Letter from the President

Dear Fellow IYNAUS Members,
Twenty years ago, the first steps were taken toward the creation of a national association for Iyengar Yoga in the United States. The organizers of the Yoga 90 Convention in San Diego circulated a questionnaire to the attendees, asking them to respond to the idea of a national association. The response was strongly in favor of creating an association that would help organize Pune intensives, put together a newsletter to facilitate communication throughout the American Iyengar community, develop a more centralized system for teacher training and certification, and begin work on a B.K.S. Iyengar archive. Perhaps most important, the new association would provide a voice for teachers and students throughout the country, especially in areas where no regional association existed. In July 1991, IYNAUS was formally recognized as a nonprofit corporation, and in 1992, the first elections were held for a national board of directors.

Since then, IYNAUS has continued to grow and to add more programs, including a national certification process for Iyengar teachers (begun in 1993); an IYNAUS store that sells Iyengar-related books, audio-visual materials, props, and other items; and a website that has become a central source of information on Iyengar Yoga. As we move into our third decade, we have more than 3000 members and nearly 700 certified teachers in 12 regions.

In my last letter, I focused on what was happening with the IYNAUS store, the website (iynaus.org), and the Yoga Research Committee. In this letter, I offer an update on current Iyengar Yoga conferences and conventions. Since 1984, a national Iyengar Yoga convention has been held every three years, most often with either Guruji or Geetaji attending. This May, a very important IYNAUS convention is being held in Portland, Oregon. Geetaji will be coming to teach certified teachers from the United States and from countries all around the world, and she will be sharing with us some of her profound knowledge of the therapeutic applications of yoga.

A new addition to the events sponsored by IYNAUS is the regional conferences, which are to be held in the years when an IYNAUS convention is not taking place. While Geetaji asked that this year's convention be limited to certified teachers, the conferences are open to teachers and students alike and to all levels of practitioner, including those who are not regular students of Iyengar Yoga. This past October, the first Regional Conference of Iyengar Yoga was held in Providence, Rhode Island. The conference was a great success, with 413 participants. At the same time, the New England conference served as a springboard for the creation of a new regional association: the Iyengar Yoga Association of New England (IYANE).

The next conference, to be held in September 2011 in Chicago, will be organized and hosted by the Iyengar Yoga Association of the Midwest and will be titled "From the Heartland." The mission of the conference will be "to share the clarity, artistry, depth, and discipline of Iyengar Yoga as a lifelong practice for body, mind, and spirit." The conference will be held at the historic Palmer House in downtown Chicago, which will provide an inspiring venue for participants. We are looking forward to this exciting event, and we will continue to provide updates as the details of the conference emerge.

I continue to gain satisfaction from serving the vibrant and talented Iyengar community as president. For those of you attending the Portland convention, there will be a members' meeting that I encourage you to attend. Also, this spring we will be holding elections to replace several members of the board whose terms are ending this year. I encourage all of you to participate in this election by filling out and returning your ballot.

Chris Beach, President
Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States