Each New Year offers another chance for renewal, self-improvement, and change.  It is also a time of reflection, an opportunity to look back and honor the year that we just lived.

Make your New Year special by celebrating with Nora Burnett on January 1st, 2014.  For over 20 years, Nora has been hosting a yoga class with community chai afterwards on New Year’s day. 

Nora gave us a few words on what this tradition means to her:

“New Year’s Day  for me has always signified a time of starting fresh, of  affirming  what’s central, what nourishes health , life,  and speaks to my heart – it all starts with yoga practice! Just as each day we pull out some props and approach the mat with a beginner’s mind (how is Downward Dog today?), each year marks another entry point.

While resolutions have never worked for me, I do find myself reflecting in the solstice time of the year.  It’s wonderful to spend time with friends and family, sharing stories, ideas, food. And to have some time to be quiet,  to go dormant.  As it is throughout the year, Yoga practice is at its basic essence a touchstone, a grounding influence, a source of continual renewal, change and growth, and further a  means to understand more deeply our own true nature and interconnectedness.   In practice, the intention is to honor the inspiration of the teachings and all that Iyengar Yoga is,  as it continues to radiate forth from Guruji and his family,  into the world .

 In terms of the holidays, New Year’s Day is the beginning of the end of what’s often a busy social season.  For over 20 years now, I’ve made my way out to Taraval and 27thon the morning of January 1 and had a long practice at the Institute , followed by teaching the annual New Year’s day  two hour class.  It’s a personal tradition and commitment I look forward to , and students who’ve come (some for many years) find it to be a great way to honor the new year. The class starts at 12, so late night revelers can get some rest in the morning. The class balances working more energetically in the first part, with a long section of inversions and supported poses to restore and gather the scattered energy of the holidays back into focus.  There’s time after class to visit and share some chai. Hope to See you there!” – Nora Burnett

 Sign up here for Nora’s New Years Day workshop!


Happy 95th Birthday Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar


It is tradition here at The Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco to host a celebration in honor of B.K.S Iyengar‘s birthday and this year year it was no different!

Saturday, December 14, 2014 was Guruji’s 95th Birthday, and the Institute went all-out to honor the man who has given the foundation and inspiration that the Institute is built upon.

With the help of everyone including benefit workshops, we are so happy to report that we raised over $10,000 towards the Capital Campaign! This puts us 80% towards our Phase 1 goal of raising $225,000 by March 2014. Thank you so much to everyone who came to celebrate with us and for all of your ongoing support.

The celebration was held at Vinyl Coffee and Wine Bar, an intimate café located in the lower Haight. The party immediately followed Ana-Mari Hamada’s event of 108+ Surya Namaskars to Guruji , which took place at the Yoga Loft, just up the street from Vinyl.


Over a hundred people arrived to celebrate Guruji’s birthday and continue to support the Institute in its Capital Campaign for relocation.  A big draw of the event was the opportunity to bid on wooden props at the silent auction; this was a chance for many to get custom-made props that were originally made for the Institute. Rosie Richardson who made the winning bid on a set of ropes said, “twas a lovely event!”

While the event was a fundraiser, the mood in the air radiated “celebration”. Friends of the Institute, new and old, were able to catch-up, enjoy yummy snacks, honor Guruji, and have a genuinely good time.  It was also a great opportunity for students and teachers of the institute to socialize and enjoy each other’s company in a social environment. This event truly brought the entire community closer together as a whole, and brought a new energy to the Institute’s Capital Campaign.

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Even those not in attendance were able to enjoy “I called my fiance to tell him what an amazing party it was and said I would share my commemorative Ganesha key chain with him from the goody bag. He said, ‘just one of the many side benefits of being with a yoga teacher‘ said Nikki Chau, AS/TT student.

vinyl6The event’s program featured a welcoming and expression of gratitude for Guruji and how much he means to the IYISF community by teacher, Cynthia Bates and an entertaining slideshow by student Wolfgang Taft of his journey by motorcycle to the steps of sacred Mt. Kailash in Tibet. Followed by a short speech by Dan Pelsinger, a newcomer to IYISF and to yoga as a whole, and how it has already changed his life so much in a short period of time. And a relocation update from our fearless leader, President of the Board John Hayden. Additionally, Julian Borrego, a student at the Institute, provided us with beautiful guitar playing and singing throughout the event.