The Iyengar Institute of San Francisco (IYISF) strives to create and uphold a safe space for the learning, practice, study, and teaching of yoga according to the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar and family. IYISF and its teachers are committed to protecting the safety, autonomy, and dignity of students and sustaining a welcoming learning environment.
All of the IYISF teachers, staff, and Board members have completed mandatory sexual harassment awareness and prevention training. IYISF also formulated and implemented a “IYISF Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Prevention Policy” for IYISF teachers, staff, and Board members. Three IYISF teacher meetings were held to review new ethical guidelines published by the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS) effective January 1, 2020.
Teacher Ethical Standards and Guidelines
The ethical standards and guidelines published by IYNAUS govern all Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers (CIYTs) who are members of IYNAUS. The IYNAUS ”Ethical Standards and Considerations” prohibit sexual harassment, retaliation, and other abusive practices. The IYNAUS ”Ethical Guidelines to Prevent Verbal Abuse, Sexual Harassment and Physical Abuses,” implement the standards. CIYTs agree to follow the ethical guidelines.
Physical Adjustments and Consent
We particularly want to bring your attention to important new changes with respect to physical adjustments and consent. Section V of the IYNAUS “Ethical Guidelines to Prevent Verbal Abuse, Sexual Harassment and Physical Abuses” includes:
- Physical Adjustments are a critical feature of Iyengar Yoga teaching. Whether they are made through the medium of a prop or directly through hands-on adjustment, physical adjustments teach correct actions and can prevent and address injuries.
- Your affirmative informed consent must be obtained by the CIYT prior to a physical adjustment. You must be informed where the touch can occur and affirmatively consent to it. Your consent cannot be assumed by the CIYT or inferred by the omission to opt out of receiving an adjustment.
- At any point, for any reason, you may withdraw your consent.
- Once trust is built and understanding is established between a CIYT and a student over a period of time, it may not be necessary to give consent prior to each adjustment.
- There may be situations where your safety is important, and touch may be required in that instant to prevent injury, if, for example, you are about to fall on another student or are falling in a dangerous way.
IYNAUS with its volunteer board and committees have worked diligently to enhance, develop, and implement the ethical standards, considerations, and guidelines. We urge you to read and familiarize yourself with these documents by navigating to the links above or to the “Ethics” tab at www.iynaus.org. A reference copy of the ethical guidelines will be available for you at the IYISF front desk.
Please be aware that IYNAUS is a national organization that is a distinct and separate entity from the Iyengar Yoga Association of Northern California (IYANC), which owns and operates the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco (IYISF).
If you believe that any teacher at IYISF has behaved inappropriately, we encourage you to take any of the following actions:
- If you are comfortable doing so, speak with the teacher directly.
- Speak directly with the IYISF Executive Director, Karen Woods, or contact via email.
- Submit a complaint with the IYNAUS Ethics Committee Chairperson using the Ethics Complaint Form.
IYISF will preserve confidentiality to the extent possible and will take adequate steps to ensure that you are protected from retaliation in the event of investigation.