We are offering a range of livestream and studio classes over the winter holiday period. Continue reading →
We are offering a range of livestream and studio classes over the winter holiday period. Continue reading →
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.
We offer a timetable of livestream online classes for all levels delivered via Zoom.
These classes are for IYMV Members. Each class has a capacity of 50 students and you can book in advance. All classes cost £8 per student.
Members are reminded that classes are for members only. If more than one person in your household wishes to attend a class and share a screen with you, each should be a member and each register separately so that we can be sure you have read the class instructions and agree to abide by the instructions, including the teachers’ disclaimer. Thank you for your understanding.
Browse classes and book on the Livestream Timetable >
We offer a 1-Month Membership + a Free Livestream Class for £10 to new members. Annual IYMV membership is £55 and 3 month membership is £25.
If you new to IYMV and would like to take online classes or need to renew your membership you can Buy Membership here >
How do I sign up to a livestream class?
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 email@example.com
Members suffering financial hardship because of the current emergency can email or phone the office to obtain the concessionary rate for livestream classes (£3).
For students who have done some Iyengar yoga before going up to two years’ experience. Please note that online classes are not suitable for complete Beginners.
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.
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.
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.
The Covid alert level for London is Tier 2, the high alert level from midnight on Friday 16 October until further notice.
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:
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.
This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.
To allow us to provide face-to-face classes in the studios we must fulfil certain obligations as an organisation.
We have worked to ensure that the centre is ‘COVID-secure’. This has allowed us to open the studios for live classes since 17 August and will continue to do so after the government’s most recent announcement.
As the number of classes provided in the studios increases, it is all the more important that teachers, students and staff assist in maintaining this status.
In the initial stages we carried out a risk assessment. We were required to assess the risk of transmitting the virus at various stages of the journey from entry to the building to the departure of students at the end of classes, and to take all reasonable steps to minimise the risks to those who attend the building. A copy of the risk assessment is available here and is posted on the notice board in the corridor.
Please ensure that you observe the rules and ensure that others do so. Teachers bear particular responsibility for ensuring compliance with the rules in the studio and they will be supported in this by the board, management and teaching committee.
The measures adopted are as follows. Those in bold are particularly to be observed and enforced by teachers:
· Students should not book a class or attend the studios if they have any of the indicating symptoms of COVID-19, or have a cold or other flu-like symptoms.
· The number of students attending studio classes is limited to a maximum of 18.
· Students must book and pay online or by telephone.
· Students should arrive, so far as possible, ready to practise yoga, as use of the changing areas is limited.
· On arrival, everyone should check their temperature using the infrared thermometer provided at the entrance.
· A student or teacher registering an abnormally high temperature will not be allowed into the class. An alarm will sound if an unusually high temperature is recorded.
· Hand sanitiser is provided throughout the building from non-touch dispensers.
· Students should wear masks in the reception and common areas on entry to the building and when leaving.
· Students must bring their own mats and belts.
· Use of studio equipment is strictly limited to metal chairs, wooden equipment and a limited number of foam blocks. We rely on teachers to ensure that these restrictions are observed.
· Any equipment used must be cleaned by the students before and after use, using the cleaning materials and non-touch bins provided in the studios. Teachers should ensure this is done before leaving the studio.
· Mats must be placed in the areas marked on the studio floor.
· Teachers and students must observe social distancing throughout the class.
· There should be no chanting, and rope or wall-work should be kept to a minimum.
· Teachers must be prepared to adapt their teaching throughout the class to ensure social distancing. Consequently, there should be no hands-on adjustments.
We have also arranged for additional cleaning in the building between classes and allowed sufficient time for one group of students to leave the building before another group is due to arrive.
· Screens have been installed at the reception desk to provide a barrier between staff and students.
· Non-touch hand sanitiser dispensers are provided by each studio door and elsewhere.
· The studio floors and lower walls between the ropes will be cleaned between classes.
· WC’s, changing rooms and common areas will be cleaned regularly throughout the day.
· Additional signs in the WC’s remind users to wash their hands and to use the non-touch driers provided. Driers are also fitted with hepa filters to restrict the recirculation of contaminated air.
· For busier classes, two exits may be used to ensure the building is cleared quickly and efficiently, and to avoid overcrowding in the shoe areas.
So long as we all observe the limitations to use of the facilities in the current circumstances, we may continue to provide classes safely.
These are legal requirements that may be checked at any time by compliance officers of the local authority or the police. Non-compliance may lead to fines and/or to a class or classes being cancelled.
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?
What does Beginner/General mean? And General/Intermediate?
Where are the other teachers? Why is my regular teacher not teaching?
Please can we have pranayama classes/philosophy lectures/workshops?
Do I have to attend classes with my regular teacher?
The classes are too expensive. You must be raking it in.
Will the online classes continue after IYMV re-opens?
I am having connection problems
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 >
Prashant Iyengar has published a series of educational sessions online. These talks are a great resource to guide exploration in your asana practice. Continue reading →
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.
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:
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:
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:
Symptoms of coronavirus
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
Urgent advice:Call 111 now if you’ve been:
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.
We will be open over Easter with a few changes to our regular timetable. Please see below for details.
Friday 10 April
Saturday 11 April
|General||8.30-10.00||Rosemary da Silva|
Sunday 12 April
|Beginners||9.30-11.00||Rosemary da Silva|
Monday 13 April
|Gentle Yoga||12.00-1.30||Rosemary da Silva|
Please note that the Pregnancy Class will now start at 3.30pm. The time change is in effect from Sunday 8th March.
3.30 – 5.00pm
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.
Book classes easily and quickly from your phone:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you prefer not to use online booking you can drop in to classes as usual.
For any technical problems please email email@example.com
Forgotten your login details? Reset your password >
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 →
Please note that the Sunday evening General level class with Barbara Norvell now starts at 6.00pm.
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.‘
£72 per term
(pro rata’d for new students who join after term starts)
2019 Autumn – Winter Timetable
|Monday 13||Monday 3||Monday 2|
|Monday 20||Monday 10||Monday 9|
|Monday 27||Monday 17 - NO CLASS||Monday 16|
|Monday 24||Monday 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.
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.
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)
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.
We are pleased to announce that we now offer nurses (including trainee nurses, nursing assistants and healthcare assistants, as well as paramedics) a special half price rate of £7 on all Beginners classes.
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.
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!
Garth McLean was a busy professional whose life changed dramatically when he received a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. He has become a renowned Iyengar yoga teacher and has helped and inspired teachers and students with MS around the world.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7624 3080 to volunteer.
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 →
Following on from the popularity of our Sunday afternoon Pop-up Intermediate classes we have scheduled classes in over spring and summer. These are all drop-in classes so no need to book in advance. Just note the dates, come along and enjoy.
Continue reading →
Barbara Norvell has been teaching Iyengar yoga since 1999. Here she shares her thoughts on how to decide when to move up from a Beginners Level class to General Level. At IYMV we ask that students go to Beginners classes regularly for two years before moving up to a General class. Some students are keen to move up quickly while for others the prospect can be a little daunting. We hope this will help you decide when the right time is for you. Continue reading →
‘Wednesday morning at seven o’clock as the day begins …’ (with apologies to The Beatles)
Tony Morris has been a member of IYIMV since 2000 and served as a trustee of the Institute between 2002-2005. He is a regular at Amparo Rodriguez’s Wednesday class. Here he explains why he resists hitting the snooze button and takes out his yoga mat instead. Continue reading →
On 2 April we will celebrate Silvia Prescott’s contribution to Iyengar yoga and to the Iyengar Yoga Institute Maida Vale. Silvia was a highly respected teacher who will always be remembered by the many people who were fortunate to have attended her classes. Continue reading →
Amparo Rodriguez has been teaching our Wednesday 7am Beginners/General level class at Maida Vale for ten years. Here she shares her perspective on the joys and benefits of early morning yoga practice. Continue reading →
Thank you to everyone who attended the Charity Fundraiser Workshop last weekend. We are delighted to let you know that we raised £500 for our two nominated charities this year, The Brain Tumour Charity and Age UK. Continue reading →
Saturday 18th February 2017
10.00am – 1.00pm
Students with three or more years of regular Iyengar yoga practice who are considering training as an Iyengar yoga teacher are invited to attend a free open taster session facilitated by Sallie Sullivan and Stephen Richardson.
The purpose of the Introductory Teacher Training course is to build a firm foundation in the teaching of B. K. S. Iyengar’s work. The course lasts for two years and comprises of 17 training days each year on Saturdays. Please let us know if you wish to attend ITT Open Session on 020 7624 3080 or email us at email@example.com
See full details of the requirements for the course and application forms here >
Assessments are conducted by the Iyengar Yoga Association(UK) Students accepted on the course must join IYIMV & IY(UK).
Charity Fundraiser Workshop with Rosemary da Silva & Barbara Norvell
Sunday 19th February 2017
11.30am – 2.00pm
This year our Charity Fundraiser Workshop will support Age UK and The Brain Tumour Charity. The workshop will focus on restorative practice and is open to all members with a minimum of 18 months of regular practice.
Numbers will be limited to 16, so please reserve your place in advance on reception and pay in cash on the day. We suggest a minimum donation of £25.
Reserve your place on 020 7624 3080
Uday Bhosale spent fifteen years studying, assisting and teaching at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune with the Iyengar family. In addition to teaching the Childrens, Beginners and Intermediate classes at RIMYI, he assisted in Geeta Iyengar’s medical classes. He recently moved to the UK and teaches regular classes and workshops.
Starting from 31st October, Rosemary Da Silva will be teaching a new Gentle Yoga Class from 12.00-1.30pm. Continue reading →
This winter we are offering a series of Sunday afternoon Intermediate classes. These are all drop-in classes so no need to book in advance. Schedule them in to your weekend and keep your practice on point over the chilly months. Continue reading →
We hold two Beginners classes which are open to students on Jobseeker’s Allowance at the discounted rate of £2.50. These are suitable for students who are new to yoga and there’s no need to book. Continue reading →
Naomi Gorta-Slight shares her experience of using a programme of remedial Iyengar yoga during adolescence to reduce her scoliosis and avoid surgery. Continue reading →
Alaric will be giving a celebratory program that will include recuperative pranayama, readings from Guruji’s writings, and led chanting on Saturday 20th August to mark the two year anniversary of Guruji’s death. Continue reading →
At 92 years of age BKS Iyengar continued to practise yoga for several hours each day. Here he describes how his practice changed with age and offers advice to students on yoga in later life. Continue reading →
This Friday 17 June at 11.00am Radio 4 is airing a programme on The Secret History of Yoga. It promises to be a fascinating listen and features leading academics in the field of yoga history including Dr Suzanne Newcombe.
If you can’t listen live just click on the image below to listen on iPlayer. Continue reading →
If you’re a visiting Iyengar yogi or an IYIMV student with yoga friends visiting from out of town this summer, our 7 Day Summer Visitor Pass is for you. It’s a great value way for non-members to attend classes. Continue reading →
Susan Collins studied for her Introductory Level Iyengar Yoga Teaching Certificate here at Maida Vale. Below she shares some of her reflections and experiences after completing her first year as a teacher.
Find details of our Bank Holiday Weekend timetable below. Continue reading →
If you can see past the breeze blocks and timber you may recognise the room below as our much-loved Studio 1. It was 14th May, 1994 and the official celebration of our new, purpose-built studios, ten years after the inauguration of the Institute at the Maida Vale site. The old building, which had served as a makeshift home for Iyengar yoga in London, was taken down and replaced by the unique and beautiful Institute we enjoy today. Continue reading →
Rarely has there been a more unusual friendship than that between Jewish-American virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin and BKS Iyengar. Continue reading →
We’re delighted to welcome Sheila Haswell back to Maida Vale for a Professional Development Day for qualified Iyengar Yoga teachers.
BKS Iyengar observed that ‘a good teacher helps you explore to the maximum’ and this description will ring true to anyone who has found themselves leaving a class feeling inspired and restored. It is through dedication to their own development that Iyengar yoga teachers are able to guide their students courageously and safely.
We are lucky to have an exceptional group of teachers at Maida Vale and we’re proud to announce that Marco Cannavo, Ofra Graham, Barbara Norvell and Kate Rathod have all recently passed senior assessments.