Ann Kilburtus has been a student and yoga teacher at the Iyengar Yoga Centre for many years. This year makrs 100 years since the the birth of the practice’s founder, B.K.S. Iyengar, and the studio is celebrating. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

Ann Kilburtus has been a student and yoga teacher at the Iyengar Yoga Centre for many years. This year makrs 100 years since the the birth of the practice’s founder, B.K.S. Iyengar, and the studio is celebrating. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

BODY AND MIND: Founder of Iyengar yoga celebrated in Victoria

100 days of yoga events, readings will lead up to birthday of B.K.S. Iyengar

Victoria’s oldest yoga studio is celebrating the 100th birthday of its namesake.

B.K.S. Iyengar was an Indian man who taught yoga for 75 years, authored 20 books and trained teachers and students from over 40 countries around the world. In 2004, he was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential persons of the 21st century.

One of the late teachers’ students includes Ann Kilbertus, a Victoria woman who began practising in 1984.

ALSO READ: Recreation Oak Bay introduces men only yoga

“There was only Iyengar yoga at the time and I just did it because I liked it,” she recalled. “Your mind changes at the end of a class. It’s using the body to change the mind.”

Kilbertus was able to practise under Iyengar himself, both when he visited Canada in 1984 and during many trips she made to his school in India.

“He was mercurial,” she said. “He was sharp and if he walked into the room right now, you would be awake. there was something about him, he was a true genius and some of us couldn’t’ really understand what he was saying. Sometimes it would take 30 years to figure out what he was saying.”

In the 1980s, the only official place to practise yoga in Victoria was at the YMCA/YWCA, though a group formed to open the Victoria Yoga Centre in 1976.

They eventually opened the Iyengar Yoga Centre of Victoria in 2001, where it still sits at 202-919 Fort St.

“There’s a depth to it, there’s a rigour ,” Kilbertus said. “Iyengar had a saying, ‘yoga is for all.’ You can do this without even a mat … It’s for the young and old, the healthy and infirm, for different stages in life. So, it’s very versatile and adaptive, and that’s one of its big hallmarks.”

Iyengar passed away at age 95 in 2014 and practiced yoga until his last days. This year, the Iyengar Yoga Centre of Victoria is ready to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday.

ALSO READ: Kitten yoga combines cuteness, relaxation at fundraiser for B.C. animal group

Starting on Sept. 4 – 100 days out from his birthday on Dec. 4 – the centre will host free community classes and special readings from his books.

On his actual birthday, celebrations will run from 4 to 6 p.m. and include practice with Victoria’s senior Iyengar teacher, Shirley Daventry French, who practiced with Iyengar for many years and still teaches, well into her 80s. Special readings, demonstrations and refreshments will also be happening.

“It’s a path; you have to learn, you have to stumble, you have to get up,” Kilbertus said. “You need to find your way, but there’s so much to explore, it’s vast.”

To find out more, you can head to iyengaryogacentre.ca.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Yoga

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Ballet Victoria is honouring Rosemarie Liscum, the president of the board of directors who was instrumental in the building the dance company. Liscum died earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Ballet Victoria)
Rosemarie Liscum remembered as dedicated, instrumental builder of Victoria Ballet

The president of the ballet company’s board of directors died at the age of 59

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

A writer studying in England drew from her roots growing up in Sooke for a story that’s been short-listed for a prestigious international prize.
Former Sooke resident up for prestigious writing award

Cara Marks earns nomination for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Three Legged Dog Productions performed Jesus Christ Superstar in 2019. Tim Penney photo
Non-profit plans musical renaissance in the Comox Valley

Three Legged Dog Productions is preparing for a summer residency at Filberg Park

View Gallery curator Chai Duncan admires the work of graduating visual art student Hailin Zhang, one of the artists in the upcoming End Marks grad show. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU visual art grad show presented as virtual gallery tour due to COVID-19

‘End Marks’ exhibition is on display from April 29 to May 30

Most Read