Writing Our Histories

Asked if the U.S. should launch a national Iyengar Yoga association, participants at the Yoga 90 Convention in San Diego responded—resoundingly—yes! The next year, in July 1992, IYNAUS was formally incorporated as a nonprofit; its first board elections followed later that year.

But before there was a national association, Iyengar Yoga regional associations led the way in spreading the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar and the Iyengar family across the United States. The first groups were formed in California—in San Francisco in 1976 and in Southern California in 1977, with hubs in Los Angeles and San Diego, where the next national convention will be held in May 2013. Over time other regional associations were formed. Through the years some waned, then re-emerged with new enthusiasm and a new sense of mission, including New England (which sponsored the first regional conference in 2009), Northwest, Intermountain, Southwest (the “youngest” regional), and Midwest (home of last year’s regional conference). Southeast hosted this year’s regional conference in May. This year, two associations celebrate 25th anniversaries: the largest association, Greater New York, and the Minnesota association.

Following the guidelines of the Pune Constitution, IYNAUS changed its bylaws so that its board is directly elected by the regions. Now, more than ever, the regional associations are the backbone of Iyengar Yoga in the U.S.

IYNAUS requested each regional association to write a history of itself. Times change, and what seems like “just yesterday” may be decades ago and on the way to being forgotten. Where we’ve come from as regional and national communities is the starting point for our continuing mission. Part of that mission is preserving the history of Iyengar Yoga for the next generation.

—Richard Jonas