News from the Regions

Convention and conference planning from the West to the East Coasts has been occupying several regional associations. Others are finding ways to serve their local communities with workshops, outreach, research, and community-building events. If your regional association has news to share, please contact Regional Support Chair Leslie Freyberg.

IYANW: Northwest

Activities in the Northwest revolve primarily around the 2010 Convention to be held in Portland, Oregon. Co-chair Julie Lawrence hopes that all teachers plan to attend not only to benefit from the teachings of Geeta Iyengar, but also to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Twice yearly, IYANW awards scholarships to further the study of its members. Michelle Downing, recipient of this winter's scholarship, applied the funds toward a workshop with Rebecca Lerner at Sunset Yoga in Portland.

Students and friends of the Boise Yoga Center recently held a benefit sale for Kiva.org. This international nonprofit allows donors to select an entrepreneurial organization in the developing world and to donate specifically to it. Everyone donated clothing for the sale, shoppers paid an entrance fee, and all proceeds went to Kiva.org. Organizer Vickie Aldridge said, "It makes sense to pool our money together and help someone out in a bigger way."

IYASE: Southeast

Kimberly Williams presented her research on Iyengar Yoga therapy for low back pain last October in Mumbai at a scientific conference organized in honor of Guruji's 90th birthday.

Siegfried Bleher will present a poster and a preconference workshop entitled "Transforming Consciousness through the Practice of Yoga" in Hong Kong from June 11 through 14. The conference, Toward a Science of Consciousness 2009: Investigating Inner Experience-Brain, Mind, Technology, is organized by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, MERECL, and the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona.

IYAGNY: Greater New York

On the weekend of February 13-15, the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York family of teachers, students, and friends alike gathered for a celebration of the amazing life of Mary Dunn. Mary passed away last September after a brave and inspiring year-plus battle with peritoneal cancer. People came from far and wide to see slides and videos and to share memories, tears, and laughter. Each day celebrated her presence in a yoga class given by wonderful Iyengar teachers Laurie Blakeney, Chris Saudek, George Purvis, Mary Reilly, and Patricia Walden. Leslie Freyberg led a beautiful, healing chanting session to close the extraordinary event.

Institute teacher Tori Milner described the experience this way: "It was powerful and poignant to see her face on screen, to hear her voice in the incredible interview she gave near the end of her life, and to genuinely feel her presence in the room as we honored her life and the things she loved most, from yoga to strawberry ice cream.

"As the weekend progressed, I realized how sad I felt about our loss of Mary, but how much richer we all are because of her influence. I was reminded of watching her speak last July (her last visit to the Institute) at Guru Purnima and how she said so eloquently that it is the teachings that live on."

In honor of Mary, IYAGNY has begun The Mary Dunn Fund. All proceeds from the celebration weekend were allocated to that fund to help continue to spread the teachings of yoga that B.K.S. Iyengar so generously shared with Mary Palmer, who inspired her daughter, Mary Dunn, to follow suit.

IYASC: San Diego

The May Movie Night at the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Center of La Mesa began with a potluck dinner and ended with a showing of Leap of Faith. This recently made film about B.K.S. Iyengar was shown first at his birthday celebrations.

IYAMW: Midwest

The ad hoc committee continues working to revive the Midwest region's association. Voting for the Board of Directors will take place in the summer. Anyone interested in being a member of the Midwest Region is urged to join as soon as possible to be able to vote. It is our hope to have the new board voted in by the end of the year, and with that board, to begin on the road to a strong and established region. The regional association will bring more cohesiveness in information for students and teachers of Iyengar Yoga, fundraisers and events to benefit the local community through Iyengar Yoga, possibilities for teacher trainings and workshops to serve the entire area better, and much, much more. For information, contact Jennie Williford, Acting President, at iyamw@iynaus.org.

IYAMN: Minnesota

The board set dates for the two Yoga Days in 2009, so mark your calendars: Sunday, July 12, to commemorate Guru Purnima, and Sunday, December 13, to celebrate B.K.S. Iyengar's birthday.

To enhance the yoga workshop experience for both teachers and students, a short paper was written for workshop participants by two certified Iyengar teachers and board members. The piece is a wonderful reminder of what it means to be a student of yoga. Please check it out at www.iyamn.org.

IYANE: New England

Although the Northeast is not yet an official region, many volunteers in the New England area have been working hard to plan the First Regional Conference of Iyengar Yoga, to be held in Providence, Rhode Island, in October 2009. This work has inspired the group to formalize into a regional association, The Iyengar Yoga Association of New England. When the conference work is complete, formalizing this association will be the group's next priority. Come to the conference and let us know if you are interested. See you in Providence.