iyengar Method

Awareness must be like the rays of the sun: extending everywhere, illuminating all. — BKS Iyengar

Guruji & Leigh 2002

With Mr. Iyengar in Pune, 2002 Birthday Celebrations

I yengar yoga is a dynamic approach to classical yoga, developed by Mr. Iyengar of India. His contribution to yoga in the 20th century is unparalleled, leading the Oxford Dictionary to add the term “Iyengar Yoga” to the most recent edition. He is the author of Light on Yoga, considered a master treatise on yoga practice, and the innovator of the use of props commonly used in many yoga studios around the world today. Longer holdings and study of the asana (poses) cultivate the structure for the breath and take the student deeper inward. The Iyengar yoga method is known for detail, alignment, and sequencing, which ultimately work on the consciousness, moving the student towards dhrana, dhyana and samadhi, embracing all eight limbs of yoga.

As a student of Iyengar Yoga since the early 1980s, recommending yoga asana and breathing techniques and yoga classes and teachers to my massage clients led me to further my studies in yoga and inspired me to teach. In 1999 I entered a three-year Iyengar method teacher training program and was certified as an Iyengar yoga teacher. I traveled to India semi-annually to study directly with the Iyengars at Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune between 2002 and 2019. While in Pune, I was very fortunate to study with Mr. Iyengar, his daughter Geeta, and his son Prashant, while also seeing Geeta abroad. In 2014 I began making annual trips to Goa to study with Fr Joe Pereira. I have been fortunate and grateful to receive direct teaching from each of them.

I truly believed my first trip to Pune to meet the Iyengars in 2002 would be my only journey to India. It has been an extraordinary gift to have traveled and studied in India to such an extent since then. My heart overflows with deep joy and love for this teaching that I am committed to sharing with you!

With Patricia Walden in Bellur, 2018

With Patricia Walden in Bellur, 2018

At RIMYI, India, in 2002, I met Patricia Walden, who became my mentor for the next five years, facilitating me through my first two assessments. Patricia’s influence enriched my practice and deepened my familiarity with yoga philosophy. Through her example, I learned to thread the Yoga Sutras and other yogic lessons into my teaching. I continue to study with her to this day.

I spent many years studying under the guidance of Marlene Mawhinney at Yoga Centre Toronto. Marlene has an exceptional gift, honed through many years of working with orthopedic and special needs yoga. Through her mentorship, I was able to gain meaningful insights that have benefited my therapeutic practice and yoga students. I owe a great deal to Marlene’s generosity.

The study of yoga has enriched my life far beyond what I could have imagined. I continue to study, teach and travel. Most recently, to continue my studies with Fr. Joe Pereira in the field of yoga, chronic pain and addiction support.

With Fr. Joe Pereira in Goa, 2017

With Fr. Joe Pereira in Goa, 2017

Kripa Iyengar Yoga is a therapeutic branch of Iyengar yoga developed by Fr. Joe Pereira with Mr. Iyengar’s blessing. Kripa Iyengar yoga is a heart-centred practice that supports those in addiction recovery. Focusing on breath and meditation is a parasympathetically directed practice to boost the immune system and decrease pain and suffering.

I was blessed to meet Fr. Joe in the 1990s when his enthusiasm for this work captured me. Fr. Joe is an Indian-Portuguese Priest, mentored by Mother Teresa and Guruji BKS Iyengar. A few years back, he gave me his blessing to teach his Kripa method of Iyengar yoga in the guru–shishya tradition.

In keeping with tradition, I wish to express my gratitude to my many great teachers, most notably Guruji, Mr. BKS Iyengar, and his daughter and son Geeta and Prashant Iyengar. Their sincere commitment and burning zeal for yoga is a gift of light.