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Yoga the Iyengar Way

“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit the broken pieces together” 

– B.K.S. Iyengar : “Light on Life”

The rope wall and props at Santosha Yoga Burlington: yoga the Iyengar way.
The natural light-filled Santosha Yoga Burlington studio. Davina Parkinson, Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher is leading a class.

In an interview with Yoga Journal at the age of 90 Guruji was asked "What is Iyengar yoga?"


He answered:  I myself do not know [laughs]. People, for convenience’s sake, brand my practice as Iyengar Yoga. I just try to get the physical body in line with the mental body, the mental body with the intellectual body, and the intellectual body with the spiritual body, so they are balanced. Each asana has an optimum line or position. From the head to the foot, from the front to the back, from the right to the left—without deviation, without distortion. Beyond that, I don’t think I’ve done anything. It’s just pure traditional yoga, from our ancestors, from our gurus, from Patanjali.”

Yoga Master B.K.S. Iyengar practised and taught yoga for over 80 years. He developed an understanding of the human body, its energy and purpose which became famous through his books. Published in 1964 “Light on Yoga” has become the gold standard for yoga worldwide. 

Training to become an Iyengar teacher is a rigorous task. Certification demands precise standards of personal practice, deep understanding of prescribed asanas (poses), and the ability to clearly demonstrate them.

It was Mr. Iyengar, known as Guruji, to whom we owe the development and correct use of props. Chairs, blocks and straps enable anyone to benefit from the practice, regardless of physical condition or experience. His creativity introduced the rope wall, the back bender and many more specifically designed supports so students could spend more time in the asanas.

Although yoga in the Western world now is recognised under many varied labels, Guruji’s insistence that consciousness and sensitivity be part of our practice remains the basis of the teaching. He used the term Raja Yoga since Iyengar students are asked not only to practice the physical positions, but to widen their understanding by studying the “Yoga Sutra”. This document, written about 1,500 years ago, is a collation of the knowledge of yoga at that time. The author Patanjali explored the “nature of yoga, consciousness and the human condition” as Guruji describes it, explaining “the relationship between the natural world and the innermost and transcendent soul”. Do we want to be free of suffering in this life? Study how through these aphorisms.

Bibliography ( highlights )
Light on Yoga
Light on Pranayama
Light on the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
Tree of Yoga
Light on Life


The Instructors


Training to become an Iyengar yoga teacher is a rigorous task. Certification demands precise standards of personal practice, deep understanding of prescribed asanas (poses), and the ability to clearly demonstrate them. Davina Parkinson is the owner and senior instructor at Santosha Yoga.

Davina Parkinson, Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and owner of Santosha Yoga Burlington.

Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher

2024 will be the 25th year of my immersion in yoga practice. During that time I was officially certified as an Iyengar Yoga Teacher and taught classes at multiple locations around Halton and Toronto. Making a commitment to the Iyengar tradition means a continuing study of the practice and its philosophy, which is my great joy. From Francois Raoult in Rochester, New York, to my current mentor Mahyar Raz in Toronto, through injury and recovery, I have been blessed by contact many with senior Iyengar teachers who have brought light to my yoga practice.

I was given the opportunity to take over the Yoga Centre in downtown Burlington, in 2018, and changed the name to Santosha, the Sanskrit word for contentment, a goal many of us strive to reach.

My students and I survived the interesting challenge of the pandemic in the Brant Street location, then in 2021 I moved the studio to the present space on Fairview Street, where the Santosha community continues.

Madeline Grady, beginner yoga teacher at Santosha Yoga Burlington.

Madeline Grady

Foundations for Beginners Teacher

Having practised general Hatha yoga and Astanga Vinyasa since the early 2000’s, Madeline continued to search for the method which suited her best. This curiosity eventually led her to Davina and the Iyengar tradition. Having passed a 300-hour teacher training course in 2017 under Davina’s mentorship she began teaching her own classes armed with the Iyengar principles of alignment and safe technique. Her Beginner classes at Santosha make full use of props to bring clarity and understanding even to those totally new to yoga practice.

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