Starting 3 October: Pregnancy Yoga Class

No prior yoga experience is needed to join our pregnancy yoga classes. The Iyengar method is unique in using a variety of props so that both mother and baby get maximum benefit without any strain. The postures exercise the spinal column relieving lower back pain and stengthening the pelvic floor while alleviating tiredness and tension.

The Iyengar approach creates space within the uterus ensuring proper blood circulation and adequate room for the baby to move. Pranayama breathing exercises open the chest, improve the circulation of oxygen to the blood in both mother and baby and calm the nerves. These classes are suitable for post-natal as well as ante-natal students.

Pregnancy Yoga with Harshini 

Sundays from 3 October
3.45 – 5.15pm

£15.00 for members / £17 for non-members.



Pregnancy Yoga FAQ

Is it safe to carry on my yoga practice as usual during my pregnancy?
Until your tenth week of pregnancy you can attend regular yoga classes but you must inform your teacher as some poses should be avoided. Between 10 and 15 weeks, you should not attend classes even if you are an experienced Iyengar yoga practitioner.

At what stage in my pregnancy can I attend this class?
You must be at least 16 weeks into your pregnancy to attend this class.

Do I need prior experience?
No, you do not need to have practised yoga before.

What else should I bear in mind?
Students with any existing medical condition (knee pain, neck pain, high blood pressure etc) should consult their doctor before enrolling. If you have a health problem, come 5-10 minutes early to talk to the teacher before class. If your baby is in an unusual position, you must inform the teacher.

What should I wear to class?
You should wear comfortable loose clothing that allows teachers to see your body, including your feet and legs. Most students wear leggings or shorts.

What can I expect in the pregnancy yoga class?
Pregnancy yoga classes are designed to help you throughout pregnancy to enjoy a state of wellbeing and to prepare you for birth. Iyengar yoga is very precise and safe. You will learn how to work with supports to get the maximum benefit from each yoga pose.

When should I stop practising?
Most women can practise up to the last week of their pregnancy.

What about the classes I have left on an existing course or a yoga card?
You can take them later, after you have had your baby.

How long should I wait before returning to class?
You can come to pregnancy yoga classes after six weeks if your birth was normal, or wait 10 to 12 weeks if you had a C-section or other complications. When you return to any class, you must inform your teacher that you have had a baby.



Harshini Wikramanayake

Harshini grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka and since leaving in her late teens has lived, worked and studied in Toronto, New York and London. She started practising Iyengar yoga in 1997 and began her Teacher Training at IYMV, gaining her Introductory Certificate in 2006 and Level 3 in 2015.

Harshini has studied with the Iyengar family on four occasions in Pune, and continues to attend weekly classes with Senior Teachers. In addition to her yoga teaching vocation, Harshini has trained as an Ayurvedic Medical Practitioner. Harshini has MSc and BSc degrees in Ayurvedic Medicine to complement her MBA and Honours Business Administration degrees.


Pregnancy yoga class

22 Oct – Intermediate Workshop with Alaric Newcombe


We are delighted to let you know that Alaric Newcombe will be teaching an intermediate workshop for IYMV members at the studios on 22 October.
Please note that places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance. Students are asked to bring their own mats for studio classes. If you are interested in taking out IYMV membership click here > 

Intermediate Workshop with Alaric Newcombe

Friday 22 October
2.00 – 5.00pm
Members £36 / Non-member £39

Birjoo Mehta livestream classes


We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting two livestream classes with Birjoo Mehta. Please note that these classes can only be booked by IYMV Members. Membership is available from £10 here >
Birjoo Mehta started learning yoga with Guruji in 1974 in Mumbai and began assisting Guruji in the Mumbai classes in 1981. He accompanied Guruji as an assistant  in many of his multi national tours and conventions in the US, Europe and UK  in 1984, 1987, 1990 and 1993. He also traveled with Guruji to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea in 1992 and to China in 2011 as well as assisting in many of his tours in India. Birjoo teaches regular classes in Mumbai for the Light on Yoga Research Trust where he has been a trustee since 1987 and continues to take classes at RIMYI.

Continue reading →

24 September – Professional Development Afternoon with Penny Chaplin

The theme of this professional development session is embracing the menopause and it will be held in the studio at Maida Vale. Participants will not be required to teach.

Qualified Iyengar teachers only. Valid IY(UK) membership number is required to attend.

STUDIO Professional Development Afternoon with Penny Chaplin

Friday 24 September

The session will run for 2-3 hours ending no later than 5pm.

2.00 – 5.00pm


Yoga and the creative arts

For all of us, yoga can be a wonderful counterbalance to work, bringing us energy and focus and easing out our knots and strains. For the artist, yoga can relate very closely indeed to the creative process. Reflection and action; precision, stamina and courage; the freedom to search deep within and reach far beyond the self – these qualities sustain both practices.

Here four of our students, working in different creative fields, reflect on how the art of yoga supports their work. Continue reading →

Online Classes – A Student’s Perspective

By Lucy


I have been a fan of the Iyengar Yoga Maida Vale since attending my first introductory class in 2014. I had been inspired to sign up after hearing an obituary of BKS Iyengar on the radio. That first class felt like coming home for me. My siblings and I, as children, had learnt yoga postures from our grandfather that he had learnt in the Indian Army. As soon as I started an Iyengar class, it felt familiar to me. I had often tried yoga classes before but, as an overly flexible person, I could easily do the poses in a way that sooner or later would put my back out. At IYMV, I liked the feeling that my hypermobility was not going to fool anyone into thinking I was any better than I should be.

Continue reading →

19 July – Covid Safety Update

Despite the lifting of restrictions we continue to take the risk of Covid transmission seriously and are taking steps to keep the studios safe. If you are planning to visit the studios please note that:

  • We are retaining the reception desk screens and continuing to provide hand and equipment sanitisers.
  • We request that students continue to wear masks when moving through the building.
  • Studio class sizes will continue to be limited.
  • Pre-booking for all studio classes will continue.
  • We encourage students to minimise use of changing and showering facilities.
  • All studio equipment will be available, although students can bring their own if they prefer.  For reasons of comfort and personal hygiene, we would strongly encourage students to bring their own yoga mat.
  • Teachers will be monitoring the use and cleaning of studio equipment.


Dipika, Issue No. 53 of the IYMV Journal


Welcome to another online edition of Dipika.

We have been through frightening and depressing times but there are things that may have changed for the better. Zoom has kept us connected to our weekly classes. There are two articles which demonstrate that our regular classes not only keep us flexible and sane, but keep us connected to our teachers and fellow students as well (p.2 and p.12). For many who have embraced this online learning, it has even increased the frequency and intensity of practice. Those of us who follow the path of yoga know that it is not just for the body and the mind but can help with creativity and artistic pursuits too. Four longstanding students working in creative fields share their views (p.6). Richard Agar Ward, who is one of the most senior teachers in the country and a teacher at IYMV, reveals to us he got into Iyengar Yoga and shares memories of his first meeting with BKS Iyengar. Iyengar teachers often mention parts of our anatomy that we may not have known before but which we certainly feel after a strong class. There are also some “Iyengarisms” which are not true anatomical definitions, like the ‘‘armpit chest’’. Alice Chadwick, Dipika’s co-editor, provides us with an illuminating article on the actions and effects of the armpit chest (p.34). Finally, and very close to my heart, is the quest to find the house where the first UK Iyengar Yoga class took place exactly 60 years ago. Having researched the subject for a long time, and with a good amount of serendipity and luck, I found the birthplace of Iyengar Yoga in the UK. Dipika is certainly more than just a newsletter; it’s a magazine where important facts about IYMV and Iyengar Yoga are documented for posterity.

With gratitude and wishing you some happy reading,

Korinna, Editor

Dipika Issue 53 - Journal of Iyengar Yoga Maida Vale

VIDEO – Yoga Asana Through the Ages

In this fascinating talk senior Iyengar yoga teacher and teacher trainer, Sallie Sullivan, looks at how yoga postures have been represented on paper and in stone through the millennia and compares the instructions in ancient text to BKS Iyengar’s Light On Yoga. Continue reading →

21 June – International Day of Yoga Sequence

21 June will be the UN International Day of Yoga, which has been celebrated around the world each year since 2015 following a suggestion by Guruji in 2012. Below is the sequence Geetaji shared for students to practice on the day. Wishing students and teachers around the world a happy International Day of Yoga!

In 2015 Geetaji wrote:

“We are all yoga sādhakās and sādhanā is our very breath, our prāna. The United Nations has declared 21st June as the International Yoga Day, which will be celebrated all over the world. For us every day is yoga day. However to respect this special day, to respect Guruji, we have thought of a special practice programme for this day. Many students from across the world approached me if they could have a special sequence of practice for this day… the (summer) solstice.”  – Geeta Iyengar

Click on the image to download the PDF.

Continue reading →

IYMV Annual General Meeting

Members are reminded that the Annual General Meeting will take place online at 2.30 pm on Sunday 27 June.

All of our Annual Members are welcome to attend and vote at the AGM. There will be a review of the financial performance from the last year and plans for the upcoming year will be discussed. This is an opportunity for our members to feedback. All comments from attendees will be gathered and recorded then fed into the Board of Trustees’ meetings.

A link to join the meeting will be circulated to all members in advance of the date. Please note that only members with a current annual membership may vote at the meeting. Please find links to meeting documents below:

Voting Proxy Form >

COVID-19 Crisis In India Charities

We are sharing information below that has been circulated by the UK Iyengar Yoga Association.

There is a catastrophe unfolding in India, and the situation is particularly bad in Maharashtra. The healthcare system is unable to cope; there are serious shortages of staff, beds and oxygen. India’s crisis is a crisis for us all.

A number of you have asked how you can help. Here is a list of some of the leading charities that are working to help the situation in India. Click on the name of a charity to go to their donation page.

Continue reading →

Pune Pants – A Brief History


Scorned by some, loved by many, Pune shorts are a familiar sight in Iyengar Yoga studios all over the world. Perhaps the closest thing we have to an unofficial uniform, wearing them in public requires more letting go of the ego than many students are prepared to suffer. But where did they come from and why do we (some of us) wear them? 

Continue reading →

NEW CLASS – Pranayama with Richard Agar Ward


We are excited to be adding a new livestream class to our timetable. Richard Agar Ward will be teaching an hour long pranayama class every week starting from Monday 12 April.


Join Richard for a grounding start to the week and the chance to build your pranayama skills. This class is suitable for students with two years or more of regular Iyengar yoga experience and costs £6.




Board Vacancies

We’re always looking for Annual Members to put themselves forward for trustee/director vacancies on the Board as and when they arise. If you have expertise you think could help to guide the charity, then please feel free to contact us with details of your experience and interest. We will get in touch to answer any questions you may have and hold your details on file until there is a vacancy. Please email office@iyi.org.uk

Board members must be annual members of IYIMV of at least one year’s standing. Once a name is put forward, the proposed trustee/director must be nominated by the Board and elected at the Annual General Meeting. Members of the Board of Trustees serve for three years from the date of their election.

The role of the board of trustees is:

· to determine the strategic priorities of the charity,

· to monitor activity and outcomes, and

· to ensure compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

Our current chair, John Robinson, is due to retire in June this year, and the board is seeking one (or more) new trustees. Our current treasurer, Miguel Ortega, is chair elect and current trustee Jonathan Jones has agreed to take on the tasks of Hon. Treasurer.


Becoming a trustee

Trustees are annual members who voluntarily undertake responsibility for the strategic direction of the organisation, and for ensuring that it fulfils its legal and charitable obligations. They are elected at the AGM to serve for a period of 3 years. Trustees are also appointed as directors of the company (IYIMV) during their period of office.

  1. Why should I become a trustee?

Trustees represent the whole membership from entirely new students to the most experienced teachers. They consider strategy and take decisions on how the organisation is run, subject to the powers invested in them by the Articles of Association.

In taking responsibility for running a charity and a company, trustees accept obligations to fulfil the objects of the charity on behalf of its members in providing a public benefit. We depend upon this voluntary activity to maintain and improve a healthy and vibrant organisation so, if you have benefited from your experience of Iyengar yoga at IYIMV, we hope that you will consider contributing to its future.

Your contribution to IYIMV may take many forms and may be based on your:

  • business or academic experience,
  • financial acumen,
  • experience in Iyengar yoga,
  • interest in the building or design,
  • desire to expand the range of classes, courses or workshops we offer,
  • wish to promote research,

and any other skills or experience that may help to improve the work of the organisation and promote it to a wider public.

By becoming a trustee, you can support the work of the charity and make changes for the better. You should be independent minded but also prepared to act together with your fellow trustees for the benefit of all members.

  1. Am I eligible?

Potential trustees must be over 18 and have been annual members of IYIMV for a period of at least one year before becoming eligible to serve as a trustee. They must not be persons who are disqualified from holding office.

  1. What do trustees do?

Trustees meet regularly to discuss the business of the organisation, to review its activities and to make decisions on how it should operate to fulfil its stated purposes (the objects) on behalf of the members. They act collectively and have a wide range of powers which are set out in the Articles of Association. All potential trustees receive a copy of the Articles along with other training, support and guidance. Trustees are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the organisation fulfils its legal and charitable obligations and are protected from personal liability so long as they act within their powers and in good faith.

  1. What don’t they do?

The role of trustees is strategic, so they are not required to perform the day-to-day administrative and managerial functions of the organisation. These are delegated to one or more paid employees with specific contracts of employment. However, trustees are legally responsible for the work of the charity. The Chair has the additional responsibility of acting as line-manager to the manager.

  1. What experience is necessary?

There is no formal qualification for becoming a trustee save for being an annual member of at least one year’s standing. However, you should have the time and energy to devote to the responsibilities involved. We seek to achieve a balance of experience within the board. This may be in business (for example: finance, marketing or advertising, human resources, IT, governance) or other charitable work. Your involvement and interest in IYIMV classes is taken as given.

  1. How often do they meet?

The trustees have board meeting every 6-8 weeks throughout the year. They may arrange additional meetings to discuss specific matters as the need arises and may establish sub-committees to discuss specialised areas of activity and to report to the main board.

Board meetings usually last 2-2½ hours and are held at times arranged to suit as many trustees as possible.

Sub-committees set their own agendas consistent with the tasks allocated to them by the board. Currently there are three sub-committees, each chaired by a member of the main board.

  1. How many trustees are there?

A maximum of 12 members may be elected. Usually there are about 8 including a Chair and Honorary Treasurer, elected by the trustees from among their number. By convention two teacher members serve on the board.


8.What guidance is available to me?

Trustees are required to take part in an induction process with the Chair and manager and, on election, to sign a copy of the ‘Trustees’ Code of Conduct’ which sets out the principles of service.

The Charity Commission produces a wide range of additional information for the guidance of charitable trustees. Copies of essential documents are provided to all potential trustees. The principal guide for individual trustees is ‘The Essential Trustee’ (CC3).

9. How do I apply to become a trustee?

You may apply by sending an email or letter to the office, or by calling into the office for further information. The manager will be able to provide you with all the information and documentation you may require in deciding to put yourself forward.

10. How does the election process work?

Potential trustees are nominated by the board of trustees at the AGM, usually held in June, and must be elected by a majority of the annual members present and eligible to vote at the meeting.

  • Trustees serve for three years from the meeting at which they are elected.
  • Automatic retirement occurs at the third AGM after election.
  • Previous trustees may be re-elected after a break of one year.

Applications would be particularly welcome from those with extensive recent experience in business or marketing.

For further information or an informal chat, please call Alan Reynolds on 020 7624 3080 or send an email to office@iyi.org.uk with ‘Trusteeship’ in the subject line, and we will get back to you.


Iyengar Yoga Self Practice Resources

Building self practice, or sadhana, into a regular routine has many benefits. It gives you the opportunity to develop understanding and skill at your own pace and build on what you learn in class. While it is easy to understand why self practice is a good thing, it can be a challenge to make it a part of your day-to-day life. So, we have compiled some resources to help.


Continue reading →

NEW Livestream Yogacards

We have introduced a new way way to purchase livestream classes for IYMV members. The Livestream Yogacard and Concessions Livestream Yogacard are 11 pre-purchased livestream 90 minute classes for the price of 10.


Livestream Yogacard £90

  • 11 x 90 minute livestream clases for the price of 10
  • Valid for 6 months from first use
  • Booking classes online is quicker and easier

Please note that you will need to log into your account to purchase.



Concessions Livestream Yogacard £50

The concessionary Livestream Yoga Card is 11 livestream 90 minute classes for the price of 10. It is valid for 6 months from first use after purchase. It is available for IYMV members who receive Universal Credit and have supplied proof of status.  It can be purchased by calling us on 020 7624 3080.


In exceptional cases, such as illness or injury, we may at our discretion extend the validity of Yogacards provided that the membership remains valid throughout the period of the extension. In these cases, the bonus 11th class will not be valid. Applications for extensions to Yogacards should be addressed to office@iyi.org.uk and state reasons for requesting an extension.

Please note: possession of a prepaid Yogacard does not confer any priority right  or guarantee a place in any particular class.


Jawahar Bangera Pranayama Classes

We are delighted to let you know that we will be hosting two livestreamed Pranayama classes with Jawahar Bangera for IYMV members this February.
Not an IYMV Member?
You can join us for as little as £10 with our 1 Month Membership which includes a free livestream class. Find out more > 
The classes are suitable for general level students and above who have been practising Iyengar yoga regularly for at least two years.
Saturday 27 February
LIVESTREAM Pranayama Class
1.30-3.30 pm
Sunday 28 February
LIVESTREAM Pranayama Class
1.30-3.30 pm
Price £30
Please note that the price is for both sessions and we are unable to take bookings for a single class.


Please keep your IYMV membership updated to get early booking alerts for special events.
About Jawahar Bangera
Jawahar started practising yoga directly under Guruji in 1969, and accompanied Guruji to many conventions over the years. He is a very experienced senior teacher, leading classes all over the world and at home in Mumbai where he is a director of the Iyengar Institute Yogashraya which was inaugurated by BKS Iyengar in 2002.
Jawahar is also a trustee and driving force behind the Light on Yoga Research Trust (LOYRT), formed more than 35 years ago to promote the learning and practice of Yoga in the Iyengar method, including the publication of RIMIYI journal Yoga Rahasya.

9th & 10th January – Extended General Classes with Gulnaaz Dashti


We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting two General level livestream classes with Gulnaaz Dashti for IYMV Members this January. You can take out or renew your membership here >


Gulnaaz started Yoga at the Pune Institute (RIMYI) under the guidance of B.K.S. Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar and Prashant Iyengar in 1990, when Ali Dashti, her brother, insisted that she should join. Gulnaaz lives in Pune, India – and has been teaching all levels at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute for over 20 years. In 1998 Gulnaaz was granted a teaching position by B.K.S. Iyengar to teach beginners’ classes at RIMYI.


Her practice of more than 20 years and teaching general and medical classes at the Institute has been under the ever-watchful eye of the Iyengar family and particularly guided by Dr Geeta Iyengar. Since that time she has become one of the senior teachers who teaches beginners’, intermediate, advanced, as well as assisting in the medical classes. Her teaching is full of energy and good humour.


These classes are open to IYMV Members with two years or more of regular Iyengar yoga practice.

If you’d like to attend and are not an IYMV Member you can take out or renew your membership here >


Saturday 9 January
£15 for Members
Sunday 10 January
£15 for Members

Tier 3 Closure Update

The recently imposed Tier 3 (Very High Risk) Covid regulations require us to close the studios again for the time being. As soon as we have further information which will allow us to re-start our studio classes, we will let you know. We’re sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment this may cause, and look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.

Wednesday 2 December Re-opening

We are glad to announce that under the new Tier 2 regulations, we are able to re-open the centre from Wednesday 2 December and will be offering a limited range of classes in the studio in the period before the New Year.

The same Covid-secure measures as before the lockdown will remain in place, please see details below. 

Our extensive timetable of livestream classes will continue for the foreseeable future.

Continue reading →

Livestream Classes

We offer a timetable of livestream classes for all levels delivered via Zoom.

Livestream classes are available exclusively to IYMV members with the exception of our Introduction Class for students who are new to Iyengar yoga. 

Our 1-month membership includes a free livestream class and costs £10. If you take regular classes the most cost effective option is our annual membership for £55. We also offer 3 month membership for £25. You can take out membership here >

Browse and book classes on our Live Timetable >



MembersConcessionsYoga Cards (11 Classes for price of 10)Visitors
Livestream 60 minute class£6£4N/ABooking is limited to IYMV members.
Livestream 90 minute class£9£5£90 / £50Booking is limited to IYMV members.
Livestream 120 minute class£12£12N/ABooking is limited to IYMV members.



Introduction Class
For students with who are completely new to Iyengar yoga. No membership required. 

For students who have done some Iyengar yoga before going up to two years’ experience. 

For students with at least one years’ experience of Iyengar yoga.

For students with at least two years’ experience of Iyengar yoga.

For strong General and Intermediate students. This level is not suitable for students who are new to General level practice.

For students with at least four years’ experience of Iyengar yoga.


How do I sign up to a livestream class?

  • Visit the Live Timetable >
  • Book into the class online. Please note that booking opens 14 days before a class and closes 1 hour before the class starts.
  • Once a class reaches is full no further places can be booked
  • Check that your device is fully charged and ideally that it is plugged in to charge so you can enjoy the full class without loss of power!
  • You will receive a Zoom link to join the class by email 1 hour before the class starts
  • You do not have to have a Zoom account to attend a Zoom live class. You will be prompted to download the software, once you have clicked on the link that you have been provided. You may also wish to create an account, but that is not required to participate in a Zoom meeting.
  • Click the link to join class 10 minutes before scheduled start time
  • The audio for students participating in Livestream Classes will be switched off so that background noise does not disturb the teaching. There is a message function on Zoom so you can type comments and queries
  • If more than one person in your household wishes to attend a class and share a screen, please ensure that each person is a member and has registered for the class separately.


Class cancellations

Please note that you can cancel a livestream class up to two hours before the start time. We are unable to refund classes that are cancelled less than two hours before the class start time.

Classes with fewer than four students booked in to attend will unfortunately have to be cancelled. You will be informed by email and your class fee will be refunded. 

If you have any queries about livestream classes please email office@iyi.org.uk



Members suffering financial hardship because of the current emergency can email or phone the office on 020 7624 3080 to obtain the concessionary rate for livestream classes. 


All students must have their camera switched on. The teachers’ association and insurers have stated that teachers must be able to see all students online, just as in a regular class.  If you take part in a class with a teacher you haven’t practised with in real life please introduce yourself to the teacher before the class and let them know your level of experience if possible. By booking a IYMV live streamed class you assume responsibility for any risks injuries or damages known or unknown which you may incur as a result.



November Lockdown Update

We will be following the government measures and expect to be closed from Thursday 5 November.

We will be continuing to offer a wide range of livestream classes.

Please look out for further announcements here, on social media and by email.

16 October Covid Update – Studio classes continue with safety measures

The Covid alert level for London is Tier 2, the high alert level from midnight on Friday 16 October until further notice.


We will continue to provide studio classes as permitted by the regulations.

Many students have asked how the Rule of 6 will affect yoga classes. Principally, the rule is about limiting social contact among groups of 6 or more people, but the regulations also state:

“Organised indoor sport or exercise classes can also take place in larger numbers, provided groups of more than 6 do not mix”.

You must wear a face covering in all indoor areas except the studio and leave the building as quickly as possible after a class, avoiding social contact within or immediately outside the building.

For further information, see:




Local COVID alert level: high

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.

This means:

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors (other than where a legal exemption applies)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • schools and universities remain open
  • places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors if the rule of 6 is followed

Livestream Class FAQs

Thank you very much to everybody who replied to our survey on the livestream classes and for your comments and suggestions. 

We had an overwhelmingly positive response with 85% of responders rating their online experience as 8/10 or more and nearly 50% at 10/10. 92.3% of responders were happy with the class times. 

A number of requests and comments recurred so we have prepared some FAQs to reply to those:

Can we have more time slots? Can we have early morning sessions? Later classes?

  • We are currently operating at capacity in terms of technology and staff. Each class is supported by a receptionist who starts the hosting procedure 2 hours before the start time.
  • At present we cannot offer early morning classes, but we are looking into offering one from June. Also, from June we will be changing the start time of some of the weekday 6 pm classes to 6.30 pm.

What does Beginner/General mean? And General/Intermediate?

  • Beginners/General:Students should have at least 1 years’ regular Iyengar yoga practice.
  • General/Intermediate:For strong General and Intermediate students. This level is not suitable for students who are new to General level practice.

Where are the other teachers? Why is my regular teacher not teaching?

  • Seven of our teachers – Stuart Miller, Stephen Richardson,  Rosemary da Silva, Ainhoa Acosta, Elisabeth Wengersky, Keiko Onishi and Alaric Newcombe – have chosen not to teach our livestream classes. Two teachers’ availability did not fit in with our livestream timetable, but we are hoping to include them from June. So please check the June timetable for classes with Patsy and Khaled as well as the current teachers.

Please can we have pranayama classes/philosophy lectures/workshops?

  • We hope to include Pranayama classes in our livestream timetable from June.
  • We will also arrange a Philosophy lecture plus Q&A. 
  • Given the limitations of the student/teacher relationship in livestream teaching, we consider that workshops are not suitable.

Do I have to attend classes with my regular teacher? 

  • Provided you have already attended classes with an IYMV teacher, you can attend livestream classes with any IYMV teacher.
  • All students in online classes must be visible to the teacher, so keep your camera switched on.

The classes are too expensive. You must be raking it in.

  • We have continuing overheads for staff and building regardless of where the classes are taught, and we are committed to engaging all teachers who wish to take part in delivering the livestream classes.
  • While there are fewer teachers and half our regular classes in the livestream timetable, teachers are paid for two hours’ engagement for each 90-minute class. Currently reception staff are working more than their regular hours to support the livestream classes.
  • We are also continuing to support two teachers providing weekly livestream classes to vulnerable groups through our Outreach Programme.
  • Members suffering financial hardship because of the current emergency can email or phone the office to obtain the concessionary rate for livestream classes (£3).

Will the online classes continue after IYMV re-opens?

  • Since we anticipate that we will not be able to offer a full timetable in the studios when we re-open, because of the need for social distancing, we will continue some livestream classes to make as full a timetable as possible.
  • The Teaching Committee and Trustees are considering all the possibilities and permutations of running classes in the studios and online as safely and accessibly as possible. Even when we are fully open, we will continue with livestream classes if there is a continuing demand for them.

I am having connection problems

  • We believe this is settling down as everyone has become familiar with the technology. If you have a connection problem the best thing is to leave the meeting and immediately sign back in using the same link.
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How to relax more deeply in inverted postures

Roger Cole, Ph.D. is a certified Iyengar yoga teacher trained at the Iyengar Yoga Institutes in San Francisco and Pune. He is also a Stanford University educated scientist with specialties in the science of relaxation, sleep, and circadian rhythms.

In the video below, Roger explains why setu bandha and viparita karani are such beneficial poses. He demonstrates how to trigger the baroreflex, one of the body’s mechanisms that helps maintain blood pressure at a constant level, to quiet the brain effectively in inverted postures and restorative practise.

The story of the statue of Patanjali at Maida Vale

By Alice Chadwick

Many of us begin our practice with the invocation to Patanjali. His statue sits in Maida Vale’s large studio, one of the few objects other than props in the room. Like the birds in the garden or the rain on the roof, it lends its calmness to our space. Here we can put down the things of daily life and pick up the tools of yoga. But why this particular sculpture? Where did it come from and why is it on a plinth in the corner?

The Statue is Commissioned

The statue was bought in Bangalore, India for the first Institute building in London, founded at Maida Vale in 1983. The following May, the carving was blessed in a private ceremony with BKS Iyengar. Almost a decade later, Guruji was again at Maida Vale for the dedication of the new building (1993). The statue was garlanded with marigolds and carnations, Guruji recited the invocation and a priest performed a puja (ceremony of dedication and devotion). On completion of the building (1994), a photograph of Guruji in Padmasana was placed on one side of the glass doors and the sculpture, on a high shelf, on the other.

BKS Iyengar and dignitary in the large studio at Maida Vale, 1993

November 1997: Mr Iyengar attended the official opening of the new Institute

It was his last visit. A puja was again performed in front of Patanjali but Guruji was unhappy to see the idol on its high shelf. It must be on a pedestal, he insisted, at eye level, connected to the earth and facing northeast. And so Patanjali came to be placed where we see him today, both raised and earthed by a plinth, as Mr Iyengar required.

Lord Patanjali

In the statue we meet Patanjali in his mythic form: the incarnation of the Serpent-God Adisesa. According to legend, Adisesa witnessed Shiva’s cosmic dance and was moved to become his follower. Searching for a human mother, he saw Gonika, a learned yogi, praying for a child to pass her knowledge to. She scooped up an offering of water and Adisesa, in the form of a tiny snake, appeared in her hands. She named him ‘Patanjali’, meaning ‘fallen into folded hands’ (from ‘pat’, to fall, and ‘anjali’, hands folded in reverence). Patanjali grew to become a sage of exceptional understanding and was charged by Shiva to communicate his wisdom to humankind.

Half-snake, half-human, the Maida Vale Patanjali sits on his tail with seven cobras’ heads above him. His lower hands make the Anjali mudra, as befits his name and his devotion to Shiva; his upper hands hold a conch and wheel. He bears a red ‘tilaka’ (mark of honour given during puja) on his forehead. Sacred carvings – more properly ‘murti’ (idols) – are traditionally installed by a priest, who infuses them with ‘prana’, or cosmic life force, and welcomes the divinity in.

Carved from hard black granite, the modeling is nevertheless rounded and graceful and the detail finely cut. In this respect, it is a typical Indian devotional carving. This tradition is old and cosmopolitan, with roots in

classical Greek and Buddhist sculpture. Carvings of Patanjali date back to the thirteenth century. The statue at Melakkadambur is one example: here Patanjali stands tall on his tail, a tiny dancing Shiva above his head.2

Sage Patanjali

Fused with this divine figure is another Patanjali – the author/compiler of the “Sutras” on yoga. An Indian scholar and yogi (generally placed in the first centuries CE), Patanjali gathered together what had been disparate and unwritten, thereby enlarging and profoundly deepening our understanding of yoga. His text, admired for its wisdom, beauty and concision, provides a solution to the central difficulty of the human condition – how to live well in relation to ourselves, those around us and God. In the Yamas and Niyamas (ethics), the progression from postures to controlled breathing and beyond, the sutras provide a radically pragmatic approach, as BKS Iyengar explained: ‘To comprehend their message and put it into practice is to transform oneself into a highly cultured and civilized person, a rare and worthy human being’.3

According to Geeta Iyengar, Patanjali’s conch and wheel symbolise the wisdom and protection given to us by his “Sutras”.4 The ‘sankha’ (conch) calls us in readiness to practice; the ‘cakrasi’ (wheel/disc-shaped weapon) cuts through our ignorance, ego and other dangers. Patanjali’s snake canopy also embodies his protection, its multiple heads suggesting omnipresence as well as the many ways in which the sutras guide us. The agile, ceaseless effort required of us as students is represented by his serpent’s tail, while its arrangement in three and half coils symbolises, among many things, the three sacred sounds of A-u-m and the three works sometimes attributed to him (on yoga, medicine and grammar), the half coil indicating his complete enlightenment.

The importance of Patanjali to the Iyengar tradition can, then, hardly be overstated. He is the father of yoga, our powerful protector, author of its foundational text and BKS Iyengar’s first and primary teacher. Let us turn now to a man who has dedicated his life to a different sacred art – carving.

Patanjali in Melakkadambur

Sculptor Padmanabachari

Shri Padmanabachari was born into a family of stonemasons, his ancestors having produced sculpture in the Bangalore region for around eight centuries.5 With many of his children and grandchildren apprenticed to him, the sculptor works in the traditional manner, outside, his stone directly on the earth and surrounded by chippings. The local granite is heavy and resistant; to master large blocks requires physical as well as artistic stamina. Despite this, and his advanced age (he is in his 90s), he works long hours and uses only hand tools. Rough shaping and fine carving are done with hammer and chisel and the idols are finished with polishing stones, emery and water.

Sculptors are considered the descendants of Vishvakarma, architect to the gods, and their sacred task is governed by long-established codes of practice. Specific prayers and mantra are recited throughout the process, asking blessing and drawing the divinity into the stone. As well as these devotions, Padmanabachari

emphasises the importance of study. Sculptors must learn Sanskrit, he insists, to better understand the gods they are making. Due to poverty, his own formal education was not extensive but his family was ‘rich in tradition of sculpture’.6

It was BKS Iyengar who first asked Padmanabachari to carve a Patanjali, as the sculptor recorded. ‘He [Guruji] wanted a stone idol of Sage Patanjali made. I was not that comfortable then, as I couldn’t visualize how exactly the sage looked? For that matter, I even didn’t know Guruji then. But out of spontaneity I had agreed […] to make one…. and that was the start of my association with sage Patanjali and of course with Guruji.’ Bellur, Guruji’s birthplace, is a short drive from Padmanabachari’s village. Having heard of him by reputation, Mr Iyengar arrived carrying Sanskrit texts. The two men studied together and an initial drawing was made. This sketch was the basis for the first Patanjali, a statue that took two months to carve. Padmanabachari then made it his life’s mission to carve Patanjalis ‘out of the toughest stones’.

If Padmanabachari was initially unsure what Patanjali should look like, we might imagine that Mr Iyengar – deeply knowledgeable about Patanjali – was absolutely clear about what he required. Some of Patanjali’s attributes go back centuries; others, like the conch and wheel, are entirely new to the Iyengar carvings. They are described, of course, in the invocation to Patanjali: ‘sankha cakrasi dharinam’, he (Patanjali) holds a conch (sankha) and a disc (cakra); ‘sahasra sirasam svetam’, and is crowned by a thousand-headed cobra. The statue brings, then, the poetry of the invocation before our eyes in concrete sculptural form.

Padmanabachari’s first carving was installed in the courtyard at RIMYI, Pune, where it remains a welcoming sight for visitors. To put the Pune and Maida Vale Patanjalis side by side is to be struck by a close family resemblance. It is no surprise to learn then, that after the first Pune sculpture was finished, a new statue was commissioned from Shri Padmanabachari. This Patanjali – the Maida Vale carving – was

shipped to London in a wooden crate; on arrival, its considerable weight surprised everyone.

BKS Iyengar with sculptor Shri Padmanabachari

Yoga & Carving

As a yoga teacher learns to read a body, to see beneath its surface and see with compassion, so a sculptor learns to read stone. ‘We are specifically taught how to identify and then be friendlier with the material we choose,’ Padmanabachari has explained; ‘there is a unique way to test the right stone especially for the idols, even before we hammer our first chisel on it. This kind of knowledge […] comes only from experience’. The sculptor must see the deity in the stone and find a way to bring it to life. The courage required to progress is significant – there are risks to the sculptor as well as to what he creates. Padmanabachari himself drew a comparison between the rigorous determination required by his art and that displayed by Mr Iyengar who, particularly as a young man, pushed himself to the physical and mental limits of what is possible in yoga.7

Equally striking is the comparison made by Guruji between breath in pranayama and the pneumatic drill, a tool used in quarrying stone.8 Both are at once powerful and dangerous; as well as courage, both require

wisdom and control. ‘Every stroke of our hammer is an act of responsibility’, Padmanabachari has said, a comment equally applicable to the teaching and practice of yoga.

If there is a kinship between making sculpture and teaching yoga, there is another between the statue in our studio and our practice of yoga postures. Seated comfortably on his coils, Maida Vale’s Patanjali is, in a literal sense, in a yogasana (the word ‘asana’ means seat). This compact, stable pose, together with his symmetrical upper body and benign expression, embody one of Patanjali’s own great yogasutras: ‘sthira sukham asanam’ (‘Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit’9). The carving’s snake-human form also reminds us that the asanas are rich with the power of animals, plants and gods to shift shape. But perhaps it is in Bhujangasana, cobra pose, when we might think especially of Patanjali. Here we are half snake (legs working together, spine supple and coiling) and half human (reluctant shoulders moving back, chest lifting up). If we begin our practice with an attempt to summon Patanjali’s serpentine fluidity, we end by seeking his unshakeable stability. Through long practice, the body, and ultimately the consciousness, find stillness. The carving’s stately bearing provides an image of this equilibrium, the inner stability that represents Patanjali’s definition of yoga itself.10

The collaboration between the sculptor and the yoga guru was long and productive. They were also friends. Perhaps Guruji recognised in Padmanabachari a fellow traveller: from a small village in southern India, he became a craftsman of great strength and skill, an artist of profound sensitivity and a man deeply committed to his sacred work.


To our opening questions, we can answer that the statue came from a village close to Guruji’s birthplace and was made by the sculptor Padmanabachari. We know of the deep connection between Patanjali and Iyengar Yoga, to this we can add the close partnership between Mr Iyengar and the man who carved the Patanjali idols. Together they took up an ancient iconography and gave it new life.

As to why the statue is in the studio, a number of suggestions can be made. First, it reminds us of the living relationship between Patanjali’s “Yogasutras” and our practice. His disc and conch represent the practical tools set out for us in his text; his metamorphosis reminds us of the suppleness and effort required if, like him, we seek transformation. To inspire our work, the statue provides an image of the perfect asana; in it we glimpse the equanimity of the fully evolved soul. Secondly, Patanjali is present as our protector. He shelters our practice and his writing guides us though difficulties. Thirdly, Patanjali provides the foundation for our knowledge of yoga. The carving reminds us of a legacy of scholarship and teaching that stretches back many centuries.

A final reason: in a recent class, we were instructed to stand up on two bricks in Tadasana. ‘We put a sculpture on a plinth’, the teacher said, ‘to give it importance’. I stood on the bricks feeling remarkably tall. ‘Step down,’ she said. ‘Feel the pull of gravity as you return to earth’ (it felt strong). When we sit down before Patanjali, we

step off the pedestal of our egos. We fold our hands and bow our heads, returning his Anjali gesture. Learning requires humility, as Geetaji has taught us: ‘you know that you are very small in front of that greatest soul […] you are “coming down” to learn something. And you can’t learn anything unless you come down’.11 Each time we step down before Patanjali, we receive the opportunity to remake ourselves as students.

My sincere thanks to Penny Chaplin, Jake Clennell, Gerry Chambers, Abhijata Sridhar, Alan Reynolds, Korinna Pilafidis-Williams, Stephen Richardson and Sallie Sullivan for sharing knowledge and images for this article.


1 Gudrun Bühnemann, ‘Naga, Siddha and Sage: Visions of Patanjali as an Authority on Yoga’, in “Yoga in Transformation”, K. Baier, P. André Mass & K. Preisendanz (eds), Vienna University Press, 2018, pp. 575-622.

2 Photo: Raja Deekshithar, 11 Feb 2007, with kind permission of Ian Alsop; http://asianart.com/articles/ratha/28.html.

3 BKS Iyengar, “Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, p. 1.

4 For Geeta Iyengar’s comments on Patanjali: Peggy Cady, ‘Exploring the Invocation to Patanjali’, iyengaryogacentre.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Patanjali-2.pdf.

5 For Padmanabachari’s working life and details of his first meeting with Mr Iyengar, I am indebted to

Jake Clennell, director of “Iyengar: The Man, Yoga, and the Student’s Journey” (in conversation).

6 Blogpost, V. Gayathri, July 9th 2010: http://creative-talk.blogspot.com/2010/. Further comments by Padmanabachari also come from this post, unless otherwise stated.

7 For Padmanabachari’s comments on courage, as well as footage of him at work, see the trailer for

“Sadhaka”: http://clennellfilms.com/documentary#/doc-sadhaka/.

8 BKS Iyengar, “Light on Yoga”, p. 431 (Pranayama, Hints and Cautions, 3).

9 “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, II, 46, BKS Iyengar’s translation.

10 ‘‘yoga chittavrtti nirodhah’’ (‘Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness’), YSP, I, 2.

11 In Peggy Cady. pp. 2-3.

This article is taken from Dipika, the Iyengar Yoga Maida Vale Journal, 2020. If referencing this article, please credit as appropriate.

The science and philosophy of OM-AUM

By Ainhoa Acosta

Ainhoa has a Masters degree in Audio Production and has worked as a Promo Producer and Creative Executive for the World Service and BBC News. She teaches the children’s yoga class, a beginners’ class and an introductory course at Maida Vale.

She currently teaches a livestream class for Beginners on Mondays at 18.15 BST >



When going to a yoga class for the very first time, some students may be surprised that we start the class chanting ‘Om’ three times. Some feel at ease straight away, while others might feel self-conscious or wonder why we chant a word in Sanskrit without knowing what it means. Sometimes that first Om is strained, not harmonious, only to become a smooth and pleasant sound by the third repetition.  

Often there is the question of whether it has a religious connotation.  

Let us look at this more closely.

The philosophy of Om

In yoga philosophy, Om is considered a sacred syllable. “Like the Latin word ‘Omne’, the Sanskrit word ‘Om’ means ‘all’ and conveys concepts of ‘Omniscience’, ‘Omnipresence’ and ‘Omnipotence’” (BKS Iyengar, ‘Light on Yoga’, p. 445). Om is a sacred ‘mantra’. It is considered a universal sound, the seed of all words without reference to any specific religion or god. According to the Big Bang theory, Om is the cosmic sound that initiated the creation of the universe.

This sacred syllable is not just one sound, it is actually three. The ‘Pranava’ (power) mantra comprises three syllables: ‘a’, ‘u’, ’m’, indicating the continuity of past, present and future. The Aum sound encompasses the masculine, feminine and neutral principles. It also addresses speech (‘vak’), mind (‘manas’) and breath (‘prana’) and alludes to the famous trinity of Indian cosmology, the creator (Brahma), the maintainer (Vishnu) and the destroyer (Shiva). By chanting Aum at the beginning of class or practice, the divinity within each of us is addressed, invited and called in. When we perceive the sound of our own voice, we notice our own presence. Through sound, an invisible yet physical expression, we are closer to perceiving our true self and our true nature. We are never separate from sound; even if we can’t speak or hear we feel its physical vibration throughout our bodies. 

At the point of chanting Aum, there is no thought, no separation. Regular practice enhances a sense of centeredness. It is also said that while chanting Aum, the syllable is the target and our attention becomes focused on one point (‘Ekagrata’). Like holding the bow and using the Self as the arrow, chanting gives us a clear sense of direction and focus. It is the beginning of the inward journey and thus the beginning of the class and of practice.

The science behind Aum

The effects of chanting Aum at the beginning of each class go beyond the philosophical realm. It is well recognised that sound is a powerful tool for healing and can have profound effects. The ancient yogis knew and practised many methods that are now becoming accepted by the scientific community. One of these is the chanting of mantras.

Mantras are syllables that exert an influence or effect through sound vibrations that resonate on specific parts of the body. Different syllables vibrate at different sound frequencies and so they will resonate with certain organs and parts of the body. The human hearing range is 20Hz to 20KHz. Aum vibrates at 432 Hz, which is quite low within our hearing range. This means that the sound wave is longer and its frequency of vibration slower than a high-pitch sound at, let’s say, 15KHz. The physical result of this is that these sound waves will affect bigger surface areas.

At a physical level, the Aum syllable addresses the whole of the human sound instrument: we open the mouth (‘a’), move the lips closer to each other (‘u’) and then close the mouth (‘m’). This activates the larynx fully. ‘A’ resonates in the stomach and chest, ‘u’ in the throat and chest and ‘m’ in the nasal cavity, skull and brain. By chanting Aum we move the energy from the abdomen up to the brain. Those of us who chant Aum daily before our practice, feel how it helps us to calm our mind and clear our thoughts.

Specific scientific research

Modern technology, such as sound spectrum analysis and brain imaging technology, has made it possible to analyse the structure and quality of soundwaves produced by chanting, as well as the physiological responses induced by the repetition of the Aum sound. Separate research studies were carried out on volunteers who have never chanted before. The recordings and the sound waves were analysed before and after some weeks of chanting Aum on a regular basis. The soundwaves of those who had never done any chanting showed irregular patterns, indicative of unsteadiness of breath and more restless minds. By contrast, the soundwaves recorded after a period of regular chanting were smooth, evenly spaced and harmonic, a clear indication of more regular breathing.  There was an increased connection between the breath and mind, which resulted in an improved sense of calmness.1 In another experiment, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (f-MRI scans) were used to analyse the brain and measure the response of the nervous system during and after the Aum mantra chanting. It’s findings showed that the regular chanting of Aum can be effective in the treatment of depression & epilepsy.2 Other studies have revealed that regular Aum chanting can help lower high blood pressure.3 Other effects of chanting Aum regularly are improved concentration and a reduction in stress levels.4 

Modern technology and science confirm what ancient yogis knew about the healing power of Aum. 

So much in just one sound.


OM sound from NASA: 


The Power of OM: 


Sound file of what the big bang AUM might have sounded like:


The sound of the big bang:


1 Gurjar, A. A., and Ladhake, S. A., ‘Time-Frequency Analysis of Chanting Sanskrit Divine Sound “OM” Mantra’, IJCSNS International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security, Vol. 8, August 2008, pp. 170-175; http://paper.ijcsns.org/07_book/200808/20080825.pdf

2 Kalyani, B. G., Venkatasubramanian, G., Arasappa, R., Rao, N. P., Kalmady, S. V., Behere, R. V., Rao, H., Vasudev, M. K., and Gangadhar, B. N., ‘Neurohemodynamic correlates of ‘OM’ chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study’, International Journal of Yoga, January 2011, 4 (1), pp. 3-6; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21654968

3 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1258234/Chants-fine-thing-It-sound-daft-doctors-believe-meditation-really-lower-blood-pressure.html

4 Gurjar A. A., Ladhake, S. A., Thakare, A. P., ‘Analysis Of Acoustic of “OM” Chant To Study It’s Effect on Nervous System’, IJCSNS International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security, Vol. 9 No.1, January 2009, pp. 363-367, p. 366; http://paper.ijcsns.org/07_book/200901/20090151.pdf

This article is taken from Dipika, the Iyengar Yoga Maida Vale Journal, 2020. If referencing this article, please credit as appropriate.

Steps to re-opening the studios

At the end of June we sent a survey about re-opening to our members so we could find out how everyone felt about coming back to studio classes. A big thank you to all of you who responded.

We know that many of you have greatly enjoyed continuing to learn online, but understand that there are elements of the real-world communal experience that you are missing deeply: the camaraderie; the energy in the room; and the level of precision in the corrections and instructions that your teacher can offer when they see you in three dimensions.

We also learned that, though many of you are keen to get back to your practice at the studios, there are still concerns over the use of public transport and the difficulties associated with carrying your own equipment to attend face-to-face classes. 

First, we would like to reassure you that we will continue to provide livestream classes for the foreseeable future. 

These have proved to be a great success, and the feedback from those who have taken part has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. If you haven’t yet tried a livestream class, please do consider it; classes at all levels will continue throughout August and beyond. 

We have also agreed a discount code with Yogamatters to allow our members a 10% discount on props you may need for home practice. If you’re a member of IYMV, you will already have received an email about this. Please do not share the link with others as it has been specially agreed for the benefit of our members.

Secondly, we have been preparing for your return to classes at the studios. 

While we cannot make your journey to Maida Vale any safer, we have been busy putting in place measures to ensure your safety in the building. To this end, we are providing the following health and safety measures:

  • Limited timetable to ensure time for thorough cleaning between classes
  • Only one class at a time through the day
  • 100% online pre-booking and payment (no drop-ins)
  • Screens to protect students and staff
  • Limited class numbers to ensure sufficient space between students and teachers (following government guidelines)
  • Limited use of equipment, walls and ropes
  • Limited use of changing rooms (If you can, please arrive ready to practise)
  • Provision of sanitising products for students, equipment and surfaces throughout the building
  • Improved ventilation and enhanced cleaning to studios, WC’s and common areas throughout the day
  • Managed one-way system for entry, during classes and upon exit 
  • Additional night-time deep-cleaning

In all of this, we will also rely on your cooperation to ensure that attendance at the studios will be as safe as possible. Because of this, the face-to-face timetable will necessarily be less extensive than in normal times. However, we will complement it with the livestream timetable to give the broadest possible range of classes and teachers to students at all levels.

Live classes will be starting during August. We will be in touch with full details as soon as possible.

We look forward to seeing you again soon and, once again, thank you for your continuing support during these last few difficult months and for the future. 

Yoga props for your home practice

Many of us have been improvising props at home. This can work perfectly well for home practice and livestream classes and Mr Iyengar himself was known for his innovation in repurposing household items to create new props. But, if you would like to upgrade from books, towels and cushions we can recommend the selection of equipment below.

We have chosen props that are similar to the ones we use at Maida Vale so that they will be familiar and easy to work with if you have attended classes at our studios.

Foam Brick

At Maida Vale we use wooden, foam and cork bricks. Foam is a good option for your home practice as it is lighter and less expensive than wood.


View now >


Cork Brick

Cork bricks are slightly heavier than foam so some students find them slightly more stable to work with.


View now >

Yoga Belt




View now >


Natural Cotton Blanket

New blankets can shed rather a lot of fluff. Try washing your blanket before use to minimise shedding.


View now >

Tall Chair

At Maida Vale we have longer-legged chairs like this one for tall students.


View now >


New bolsters can be a bit big and puffy. Over time they settle, soften and become more comfortable to use.


View now >

The Pune Shoulder Jacket – try it to counteract hunched shoulders

Have you tried The Pune Shoulder Jacket?

IYMV remedial teacher Korinna Pilafidis-Williams demonstrates how to put the Pune ‘shoulder jacket’ on. This is a great method to counterbalance your shoulder girdle when you’ve been hunched forward over a computer all day.

If you don’t have a yoga belt at home and you would like to try this technique, you can find a belt similar to the ones we use at Maida Vale here >

Updated: Covid-19 precautions and temporary closure

For further information about Covid-19 (Coronavirus) please note these recommendations from the NHS.

In view of the most recent government advice, the centre will be closed for all classes, workshops and private practice until further notice. We will be posting sequences online and are in the process of preparing live streaming to assist you in your private practice.

Look out for further information bulletins.

What’s the risk of catching coronavirus in the UK?

The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from moderate to high. Regularly updated information from the government is available by following this link

Health professionals are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have coronavirus.

How coronavirus is spread

Because it’s a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.

Similar viruses spread in cough droplets.

It’s highly unlikely coronavirus can be spread through packages from affected countries or through food.

How to avoid catching or spreading germs

There’s currently no vaccine for coronavirus.

But there are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading.


  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean


Returning travellers

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms:

  • Iran
  • Hubei province in China
  • Special care zones in South Korea (Daegu, Cheongdo, Gyeongsan)

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places, even if you do not have symptoms:

  • Italy (since 09 March)

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild:

  • mainland China outside of Hubei province
  • South Korea outside of the special care zones
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath

Urgent advice:Call 111 now if you’ve been:

  • To Wuhan or Hubei Province in China in the last 14 days (even if you do not have symptoms)
  • To other parts of China, including Macau and Hong Kong, in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it’s mild)
  • To Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Republic of Korea or Malaysia in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it’s mild)
  • In close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus

Do not go to a GP surgery or hospital. Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.

Tell 111 about any recent travel and any symptoms you have.

Easter Timetable

We will be open over Easter with a few changes to our regular timetable. Please see below for details.

Friday 10 April

Beginners10.00-11.30Marco Cannavo
60+11.45-1.15Judy Lynn
General12.00-1.30Marco Cannavo

Saturday 11 April

Beginners8.15-9.45Amparo Rodriguez
General8.30-10.00Rosemary da Silva
Intermediate10.00-12.00Judy Lynn
Beginners12.15-1.45Amparo Rodriguez
General3.30-5.00Keiko Onishi
Beginners5.00-6.30Khaled Kendsi

Sunday 12 April

Beginners9.00-10.00Kristyan Robinson
Beginners9.30-11.00 Rosemary da Silva
General/Intermediate10.15-12.15 Judy Lynn

Monday 13 April

Intermediate9.30-11.30Stephen Richardson
Beginners10.00-11.30Amparo Rodriguez
General11.45-1.15Ainhoa Acosta
Gentle Yoga12.00-1.30Rosemary da Silva

Sunday Pregnancy Class – New Time

Please note that the Pregnancy Class will now start at 3.30pm. The time change is in effect from Sunday 8th March.

Pregnancy Class
3.30 – 5.00pm

Members online class booking

Occasionally classes at Maida Vale get so busy that Members have been turned away. While not a regular occurrence, this is particularly frustrating for Members who travel from outside and across London to get to class. Online booking already works effectively for Workshops and Pregnancy Classes at Maida Vale. So, we are introducing class booking to our Members so they have priority access to busy classes.

A limited number of class places are available to book online. Every class also has drop-in spaces available so you can choose whether to book or not.

How it works

  • Visit the Live Timetable >
  • Click on the ‘Sign Up Now’ button next to the class you want to attend. You will then be prompted to log-in to your account to confirm your place.
  • If you have a prepaid Yogacard then class payment will be taken from that card. Otherwise you will have the option to buy a single class at the Members’ rate.  
  • Booking opens 14 days before classes are scheduled and closes 2 hours before the class starts.
  • Once you have booked your place you can cancel up to 2 hours before the scheduled class time without penalty. Classes cancelled within two hours of the scheduled start time will be charged.

Download the IYMV app

Book classes easily and quickly from your phone:

Let us know what you think

The IYMV team and Board of Trustees will be monitoring Member booking for classes closely. Please let us know your feedback and ideas by emailing office@iyi.org.uk

Don’t want to book online or having technical problems?

If you prefer not to use online booking you can drop in to classes as usual.

For any technical problems please email office@iyi.org.uk

Forgotten your login details? Reset your password >

Geeta Iyengar on Yoga for Women

Geeta Iyengar as a young woman

Mark Tully (former BBC’s India correspondent) visited Pune in 1999. The result of this visit was a memorable interview with BKS Iyengar and the BBC Radio 4 production “Head to Toe. The BBC producer, Vanessa Harrison, has kindly given some of the interview transcripts to Dipika. This is a section of the interview with Geeta Iyengar who published her yoga book for women, “Yoga: A Gem for Women”, in 1983.

Continue reading →

Could your child benefit from yoga?

There is much to gain from starting yoga at a young age. Physically there benefits like enhanced balance, strength, coordination and flexibility. Plus, kids can improve their concentration and sense of calm with yoga practice. Children live in a busy world of hurrying parents, homework, packed school days, technology and socialising. Yoga helps counter these pressures. It introduces young students to body awareness and poses for relaxation. The act of practicing poses the skill of being able to clear the mind and focus attention.

Our Yoga for Children classes are for for ages 6-12. They are fun and fast-moving with a focus on learning about the body as well as doing yoga postures.

The  course runs during term time and can be booked in advance. Korinna Pilafidis-Williams has extensive experience of teaching yoga to children and, as young JJ Fisher describes it, her classes are ‘fun‘. They also help him to concentrate on work and stay in shape for playing sports. ‘I like the fact that we learn about bones and the body as well as yoga.

Yoga for Children with Korinna Pilafidis-Williams
Mondays 5.00pm – 5.55pm

£72 per term 
(pro rata’d for new students who join after term starts)

Book now on 020 7624 3080

2019 Autumn – Winter Timetable

Monday 13 Monday 3Monday 2
Monday 20 Monday 10Monday 9
Monday 27 Monday 17 - NO CLASSMonday 16
Monday 24Monday 23

Children’s yoga classes are scheduled during term time with a break for half term. We are unable to accept bookings for individual classes.

If your child has any health problems or you have any queries about your child joining our children’s yoga class later in the term, please contact the office. To help us protect the safety of children attending our classes, please tell the receptionist on duty the name of the person who will be collecting the child. Please notify us of any change in these arrangements as soon as possible.


Korinna has been practising Iyengar yoga since 1983 and started teaching at Maida Vale in 1995. She is a Junior Intermediate teacher and is especially interested in remedial yoga as well as teaching children and teenagers. She visits the Institute in Pune regularly. After having held the teaching portfolio as one of IYMV’s trustees for many years, she is currently the editor of Dipika, IYMV’s magazine.

Teaching Yoga to Children : A workshop for teachers and teacher trainees

Uday Bhosale and Korinna Pilafidis-Williams have extensive experience of teaching Iyengar yoga to children. In this workshop they will share their approaches to making classes engaging, fun and safe for young students. 

Friday 27 September
Members £30 / Non-member £36

This workshop is for qualified Iyengar yoga teachers and trainees.

Uday Bhosale spent fifteen years studying, assisting and teaching at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune with the Iyengar family. He taught the Childrens, Beginners and Intermediate classes at RIMYI and assisted in Geeta Iyengar’s medical classes.

Korinna Pilafidis-Williams has been practising Iyengar yoga since 1983 and started teaching at IYMV in 1995. She is part of the remedial and teacher training teams at IYMV.  As well as teaching adults, she has been teaching children and teenagers for nearly 25 years and teaches one of the longest running children’s classes in the country.

Iyengar yoga classes for MS and neurological conditions

Following the success of our workshops with Garth McLean we have launched a regular class for students with multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions. The classes are based on the teachings of BKS Iyengar with specific input from Garth McLean.

12 September to 17 October (6 sessions)
12.00-1.30 pm
Members £69 / Non-members £84

**Please note there will be no class on 24 October.**

31 October to 12 December (7 sessions)
Members £69 / Non-members £84

Places are by application only and fees are paid half-termly in advance. 

Come to class in t-shirt & leggings or shorts so that the teachers can observe how your body is working.

Classes are led by Korinna Pilafidis-Williams with assistance from other teachers. Korinna has been practising Iyengar yoga since 1983 and started teaching at IYMV in 1995. She is a Junior Intermediate teacher and is part of the remedial and teacher training teams at IYMV.  

Please apply by completing the form below and emailing to office@iyi.org.uk


BKS Iyengar practising at RIMYI – photographs by Silvia Prescott



Silvia Prescott was one of the teachers who played a key role in finding a site to found an Iyengar Yoga Institute in Maida Vale. She was also one of those who helped raise the money to make it possible. She was a teacher to many of the teachers currently teaching at Maida Vale and was a talented photographer, documenting her trips to Pune and the yoga conferences she attended.

Continue reading →

Pick up your copy of the IYIMV Journal – Dipika

The latest edition of Dipika, number 49, is now available at reception. It is free to all of our members so don’t forget to pick up your copy.

We’re sure you’ll agree that Dipika editor Korinna Pilafidis-Williams has done another fantastic job with the latest issue. The theme of home or ‘self-practice’ is covered from several angles including a fascinating personal account on the evolution of practice by senior teacher Pixie Lillas. Plus find an extract of Mark Tully’s insightful interview with Geeta Iyengar.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to design, content and production of Dipika!



Volunteers for Introductory Assessments 2017

This year’s Introductory assessments will take place on 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25 June at IYI Maida Vale.

We need volunteers to be students for the teaching part of the assessments. Each assessment should have 7 – 8 volunteers.

Volunteers should have at least a year’s attendance at classes and already be performing Sirsasana and Sarvangasana. They should be willing to be helped up into Sirsasana (head balance) at the wall and Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), and should not be remedial students or injured – stiffness is fine but no injuries.

Volunteers will need to be on their mats ready to start at 1.45pm (Saturdays) or 2.15 (Sundays), and the session should finish by 5.00 or 5.30pm respectively. Teachers may not act as volunteers but we can take Introductory Level 1 trainees and trainees just starting their second year of training.  However trainees should not volunteer for a session in which candidates from their own course are being assessed.


Contact: office@iyi.org.uk or call 020 7624 3080 to volunteer.



NEW! One hour Sunday morning beginners class

Sundays from 28 May – 23 July
9.00-10.00 am

This new shorter class is ideal for complete beginners, students who have completed the Introduction to Iyengar Yoga Course and any practitioner in their first three years of practice. It will be a fast-paced class for students who like to practise and still have the whole of  Sunday free! Continue reading →