Iyengar Yoga Association of California Southern Region (IYACSR) is a non-profit educational organization that coordinates the activities of Iyengar Yoga in the Southern Region of California.
IYACSR is an affiliate of the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS), which is committed to the dissemination and promotion of the art, science and philosophy of Yoga according to the teachings of Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar.
IYACSR sponsors free workshops for members and other events aimed at sharing information about B.K.S. Iyengar and his work. Through its efforts, IYACSR’s Board of Directors’ goals are to further the study of Iyengar Yoga and to foster a sense of community among the practitioners of Iyengar Yoga in its region.
Members of IYACSR receive newsletters from the combined Southern California associations (Yoga Vidya) and IYNAUS (Yoga Samachar). Ongoing communication is sustained by email and website postings.
In B.K.S. Iyengar’s unique teachings, the yoga asanas (postures) and pranayama (control of the breath) create the springboard that allows practitioners to penetrate beyond the outer physical layer and explore the inner layers of mind, energy and spirit. The two quests of the physical and the spiritual are not separate but interdependent parts of a total approach to self-mastery and enlightened living.
BKS Iyengar, affectionately and respectively also called “Guruji” by many followers worldwide, lived a long and impressive life. Called the “Michelangelo of yoga” and the “king of yogis,” named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, Guruji is universally acknowledged as the world’s greatest yoga teacher.
Guruji brought yoga to the West with his pioneering teaching in the 70s, the beginning of today’s explosive growth in yoga. His seminal manual Light on Yoga, considered “the bible of yoga” continuously in print since 1966, has for generations been the source book of yoga for students. One of Guruji’s more recent works is the bestselling Light on Life, which led to a world tour of standing-room-only appearances.
Guruji’s invention of yoga props — now ubiquitous in yoga studios of all styles — revolutionized the art. Blankets, belts and other devices allow students of all skill levels to work safely in classical yoga asanas. Guruji also revolutionized the therapeutic applications of yoga, gaining recognition for yoga as treatment for serious medical conditions.
Perhaps the most groundbreaking aspect of Guruji’s teachings is that through yoga asanas and pranayama, the practitioner can explore the most advanced stages of yoga, including concentration, true meditation and even Samadhi, the mystical union of the individual soul of the practitioner with the universal soul — God. By bridging the traditional distinctions between hatha yoga, sometimes considered a merely physical form, and practices which focus on the intellect, devotion and meditation, Guruji brought the spiritual nature of yoga home to devotees.
Triumphing over poverty and serious childhood illnesses, Guruji began his study of yoga with his guru, T. Krishnamacharya. Practicing hour after hour, year after year, he acquired the encyclopedic knowledge, which fired his teaching. Although he taught throughout the world, he taught mainly at his own center, the Ramamani Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India. RIMYI is named for Guruji’s late wife, Ramamani, who died shortly before it was completed. This institute it is where Guruji’s daughter (Geeta S. Iyengar), son (Prashant S. Iyengar) and granddaughter (Abhijata Sridhar) continue to carry on his work.
Geeta S. Iyengar is the author of Yoga: A Gem for Women, the pioneering work on yoga for every stage of a woman’s life. Prashant S. Iyengar has written extensively about yoga philosophy.
Guruji’s other influential works include Light on Pranayama, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and The Tree of Yoga. His last work was The Core of the Yoga Sutras in which he integrated practice with Patajali’s aphorisms on yoga.
Guruji also transformed his ancestral village of Bellur in southern India, with a visionary series of projects, including a hospital, water treatment plant, educational opportunities including those for the girls of the village, and India’s first temple dedicated to Patanjali.
Guruji taught yoga up until the time of his death and was still full of fire and encouragement for his students. He passed away on August 20, 2014 at the age of 95. He will be greatly missed but remembered daily as we continue to practice.
What is Iyengar Yoga?
From the beginning, Iyengar Yoga develops strength, stamina, concentration, coordination, flexibility, and more. Using physical alignment as a starting point, Iyengar Yoga encourages the spread of intelligence and an experience of the asanas as a form of “meditation in action”.
Students of Iyengar Yoga begin with the basic standing poses. In time, forward bends, back bends, twists, inversions, restorative poses and balancing poses are taught. As students mature, so does the practice. Teachers may use props such as blankets, blocks, belts, and wall ropes to help students benefit from the poses regardless of their physical condition or level of experience.
Classes are sequenced to promote health and skill in the body as well as stability in the mind. This total approach ensures that students progress from posture to posture, class to class, and year to year.
How do I get started?
Contact one of the Iyengar yoga centers close to you and join a beginner yoga class or introductory level class. Some studios call their beginning classes ‘Level 1′. Some studios offer mats for use during classes, and some request that you bring your own mat. Most centers provide props such as blankets, straps and blocks. Wear comfortable clothing. Iyengar yoga is practiced barefoot on a mat.
Certification of Teachers in Iyengar Yoga
Becoming a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher requires years of practice, study and a rigorous examination of skills. For teachers, the Certification Mark demonstrates a commitment to maintaining the purity, excellence and high standards of Iyengar Yoga.
CIYTs teach the method set forth by B.K.S. Iyengar without mixing in other styles or disciplines. They maintain a regular personal practice, continue their training with senior teachers or by traveling to the Iyengar Institute in India, and hold to ethical guidelines.
“Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers are known for their depth of knowledge and clear, effective teaching skills. It is our privilege to bring up candidates who are not only dedicated to Iyengar Yoga, but who are also safe and engaging teachers. People know that when they are taking classes from a CIYT they are studying with an experienced practitioner and dedicated teacher.”
— Leslie Bradley, Certification Coordinator
Every CIYT has passed at least one standardized assessment. Some have passed many more.
Becoming a CIYT begins with long term, thorough and dedicated practice. One is a student of Iyengar Yoga before becoming a teacher. In the assessment process, candidates are carefully observed and evaluated as they demonstrate asanas and Pranayamas and as they teach a class of students.
Ability to clearly demonstrate the postures, sharp observation skills, and effective teaching points are the marks of a CIYT.