Interested in becoming a certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher? You can use these Iyengar yoga study guides on your journey.
The Iyengar National Association of the United States publishes a Certification Manual each year by March 1 which lists the requirements for each level of teaching certification. (IYNAUS has stated that it plans to post at least some of the manual electronically, sometime soon.)
I completed certification when one had to complete two assessments to become a fully certified Iyengar yoga teacher. I made Iyengar yoga study guides for each level, formerly called Introductory I and Introductory II. As of Fall 2015, IYNAUS has retained the same materials but combined them into a single assessment. You can use the study guides below to help prepare yourself for assessment.
I’ve taken the requirements for certification and created two week-by-week study guides, which I’m posting here. The study guides can be used individually or a group can go through them together and support each other. Start your study at any time that is convenient for you simply by modifying the dates in the guides. Part I covers 43 weeks and Part II covers 34 weeks. Note that recommendation forms must be given to your 2 recommending teachers before April 1, and that assessment applications must be postmarked on or before May 1.
Why am I posting these Iyengar yoga study guides? 3 reasons:
1. We can help each other. I hope you find the guide useful and that we make it more useful by providing feedback to each other.
2. I’d rather post it than have each of us reinvent the wheel. At least this is a place to start, and we can each modify to our specific needs.
3. The more people teaching Iyengar yoga and doing so well, the better.
Here is the Part I study guide in WORD: IYENGAR Introductory 1 WEEKLY SELFSTUDY 2012 [Word] (updated 30NOV2012)
and as a .pdf file: IYENGAR Introductory 1 WEEKLY SELFSTUDY 2012 [.pdf] (updated 30NOV2012)
Note: the 30 November 2012 update of the Study Guide incorporates the readings from Basic Guidelines for Teachers of Yoga into the study guide (Units 20 to 42) and corrects some minor typographical errors.
The guide is a table with 4 columns:
- # = study unit (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, …..)
- Week = calendar dates during which to complete the designated study unit
- Tasks = readings to be done during the study unit
- Asanas and Pranayamas = asana and/or pranayama to be learned or practiced during the study unit
I’ve included all of the materials over 43 weeks. (I allowed time I already know is designated for vacations or holidays. If you modify the weeks in the study guide to suit yourself, be sure to plan for down time). The study guide can also be used over double the time by simply allowing two weeks per # study unit.
I design adult learning courses as part of my living, and am a trained, professional coach. I’ve used what I know about how we learn well to design these Iyengar yoga study guides. For example, the tasks are listed ONE PER LINE because that way we get to check off each task as we accomplish it. This helps create well-being and keep us moving. I’ve included specific dates during which study units are to be completed, so I know I’m on task and on target. I’ve also used lots of review to make it easier to learn the material. And I’ve included multiple learning modalities, eg not just reading, but recording ourselves, listening to chanting, practice, and more, to help the materials to stick.
Demonstrated_Practice. As an additional aide, I’ve recorded a timed practice of the asanas for Part I as listed on page 21 of the 2012 Certification Manual. The Manual states that during the Demonstrated Practice of Asanas, “[s]tanding asanas will be held 30-60 seconds per side. [Sirsasana and] Sarvangasana will be held up to five minutes each, variations in Sarvangasana 30 to 60 seconds each.” Manual at 44. The Manual also states: “Build up your practice of the asanas on your syllabus and previous syllabi to the length of time plus half again the time recommended in Light on Yoga.” Manual at 45. Based on this guidance, I’ve recorded a one hour and fifteen minute practice that covers the asanas for Introductory I. Asanas, such as Tadasana, which have just one “side” are timed for 90 seconds. Asanas with two sides, such as Vrksasana, are timed for 60 seconds per side, with a bell marking the time to switch sides. Prep time is given before Sarvangasana, and Sarvangasana is held for 5 minutes, variations for 90 seconds each, and then a short rest period after. Pranayamas are not included with this recording.
You can download the recording here: Introductory_I_Asanas_Timed_rev1 (30NOV2012)
Note: The timed recording was updated on 30 November 2012 to remove the second (unnecessary) bell after siddhasana and to add additional bells after parvatasana in suhkasana to allow time to practice left and right interlock of the fingers with both the left and right cross of the legs.
The study guide includes page numbers. Your page numbers may differ if you are using different versions of the required readings. I’ve included here a picture of the books I used. In addition to these books, once we submit our assessment application, we can purchase the Basic Guidelines for Teachers of Yoga from IYNAUS. The certification manual says to read the entire book but concentrate on certain portions. Check the most recent certification manual for specifics.
Also, I include in the study guide listening to instructional chanting of the sutras. I am using Neel Kulkarni’s Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Book w/ 2 set Summary DVDs and 2 Audio Chanting CDs. I also know there is one app for the IPhone, called Patanjali, that has audio for the sutras. If you know of others, please let us all know via your comments.
I created a study guide for Part II based on the materials in the 2013 IYNAUS Certification Manual. In addition, I’ve included materials from the new books Yoga in Action Intermediate Course I by Geeta Iyengar and Core of the Yoga Sutras by B.K.S. Iyengar. The guide covers all of the material over 34 weeks.
Here is the Part II study guide in WORD: Intro_II_IYENGARWEEKLYSELFSTUDY2013 (.docx)
Here is the Intro. II Study Guide as a a downloadable .pdf:
I’ve created a template for the Asana Study Card for use in completing the work outlined in the Study Guide, rather than list the same components over and over in the guide. Here is an Asana Study Card Template .pdf template. Here is the study card template in WORD: AsanaStudyCardTemplate (.docx).
Here is a Study Card Sample – Viloma.
The Card adds a new section, not previously included for Part I, called Main Joint Movements. This section is to answer Question 9: Main joint movements in the asanas on your syllabus on the Intro. II Syllabus under Required Knowledge. Basic Guidelines at 114 lists the 3 main types of joints.
I’ve found two of the most useful anatomy references to be Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews’ book Yoga Anatomy 2nd Edition,
and Ray Long’s 4 Yoga Mat Companion books:
- Vinyasa Flow and Standing Poses
- Hip Openers and Forward Bends
- Backbends and Twists
- Arm Balances and Inversions
Both include specific sections listing the joint movements in an asana.
There are also some interesting apps that are useful. For example, FAMIShoulder covers shoulder movements, and the same company makes apps for hips, knees, and elbows. If you know of other useful aids, let me know and I’ll add them to this list.
I’ve made a timed practice recording (2 hours 2 minutes) which covers the asanas for Part II, including those from Part I listed as most likely to be tested at higher levels: IntroII_Asana_Practice Recording.
The timings are usually double the time Guruji recommends in Light on Yoga. Here is the sequence with approximate timings (s = seconds, m=minutes):
- Uttanasana – 30s
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (AMS) (with support) – 2m
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – 60s
- Chaturanga Dandasana – 60
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – 60s
- AMS – 2m
- Uttanasana – 30s
- Garudasana – 40s per sid
- Parighasana (from Intro. I) – 60s per side
- Parivrtta Trikonasana – 60s per side
- Utthita Parsvakonasana (from Intro. I) – 60s per side
- Parivrtta Parsvakonasana – 60s per side
- Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana – 40s per side
- Parsvottanasana – 60s per sid
- Virabhadrasana I (from Intro. I) 60s per side
- Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana I with support – setup + 60s per side
- Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana I without support – 30s per side
- Virabhadrasana III – 60s per side
- Prasarita Padottanasana I – 30 concave / 60 convex
- Salamba Sirsasana I (against wall & with ropes) – setup + 5m
- Paripurna Navasana – 60s
- Ardha Navasana – 60s
- Salabasana – 60s
- Makarasana – 60s
- Dhanurasana – 60s
- Bhujangasana I – 40s
- Ustrasana – 60s
- Urdhva Dhanurasana on chair – setup + 3 reps at 30s per rep
- Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana on chair – setup + 5m
- Supta Padangustasana I – 40s per side
- Supta Padangustasana II – 40s per side
- Janu Sirsasana – 60s per side
- Marichyasana I – 30s twist + 60s forward per side
- Paschimottanasana – 3m
- Malasana I – 60s head up, 60s head down
- Salamba Sarvangasana I – setup + 5m
- Eka Pada Sarvangasana – 40s per side
- Parsvaika Pada Sarvangasana – 40s per side
- Halasana – 5m
- Parsva Halasana – 60s per side
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana from Salamba Sarvangasana – 60s
- Bharadvajasana I – 60s per side
- Bharadvajasana II – 60s per side
- Marichyasana III – 60s per side
- Ardha Matsyendrasana I (with support) – 60s per side
- Supta Virasana – 5m
- Baddha Konasana – 60s
- Supta Baddha Konasana – 5m
- Upavista Konasana – 60s
- Svasana – 10m
In addition to knowing the materials in these Iyengar yoga study guides, each of us also need to have the required training and apprenticeship hours with the appropriate level of certified Iyengar teacher. Check the latest IYNAUS Certification Manual to find out more.
All the best as you continue your journey.
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