We are happy that the Yoga for Sitters Series was a success! Check out some highlights written by on of 2nd year students Theresa Marks:

“Thanks to IYISF and San Francisco Zen Center for making Yoga for Sitters a success! Mentored by Faculty member Shosan Victoria Austin and taught by 2nd year IYISF students James Terburg, Ruchi Murlidhar and myself, this six week series of classes introduced students to a wide variety of yoga poses that built strength, flexibility, and composure for seated practices.

     “This was quite a fortunate situation for all!” said James Terburg, “Victoria is a crucial link between these two warm, loving communities and one that will increasingly benefit students near and far. The San Francisco Zen Center provides an auspicious space where students and instructors feel safe and relaxed. The students provide the essential community support to the instructors-in-training, who also feel the support of Victoria, an exemplar of compassion through her spontaneous response to student needs and skillful application of the techniques found within Iyengar Yoga. This created an excellent overall environment for students and instructors-in-training! What an experience to feel I could really explore the skills learned at IYISF with genuine students and with the safety of a qualified teacher nearby! Thank-you to the San Francisco Zen Center, thank-you to Shosan Victoria Austin, and especially thank-you to the students! Keep practicing!”

    Ruchi Murlidhar agreed that this supportive environment fostered deep learning: “What an enriching teaching experience I have had… I felt for the first time that I could plan the whole class, from creating the sequence and theme, to preparing and executing it for students with different physical challenges. I could achieve all this in a safe environment for first-time teachers and under the supervision and guidance of a wonderful and compassionate teacher and friends.”


Ruchi sitting in front of the Buddha at the Zen Center


     Students in the classes were enthused and appreciative as well. “These classes were a great introduction to yoga” said student Cheryl Morgan. “I was afraid my physical limitations wouldn’t allow me to keep up, but modifications and clear instructions were offered that allowed me to access different versions of the poses without holding the rest of the class back. At the same time, I could see how practicing might make some of those final versions possible and that was encouraging. All in all these classes were a great experience!”

      Victoria Austin described this collaborative experience as the essence of B.K.S. Iyengar’s vision: “Three pillars of teaching practice are your own practice, the example of your teacher, and learning by doing. Guruji once said that in the beginning, you should pay your students, because you learn from them how to teach. The purpose of this program is to provide a safe, supervised venue for trainees to teach real students, and to receive feedback that nourishes their growth. This is how Manouso so generously trained me decades ago, so naturally I want to pass on the gift to a new generation.”

     Mission accomplished Victoria! Thanks to everyone involved, we are more inspired than ever to share the gift of Iyengar Yoga with the world!”

-Theresa Marks 

The Iyengar Yoga Institute recently celebrated 40 years of excellence in yoga education with that said we are excited to welcome the 2014 applicants. The last day to submit your application is Friday, November 14th! As we are recognized by Yoga Alliance, 2014 IYISF Teacher Training applicants are still eligible to apply for the Yoga Alliance scholarship program until November 7th!

We wanted to take the time showcase some more personal views from a faculty and alumni perspective on our Teacher Training program.

Victoria Austin: IYISF Faculty

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Victoria Austin is apart of the Faculty of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. She has studied yoga for over 30 years.

We asked Victoria: What do you enjoy most about Teaching in IYISF’s Teacher Training Program? 

“Guruji wanted us all to help each other to properly represent his teaching in our communities. In my training teachers, I can see his practice and hear his voice; in the trainees I can support the seed of intention to take root and grow.

Teaching in the program gives me the opportunity to study and refine how I follow the teachings. Truly, Guruji’s example opens Patanjala Yoga — healing for the layers of the body, language for expression, and yoga for the direct experience of life. It makes me happy to give back even a fraction of the priceless gifts that Guruji has given me, both directly through his actions, and indirectly, through the expression of my own training teachers.” 

Tessa Manning: IYISF Alumni


We also asked Tessa Manning, a graduate of IYISF’s Teacher Training program and now a certified Iyengar teacher:
How did the Teacher Training program helped you prepare for passing assessment and what the process of passing assessment was like? 
“When signing up for the teacher training program I knew I wanted to be a certified Iyengar teacher but had no idea how I was going to get there. The first year of the program gave me the tools to feel confident enough to start to teach free classes at my home. The program really stressed the need, to just start teaching!! So that is what I did. With the guidance of the wonderful teachers there my first year in the program I was already an ok yoga teacher.
The 2nd year is when it really came together. This is the year we got to teach in class a lot. The constructive feedback and criticism from our teachers pushed us to grow and learn as teachers SO FAST! Not only are the teachers in the program unbelievable yoga teachers; they are amazing teachers on how to teach! By the beginning of the 2nd year with the help of my mentor I applied to go up for Intro 1 at the end of the year (I was the only one in my class).

Studying for Intro 1 while being in the training went hand and hand, and I can say the program along with my apprenticeship prepared me 100% for Intro 1. And I passed! 

After graduation I knew I would go for Intro 2 the following year. A lot of this material was covered in teacher training and the material that was not, I learned on my own and with the help of my mentor and study group. Intro 2 was much more demanding, but with the confidence the teacher training instilled in me I passed! I certainly owe my passing of assessments to IYISF and my mentors, Heather Haxo Phillips and Kathy Alef. “