Wow… already more than halfway through February. As a reminder, the end of the month is the last day for the early-bird price for the Bali Retreat in June. Also, due to the early Easter, the Autumn Yoga Intensive starts March 7th this year. Register now to ensure you get a place.
This newsletter features the second article in the series of the life of BKS Iyengar. And the video interview with Iyengar further exemplifies the amazing achievements of this wonderful man.
Any comments, suggestions please email me.
Practise with joy in your heart… Maurice
Video of the Month – Interview with BKS Iyengar
Article of the Month – BKS Iyengar; Widening Recognition
Upcoming Events; 16-day Autumn Yoga Intensive,
2016 Beginner Courses,
Bali Yoga Retreat
Yoga Students “off the mat” – Len Goldsmith
Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
Quote of the Month
Iyengar – or Guruji, as his students and followers referred to him, a title of respect meaning spiritual teacher or mentor – had for several years been working on his first book on yoga. This was a massive effort involving writing, editing, proofreading, and posing for many photographs. Finally, Light on Yogawas published in 1965. It instantly became a classic, the ‘bible’ of yoga, accepted by students and teachers alike as the authoritative reference work for the practice of yoga.
In 1965, the National Defence Academy in Pune introduced yoga into their curriculum and many educational institutions followed. The educational authorities in London introduced yoga as taught by Guruji in their Adult Education programme in 1969. The explosion of yoga awareness created a massive need for teachers, and so Guruji started programs of intensive training and workshops for teachers.
It was time to provide a ‘home’ for Iyengar Yoga. Students, friends and followers raised funds to build an institute in Pune. The building was inaugurated in January 1975 and dedicated to the memory of Srimati Ramamani, who had passed away soon after laying the foundation stone in 1973. The institute continues to be a temple of yoga and a place of pilgrimage for yoga enthusiasts around the globe.
On the day of Guruji’s 60th birthday, the Light on Yoga Research Trust was formed. His birthday celebrations were presided over by India’s renowned Ayurveda physician and Guruji’s pupil, Pandit Shiv Sharma, and attended by students and well-wishers from India and abroad.
Guruji’s second book was published in 1981. It was immediately hailed as the most comprehensive and definitive book on pranayama. By this time, Guruji had finalised the methodology and standards of teaching and had invented many props and aids for learning. He continued his visits abroad – including to England, Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, France, and Germany – to attend conferences, conduct workshops, inaugurate Iyengar Yoga institutes, and give yoga demonstrations.
‘Iyengar Yoga’ has grown and found acceptance and appreciation in many countries, with thousands of teachers conducting Iyengar Yoga classes. A significant milestone was reached when the First Iyengar Yoga Teachers Conference was held in San Francisco in 1984. Some 800 teachers from over the world attended the conference and benefitted from Guruji’s presence, advice and teaching.
Guruji’s third book, a pictorial and aesthetic delight, full of inspiration for yoga practitioners, came out in 1985.
In December 1988, students and followers from around the world gathered in Pune for a weeklong celebration of Guruji’s 70th birthday. Events were held throughout the year, in conjunction with the Light on Yoga Research Trust, and the year saw the start of a massive teacher’s training programme.
In October 1989, Guruji visited the Soviet Union at the invitation of the then USSR Ministries of Health and Sports to participate in the First International Yoga Conference.
Next month’s article: Yogacharya as a Family Man
with Maurice McCann
When: 7th – 24th March, 2016
6 – 7.30am every day (except Sun 13th and 20th)
Where: Yoga Room, Burleigh Heads
Autumn is a time to focus on boosting vitality and optimism. It’s a time to strengthen our immune system and declutter our bodies and minds after the excesses of summer. The Classes are designed as a course building up day by day over 16 days.
To book, call us on 0438 837 244, or email
When: Starting Tuesday 15th March or Wednesday 6th April
6 week course
Where: Yoga Room, Burleigh Heads
For anyone who has never done yoga before or is new to the Iyengar method.
Book now! Places are limited. Call 0438 837 244, or email
When: 13th to 25th June 2016
Retreat practice gives you the time to rest and to let go of your normal day to day routine. It gives you an opportunity to nurture yourself, restore a sense of balance and well-being.
In this section of the newsletter we introduce Yoga Room students showcasing some of the amazing things they do off-the-mat and encourage you, where possible, to support their endeavours.
Len’s ”first real yoga class”, as he describes it, was in January 2015, when he began the Yoga Room Saturday morning class as a newbie. His only previous knowledge of yoga was doing a few warrior poses in a body balance class at a local gym once a week for a couple of years. ”I mean, yoga isn’t really for men, is it?” he comments tongue-in-cheek.
What made him decide to take up yoga more seriously was when the strategically placed signboard on James Street caught his eye. ”Great marketing, Maurice!” he says. He then began with the Yoga Room six-week beginner course. While it seemed a random decision at the time, he felt drawn to yoga and it coincided with what was happening in his life. ”It feels yoga somehow aligns with me as a person in this phase of my life. I’ve discovered a major part of the yoga system is a practice called ahimsa, which as I understand means living life with non-violent thoughts and actions to all living things which once again, aligns with my expanding love of animals. I’m also really digging on the meditative effects and challenges that asanas offer plus the bonus prize of being a whole lot more body aware and being able to guide it to a better state over time.”
For ten months, Len then did one or two classes a week at the Yoga Room until December last year when he attended Maurice’s 17-day intensive, which inspired him to exchange running for more yoga. Now he’s settling in to three or four practices a week. He also recently started one practice a week, sometimes two, at home.
Yoga provides Len with ”a big package of benefits”. Aside from increased calmness and flexibility, he feels very connected with others who practise yoga. ”Somehow it gives me great satisfaction to know that around the world, the millions of people practising yoga are contributing to the world in positive ways through their increased awareness of body and mind.”
Outside of yoga, Len is busy in his service-based lighting business, Fantastic Lighting, which he started in 2000 in Sydney and set up the same business model when the family moved to the Gold Coast in 2008. The business specialises in retrofitting existing lights in homes and businesses to lights that last longer and save energy. Len is clearly enthusiastic and passionate about his business. He loves serving others and gets great satisfaction from sharing his knowledge and transforming homes and businesses with new lights. A recently completed branding exercise expanded on everything the business stands for, embodied in the words, ’Passion, Professionalism and Helpfulness’.
It is a busy business and they offer a free trial to discover the benefits. You can learn more atwww.fantasticlighting.com.auwww.facebook.com/fantasticlighting
In Len’s spare time, he is grateful for his health in being able to enjoy the outdoors. He has tried plenty of sports, from diving to triathlons. Right now, yoga is ’numero uno’. He loves spending time with his family – his ”amazing and talented wife, Helen”, and their three sons and one daughter. It won’t be long before he and Helen become ’empty nesters’.
”I have a grandmother aged 96 who lives in Burleigh Heads. She teaches me plenty about resilience and the benefits of a simple, uncluttered life and being willing to serve others. I really like this notion, although my carport is currently messy so I still have a way to go.”
Chapter 2 Verse 26
“The ceaseless flow of discriminative knowledge in thought, word and deed destroys ignorance, the source of pain.”
BKS Iyengar. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Pg 129.
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
Yoga Room Burleigh Heads
+61 438 837 244