Since 1984, the B.K.S Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles has served the Southern California yoga community by offering daily classes and on-going teacher training.
The Institute has developed a reputation for offering the very best instruction in the Iyengar method both citywide and worldwide.
There are three pillars upon which the Institute was founded and upon which it operates to this day:
Named for B.K.S. Iyengar (Wikipedia entry), a yoga master recognized in 2004 by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the century, the Institute is dedicated solely to the teaching of yoga based on the Iyengar method.
This method of hatha yoga is recognized for its thorough exploration of poses as they relate to the physical, emotional, spiritual, physiological and psychological aspects of each individual student.
Therefore, it is a method that is appropriate for anyone – regardless of age, degree of health or other perceived limitations. The Iyengar method teaches students how to develop strength and flexibility; it gives them an increased ability to focus, observe, and relax; and it encourages understanding and compassion toward oneself and others.
B.K.S. Iyengar developed his method of teaching and practice for over 80 years. Until his death in 2014, at the age of 95, he practiced and shared his knowledge on a daily basis.
We in the Iyengar system are also blessed to be able to study with other members of the Iyengar family. Geeta Iyengar, B.K.S. Iyengar’s daughter, has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 50 years. Geeta is an invaluable resource in helping us understand the ways in which yoga affects women. Prashant Iyengar, B.K.S. Iyengar’s son, has written on both the practical and philosophical aspects of yoga.
The teachers at the Institute are all fully certified in the Iyengar system. The miminum requirement for this certification is that they have taught a minimum of three years, have been recommended by more experienced teachers to stand for the assessment test, have taken the test and passed it, and are continuing to study in order to maintain their good standing.
There are different levels of certification that may be attained after years of teaching: higher certification levels reflect an increasing level of experience and dedication. Teachers are required to study on a regular basis in India with members of the Iyengar family in order to progress to the higher certification levels.
At the Institute, all teachers must attend certified teacher classes in order to maintain their position on staff, and we are proud to offer classes taught by individuals with such high levels of integrity and expertise.
When you walk into the Institute you see a modest, clean space that offers quality yoga classes and workshops, but if you stick around a little while you will begin to feel what sets it apart.
The Institute was founded at the urging of B.K.S. Iyengar in 1984, when he felt that the Iyengar yoga community in Southern California had grown to the point where its members needed a place to come together to study, practice and gain the support that being part of a community affords.
Mr. Iyengar agreed to allow his name to be used as long as two criteria were met: First, that the business be non-profit, and second, that no other forms of yoga be taught in the building.
Once that agreement was struck, the search to find a location began. A storefront located at 8233 West 3rd Street became the Institute’s home, thanks in large part to the vision of its first Director, Scott Hobbs. At the time of its founding, money was scarce and the building was in need of major renovations.
Teachers taught in exchange for workshops. Students were asked to contribute in any way they could. Out of the pool of students, carpenters, advertising executives, architects, designers and anyone who could hold a hammer were pressed into service. Together they built a beautiful, well-equipped studio, but more important than that, they built a sense of community which still thrives today.
The spirit of participation and giving is still very much at the heart of what we are all about. What has sustained the Institute for 30 years, and what keeps it thriving today, is the sense of community that the students and teachers continue to create with every passing day.
The B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles is a rare treasure indeed.