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Becoming An Iyengar Yoga Teacher

Yogacharya Sri B.K.S. Iyengar has developed what has come to be called Iyengar yoga from a firm spiritual, philosophical and practical base. Iyengar yoga is a way of life, rather than a physical activity. Students have to take the necessary time to learn the asanas and pranayama purely for the joy of learning.

Students who have attended Iyengar yoga classes regularly for a minimum of 3 years and have a good standard of practice in the Introductory asanas may be interested in becoming teachers. The route to teaching is via mentorship by an experienced teacher who has been approved as a Mentor by Iyengar Yoga (UK). Students who are interested in studying to teach should, in the first instance, discuss this with their own regular class teacher; who, if not a Mentor themselves, will be able to put them in touch with a qualified Mentor.

As a trainee, you will be expected to attend regular classes with your Mentor and will progress to demonstrate and assist during class as well as undertaking various written assignments and attending peer-group sessions.. The mentorship period will last a minimum of 3 years but may take longer. During the mentorship period, trainees will be expected to learn not only the Level 1 syllabus but that of Level 2 also. Before teaching the basics, one must be at an advanced level of learning. Candidates for teaching assessment, therefore, will have practiced Iyengar yoga regularly for a minimum of 6 years before presenting for Level 1 assessment. Candidates should not only have achieved a high standard in their personal practice in the asanas, but also have a preliminary awareness of the subtlety of Iyengar yoga and its philosophy.

At Manchester and District Iyengar Yoga (MDIY) we will be running (optional) peer group sessions which involves monthly, Sunday morning sessions at the centre.

Please note: As a trainee teacher at MDIY you will be required to be a member, which will automatically give you membership of Iyengar association of the UK, IY (UK). Membership of IY(UK) is a requirement for training as an Iyengar yoga teacher.

IY (UK) is the national governing body for Iyengar Yoga in the United Kingdom and mentoring yoga teachers is formally reviewed regularly by them. Any changes they may approve may alter the way we mentor trainees.

Your mentor will guide you through the registration process and direct you to the Training to Teach Registration form on the IY(UK) website when appropriate. Your registration form will be checked by IY(UK) and you’ll be given an official start date of the mentoring period.

The emphasis of mentoring will be on practical and teaching skills. In addition, a number of written assignments will be given during the course. These will cover topics such as anatomy, lesson planning and yoga philosophy.

There will be a formal, practical assessment once your Mentor feel you are ready and at least three years from your start date.

Entry requirements: 

  • Attendance at a weekly class with a recognised Teacher Member of IY (UK) for a minimum of three years.
  • Written recommendation from your regular teacher to confirm the above.
  • A knowledge of and practical familiarity with the Level 1 syllabus (a copy of which is available from your Iyengar Yoga teacher).
  • Regular practice at home. You will need to dedicate at least one hour a day to your own practice throughout the length of the course.

Qualification gained: Level 1 Teaching Certificate of the Iyengar Yoga Association of the UK, IY(UK).

Objectives of mentoring:

Learn to teach by:

  • Developing clarity and simplicity of instruction
  • Showing good performance in demonstrating
  • Showing sharpness and awareness in observation
  • Achieving control and safety of a class
  • Learning to teach Sirsasana and Sarvangasana and to be able to lift students into these asanas

The objectives of the Level 1 Teacher Training Course are to improve one’s own practice by:

  • Showing a good understanding of the postures
  • Showing good presentation and alignment
  • Demonstrating precision and steadiness

Recommended literature:

  • Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar
  • Light on Pranayama by BKS Iyenegar
  • Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by BKS Iyengar

Further levels

After obtaining the Level 1 certificate, teachers may wish, in due course, to prepare for higher level qualifications at the level 2, 3 & 4. Level 1 teachers must wait at least eighteen months before presenting themselves for  Level 2 assessment and it is recommended that this period be extended to three or four years in all but exceptional cases. MDIY currently offers weekend teacher development events for those wishing to prepare for Level 2, 3 & 4.

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