The Iyengar Yoga method is renowned for its focus on precision, timing and use of props. Created and developed over 75 years by Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, the Iyengar method is firmly based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga taught by Patanjali over 2,500 years ago.

Iyengar Yoga will help you to achieve mental, physical and spiritual stability and strength. BKS Iyengar created props, such as bolsters, benches, bricks, straps and sand bags, to help students experience the full benefits of asana and pranayama.

In an Iyengar Yoga class, you can expect detailed instructions from the teacher, who will often demonstrate poses to help students deepen their understanding of the postures and develop an overall awareness of body and self. You will also be encouraged to work at your own capacity, and deal with injuries or conditions you may be working with.

“I have no right to brand my practices or teachings as Iyengar Yoga. My pupils, who follow me, call it Iyengar Yoga. The only thing I am doing is to bring out the in-depth, the hidden qualities of Yoga to the awareness of you all. What I do is pure, authentic traditional Yoga. It is wrong to differentiate traditional yoga Iyengar Yoga, as it is also not fair to brand Yoga, as Raja-yoga, Hatha-yoga, Laya-yoga, Kundalini-yoga, Taraka-yoga and so forth. There is no distinction between one Yoga and another. Yoga, like God is one.”
— BKS Iyengar

Benefits of Iyengar Yoga

Improved physical health, increased flexibility, higher energy levels and enhanced mental stability and focus are just some of the benefits of Iyengar Yoga. As a regular practitioner, you can also expect to improve your overall wellbeing, strength, posture and mobility. While it is not a ‘quick-fix’ for health problems or conditions, those who practice Iyengar Yoga often report they eat better, sleep better and feel better overall.

Beginning Iyengar Yoga

Everybody can do Iyengar Yoga – from absolute beginners to experienced yoga students. If you are a brand new student, you will be able to join any Iyengar Yoga class for beginners, where you will be closely guided by your teacher to develop confidence and capacity at your own pace in a systematic way.

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BKS Iyengar

BKS Iyengar devoted his life to the practice, study and teaching of yoga. Born 14 December 1918 in Bellur, India, Iyengar overcame extreme poverty and illness early in life through his study of yoga. As well as being a devoted student and teacher, Iyengar was a prolific writer. His book Light on Yoga (1966) remains the seminal text for Iyengar Yoga students and teachers around the world. BKS Iyengar is widely credited for bringing yoga to the West.

Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI)

The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) welcomes students and teachers of Iyengar Yoga from all around the world. It was established on 19 January 1975 in Pune, Maharashtra, and was the home and practice hall of BKS Iyengar during his lifetime. The RIMYI is a popular place of pilgrimage for Iyengar Yoga students, offering classes, workshops and educational seminars run by the Iyengar family.

Recent Articles

Yoga on the Island.

Fiona Rawson from Churchill Island has written a lovely article called "Yoga on the Island" about the outdoor Iyengar yoga classes which ran for 20 years, enduring heat, mozzie's, rain, and a stampede of highland cows, peacocks stutting through and more....
Churchill island is a small island in Southern Victoria accessed by single-lane wooden bridge from Phillip Island in Westernport Bay.

Yoga on the Island.

Churchill Island is a small island in southern Victoria. It is accessed by a single-lane, wooden bridge from Phillip Island in Westernport bay. It was once frequented by the Boonwurrung/ Bunurong Aboriginal people before being settled as a wheat farm by Europeans in 1801. Today it is a tourist attraction boasting original settler buildings, ancient trees, rose gardens and sweeping lawns. It is still a working farm with Highland cattle, sheep, turkeys, horses and chooks.

In 1998, I was approached by a Nature Parks ranger asking if I would take a yoga class on the lawn there on a Saturday morning over the summer holidays. The class would be at 9 am before the island opened to tourists. It was promoted as Yoga With The Birds. The setting was so beautiful and peaceful that we soon had regular students.

However, Victoria isn’t known for consistent weather, and it became obvious we needed some shelter for rainy days. The heritage buildings were small, and the sheds were occupied by animals, so we were given a large tarp strung up between the trees. This did the job, but it was wise for students to arrive early and place their mats away from the edges of the tarp. The rain water would pool on the low points of the tarp and when a gust of wind came through, it would lift it like a sail and pour a torrent of water over the sides, splashing everyone nearby.

With the eventual construction of a visitors’ centre, providing us with a room when needed, we were able to continue the classes year round. There was a dedicated group of locals who came all through Winter, but in Summer the classes were hugely popular. One beautiful, sunny morning in the holidays we set a record with 57 students dotting the lawn on their mats. Flies, mossies, heat and cold were no competition for the ambience of looking out to sea, surrounded by nature.

On another day, the Highland cows escaped from their paddock and stampeded through the middle of our class. Students and cows scattered in panicked confusion, but we were able to regroup once the farmer gathered the herd.

The resident peacocks would strut their stuff between the mats, occasionally pecking at someone’s shoes, and leaving small landmines of dung in the grass.

The most memorable visitor though, was a koala. He made the trek across a ploughed field, under a railing fence and up a small, nearby tree about half way through our class. He sat there, watching, until everyone was lying down in Savasana, then quietly climbed back down and made his way back across the paddock, his curiosity satisfied.

When my first son was born, my partner would bring him along in a pram and they would have all the farm animals to themselves while I ran the class, then I could breast feed him at the end. However, by the time I had my second child, I felt it was time to pass the class on to someone else. It ran for a few more years, re-branded as Yoga At Churchill Island, finally finishing after almost 20 years from those first classes under the rain-filled tarp.

Yoga can take you to some very special places.

yoga on the island 2

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Iyengar Yoga in Gariwerd National Park.

Everyone who comes to Griffins Hill experiences a slice of the yogic peace we have found. We live alongside kangaroos and other wildlife, including Miles the Emu, surrounded by bush and mountains. Kangaroos graze right outside the yoga studio windows and the National Park walking trails start at our front door.

Iyengar Yoga in Gariwerd National Park

By Frank Jesse Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher

In 1995 with the support of my partner Jane I created the Clifton Hill Iyengar Yoga Studio. It was among the few dedicated Iyengar yoga studios in Melbourne at that time. Over the next 14 years, we built a large loyal following. By 2009, when we decided to leave for the country, it was one of Melbourne's most loved and popular yoga schools.

Leaving such a great group of fellow yogis would always be hard.

Although we loved inner city life, Jane and I felt a strong desire to move into a more natural environment in rural Victoria. We'd both grown up in the country. Developing an Iyengar Yoga retreat seemed like a natural progression for this phase of our lives. Our plan was to offer a haven for people to disconnect from the chaos of daily life and find solace in a natural setting.

We moved from Clifton Hill to Griffins Hill, a lovely six-acre property 1.2 km from the Western Victorian town of Dunkeld. This is Djab Wurrung country at the southern tip of Gariwerd (the Grampian mountains). Gariwerd's distinctly rugged mountains rise from the flat western plains. Today, it is mainly sheep country, but it is an ancient landscape famous for its walking tracks and natural beauty. We believed it held immense potential as a distinctive yoga retreat.

Our passion for yoga and nature spurred us on as we embarked on this new chapter. Everyone who comes to Griffins Hill experiences a slice of the yogic peace we have found. We live alongside kangaroos and other wildlife, including Miles the Emu, surrounded by bush and mountains. Kangaroos graze right outside the yoga studio windows and the National Park walking trails start at our front door.

 Iyengar Yoga in Gariwerd National Park 1

Yoga practice in nature

Practice is essential to teaching Iyengar Yoga. Through practice, we develop a deep understanding of the correct alignment and action needed in an asana. We experience the effects of the asana on our body and the nervous system and can guide others towards those experiences. Practicing yoga at the base of the Gariwerd mountains, surrounded by early morning bird calls, adds another layer to the emotional context for my yoga teaching.

Our Iyengar Yoga Retreats are between five and seven days. This means the students have a chance to deeply immerse themselves in the peaceful environment. It's just yoga, delicious organic food and nature. These retreats also allow me to take student deeper into themselves to explore specific aspects of practice, such as inversions or backbends.

Why Griffins Hill is an important place to us

We live below Wurgarri to the west and Mud-dadjug to the North and pay respect to this place by acknowledging the original inhabitants and ecosystems. Peaceful cohabitation with fellow mammals defines 'place' for us and what we do. Our delicately balanced ecosystem is fragile. Australia is quickly losing species, with a poor history of protection. At Griffins Hill, we are involved in a campaign to stop the commercial killing of kangaroos in our area. This is an extension of the yogic practice of Ahimsa (non-violence), and it offers a genuine contribution to 'place'.

After dedicating over forty years to practicing and teaching yoga, I love sharing the spirit of Griffin Hill just as much as I enjoy teaching Iyengar Yoga.

Iyengar Yoga in Gariwerd National Park 2

Iyengar Yoga in Gariwerd National Park 3

Griffins Hill Retreat acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Custodians of the land we are on, the Gunditjmara and Eastern Maar Peoples and their elders past, present and emerging.

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Looking back! - The IYA Inaugural Newsletter from 1985

Have a read through the inaugural IYA Newsletter from 1985. It includes a great interview with BKS Iyengar from ABC radio in Sydney, plus member contributions from when the association had 90 members.

IYA Inaugural Newsletter 1985.

Link to pdf of full article.

IYA Inaugural Newsletter 1985

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