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Endings and Beginnings

Formation of Two Scottish Iyengar Yoga Institutes

June 12th was a hugely significant day for Iyengar Yoga in Scotland. Two new Institutes were established to represent Iyengar practitioners throughout the country. Teacher and student, new and old, now all those with an interest in Iyengar Yoga could, and hopefully will, be involved.

For over twenty years Iyengar Yoga has been supported by an active Teachers Association, the SSIYTA, and many people over the years have given time and energy to this organisation for which we are all very grateful. However with the development of IYA (UK), and the unification of LOYA & BKSIYTA this seemed the perfect opportunity for Scotland to also address the issue of involving students much more fully in the life of our yoga.

Last October the SSIYTA was formally dissolved and an Interim committee set up to implement the changes. It was quickly apparent that the best way to represent the Iyengar yoga community at the moment was to establish Institutes as our organizing bodies. Institutes would fit well with the national structure and be wholly involving for students and teachers alike. Having an East and West Institute would give members in the North, South and middle of Scotland a real choice. So, after battling with the intricacies of constitutions, sorting out bank accounts and searching (arm-twisting!!) for even more volunteers, June 12th was the day that the proposals were put to an open meeting of all Scottish members of IYA(UK). It proved a great meeting, with full and frank discussion for the way forward and, most importantly, unanimous votes on all issues.

With the establishment of Scotland’s two new Institutes the only thing to do was celebrate in style, and that is what we did. Margaret Austin, ably supported by husband Gordon, led a truly fantastic class. In the best of Iyengar style we explored the àsanas, sought a new understanding and took with us a fresh approach for further practice. The new Scottish Institutes are called the East of Scotland Iyengar Yoga Institute (ESIYI), and the Glasgow and West of Scotland Iyengar Yoga Institute (GWSIYI). It was unanimously agreed at the joint inaugural meeting on 12th June that £2000 be donated to the Bellur Trust. Thanks to all the hard work by the interim committee (Carol Brown, Helen Graham, Diane Clow & Neil Gillies) in delivering a successful outcome.

Helen Graham and Julia Graham write about Iyengar yoga in the West of Scotland

Glasgow and the West on of Scotland Iyengar Yoga Institute was formed on 12th June this year, but Iyengar yoga was first established m the area about 25 years ago by just a few dedicated teachers.

We just want to thank those early pioneers who laid the foundation on stones from which Iyengar yoga has been able to flourish.

Tom Yeudall and Doris Graham, the first teachers in Glasgow, trained with Bob and Cathy Weiham in Edinburgh. It was as a result of their efforts and dedication running classes as well as encouraging and inspiring others that more classes grew and Iyengar yoga started. In fact Tom and Doris were the first people from Glasgow to visit Pune when they went in the early 80’s.

Tom started teacher training himself and within a few years a group of Iyengar yoga teachers had formed. Calling themselves the West of Scotland Iyengar Yoga Group (WOSIYG) they met on Friday evenings to practise yoga, socialise and just support each other.

The group initially made up of Tom, Doris, Irene Phillips, Fiona Morton, Gwen McColl, and Carole Mackinnon, extended as more people trained to teach and events were organised. I remember my first experience of a large yoga day with Jeanne Moslem from Manchester as the guest teacher.

Through events promoting yoga and selling equipment money was raised. Therefore, when the group was formally closed this year most of the money raised was given to charity and I’m delighted to report that £500 is being sent to the Bellur fund to support Guruji’s work in India.

As a group we seldom meet today. However we are organising one last get together that I hope many of the original WOSIYG members can attend.

Finally, I feel Tom Yeudall deserves special thanks for training many of the Iyengar teachers in Glasgow and encouraging us so much in our yoga.

The opening of the new institute is just one more stepping stone on the path for Iyengar Yoga in Scotland and although we look forward to what the future will bring for the institute, we still are grateful to all of those involved in WOSIYG over the years who made this possible.

Published in IYN Autumn 2005

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