FRIDAY, JULY 22: A studio dedicated to the practice of Iyengar Yoga has opened at the Elbow Beach residents’ club.
The Club Yoga Centre was specially built in the new complex to house classes and Sadhanas (daily workshops).
It offers beginners’ to more advanced classes, all under the guidance of qualified instructors Sally Ker, Gary Holland and Erin Field.
All three have completed the rigorous four-year Iyengar Yoga teacher training programme and are engaged in continual professional development.
Mrs Ker however is probably better referred to as a yogi. She has been practicing and teaching Iyengar Yoga for the past 30 years.
“Yoga is all about bringing balance to the body, mind and soul,” said Mrs Ker.
“It’s a preventative medicine and a philosophy. It’s about raising your consciousness and being the best person you can be.
“It gives people a way to live their life physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
“And the more you stay with it, the more it percolates in, like water dripping on a rock.
“Yoga is about humility and how people can have a good soul. By building up a robust body and mind, this helps people through life.”
Mrs Ker started teaching Iyengar Yoga in Bermuda in 1997 on her return to the island after 33 years in Canada.
Having completed her teacher training and development at the Yoga Centre Toronto, she has made six trips to the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, India, to study with guru Sri BKS Iyengar, his daughter Geeta and son Pershant.
She holds the Intermediate certification, authorized by the Iyengar Yoga Association of Canada and Mr Iyengar himself.
Each Iyengar Yoga teacher must get their certificate revalidated annually in order to practice.
Mrs Ker explained Mr Iyengar has standardized what is taught at each level and his teaching certifications ensure that only those trained to his standards can use the Iyengar ‘trademark’.
“He is trying to keep his methodology and the use of his name pure,” she said.
She has taught at night classes across the island, community courses and at Bermuda College.
But in April she moved out of the church halls and into her own dedicated studio at the new Elbow Beach residents’ complex.
One of Mrs Ker’s long-term students, Christine Trott, is property manager for the condos at the resort.
“She was one of my very first students at Bermuda College and said she wanted to create a proper centre for us, rather than church halls,” said Mrs Ker.
“The studio is all new. It’s very clean and pristine.”
But while the classes may have vacated the church halls, Mrs Ker hopes to build her own ‘church’ in the new location.
She said: “People think yoga is a form of exercise but it really evolves into a spiritual practice.
“As this centre will be purely for yoga, over time a spiritual sense will build up in this studio as well, just like a cathedral.”
Mrs Ker said anyone can benefit from yoga, “whether they’re a pen pusher or an athlete”.
“People come with carpal tunnel syndrome or stiff shoulders, and it gives them more movement.”
Newcomers start with the six-class Foundations Programme and then progress to Level One, which refines basic poses. Ten one-hour classes are $180.
After a year students progress to Level Two, and onwards.
The centre also offers a lunch-hour class and sessions for prenatal women, seniors (over-55s), back care and special needs (that is, injuries, disorders, structural or joint difficulties). Mrs Ker said the therapeutic nature of Iyengar Yoga can “assist the body to heal itself”.
It can help people with spinal problems such as sclerosis or bulging, swollen discs, down to everyday aches and pains.
“Minor aches and pains and injuries can be eradicated and cured by this kind of work,” she said.
Mrs Ker hopes the centre will spread the teachings and benefits of Iyengar Yoga to a wider population.
“I just want to see the growth of Iyengar Yoga in Bermuda because it can serve people well in their lives,” she said.
To find out more, e-mail Sally Ker on email@example.com or call 236-5691.