The Decline of Iyengar Yoga

There are many reasons for the rapid decline of Iyengar yoga. No doubt the global pandemic has contributed. For years it has been required that certified Iyengar yoga teachers (CIYTS) of a certain level travel to India to study with the Iyengar family, but not only has the global pandemic curtailed the travel to India, but the fact that both Geeta and BKS are gone has made the trip less desirable.

To me the downfall started with the advent of Iyengar yoga certification and Iyengar yoga teacher training. That’s when I noticed the power and greed of Iyengar senior teachers come to the surface. For many years the chair of the Iyengar yoga certification committee taught teacher trainings for certification. It was a well-known, unspoken rule among CIYTs that in order to pass the Iyengar yoga teacher certification assessment, you had to take her teacher training. Talk about a conflict of interest!

The different levels of Iyengar yoga certification mean nothing to the students who come to Iyengar yoga classes. It is only within the Iyengar yoga teaching community that the levels carry any weight, though it is no secret that some teachers at the highest certification have no ability to inspire and motivate and can’t attract students unless they travel to other locations.

After BKS Iyengar died in August 2014, Iyengar yoga teachers came out of the woodwork claiming to be anointed by him. BKS Iyengar was a talented master of yoga and a human being who fucked up like the rest of us, not some god-like figure to be worshipped. The Iyengar yoga community seems to be more obsessed with guru worship than the practice of yoga to benefit humanity.

After BKS Iyengar died, I noticed a proliferation of sanctimonious posts on social media by CIYTs. The high-minded, holier-than-thou approach does nothing but alienate people who might have otherwise come to class. The recent wave of trying to undo years of pandering to rich, white people is equally inauthentic.

Merging with Yoga Alliance has rendered Iyengar certification meaningless.

For those of you who have missed my posts. Thank you. My laptop broke and there is enough hypocrisy in the world without my pointing it out in the shriveling, stagnant world of Iyengar Yoga.

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