How to become a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher?

My family house used to be in Pune, Maharashtra, India the same town where the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI), the “heart and soul of Iyengar Yoga” is located.  Back in 1993, while visiting my grand-aunts in Pune, I pick up the phone and called the RIMYI.  I wanted to take a class with B.K.S Iyengar himself, or at least one of the teachers at the institute.  How naïve!  I was promptly told that if I was to take a class at the institute, I had to appear with a note signed by a certified Iyengar yoga teacher (CIYT), saying that I have been consistently practicing Iyengar yoga for over a year.

I was not qualified to attend a class at RIMYI back then in 1993, and 22 years later as a Hatha Yoga Teacher, I am still not qualified…

I have always been drawn to Iyengar yoga, the detailed instruction, the strictness and experience of the teachers, the adjustments, and the use of props.  During my short stays in Mumbai, visiting family, I would always try to attend a few Iyengar yoga classes.  Besides that, finding a certified Iyengar yoga teacher whose classes I could consistently attend, has not been easy.

In Panama City, we have been lucky to have Alejandra Trossero an Introductory Level II certified Iyengar teacher at Fusion Panama, for the last few years.  And now, Peggy Kelly the founding member of the Austin Iyengar Institue, leading a retreat from December 1-3 at Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat in San Carlos.

Introductory Level II?  Junior Intermediate III?  What does all of this mean?

These are the different certification levels for certified Iyengar teachers, they are:

  • Introductory I and II
  • Junior Intermediate I,II and III
  • Senior Intermediate I, II and III
  • Junior Advanced I, II and III
  • Senior Advanced I and II

The minimum qualifications to start an Iyengar Teacher Training is:

  • You need to be a student of Iyengar Yoga for a minimum of 3 years.
  • You are expected to attend a least 3 classes a week and should have a daily practice.
  • Be judged by a teacher to see if you are apt to start teacher training.

Once you qualify, your training lasts 2 years!

After 1 year of training, you can appear for the Introductory Level I examination.

And after 1 more year, you can appear for the Introductory Level II examination.

You are qualified to teach only after passing the introductory level II examination.  If you want to continue to the next level, Junior Intermediate you will need to teach for 18 months at this level before being able to take the next assessment…

The Junior Intermediate certification is divided into 3 levels, after which a teacher is certified to teach intermediate level classes.

You could have the necessary time practicing, but as the bksiyengar.com site states:  “It is not just the “time” or “years” of practice that makes one eligible for a particular certification but the “quality” of practice.”

Peggy Kelly with BKS Iyengar

Wow!  What rigorous training!  And what an honor and great opportunity to have Peggy Kelly – who began her study of Yoga in the late ’60s in Cambridge, Massachusetts, having since studied with Senior Yoga teachers in Europe, Canada, and the US. In India, Peggy has studied with B.K.S., Geeta, and Prashant Iyengar, and other Yoga masters. – here in Panama!

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