Frequently Asked Questions

Background

Last fall, we began to explore the idea of opening an Iyengar Yoga Centre in Vancouver that would serve as a space for our community to learn, practice, and study together. Recognizing that establishing the centre would need to be a community effort, and would require financial support from the Association in the beginning, we conducted a survey among our members last December to gauge the receptivity towards this idea. A summary of the survey results, which were overwhelmingly positive, is below, along with a general update on steps that are being taken to realize this idea.

Survey Results

With 58 responses currently, the community survey reflects a heartwarming 95% in favour of establishing a Centre. Notably, half of the responses come from Certified Teachers, with three-quarters expressing interest in teaching at the Centre. Additionally, 38% of all respondents are eager to be part of the helping hands team, while 45% are considering it. The vast majority of teachers, 98%, welcome the idea of a Centre in the neighbourhood where they currently teach. Valuable advice and supportive comments in the survey offer guidance and confidence for our next steps.

Is establishing a Centre the responsibility of the association?

Yes, establishing a Centre aligns with a key responsibility outlined in our constitution, established in 1976. It states that one of our society’s purposes is to establish “a centre of instruction in Hatha Yoga and Pranayama, following the methods and orientation of B.K.S. Iyengar”.

Who is working on this?

Recognizing that the board alone couldn’t undertake this project, we’ve tasked a Stewardship Committee with leading the planning phases and reporting back to us. Any member of our association is welcome to join this committee. If you’re able to contribute time to regular online meetings, site visits, or other planning work, please email our Board President, Sharon Friesen.

To date, the committee has initiated a search for rental spaces in the Vancouver area and has invited all association member Iyengar Yoga teachers to share their availability to teach at the centre upon its opening. Currently, 22 teachers have expressed interest in conducting regular classes there.

What sort of financial commitment is the Board making?

Through successful workshops and membership fees, the association has accumulated a surplus of $52,500. If conditions align favourably, including securing an ideal location, negotiating a feasible lease, and having qualified teachers prepared to instruct, the Board would allocate a portion of these funds towards establishing a physical space for Iyengar yoga practice and study. Our commitment remains focused on ensuring financial responsibility while meeting the needs of our community.

What is the Business Model going to be?

The business model is in development, focusing on a 12-month plan where monthly association investment gradually decreases to zero after the first year. A financial model incorporating key business parameters is being constructed to analyze various scenarios with different total rents. The goal is to determine a conservative estimate of the total investment required over the first 12 months and to gain a comprehensive understanding of how business parameters can be adjusted to sustain the Centre without relying on annual fundraising.

What is the investment for? Who benefits?

The investment benefits everyone – current and future students, all teachers, and the broader community. A Centre serves as a unifying hub, fostering cohesive harmony among the diverse spaces where Iyengar Yoga is practiced and taught across the Vancouver area. We deeply value the significance of practice within our system. As such, we’re integrating “open practice” sessions into the weekly schedule.

Regarding the investment, it covers monthly expenses. Over the initial 12 months, the Association’s investment will gradually decrease to zero, while the Teachers’ contribution to expenses will progressively increase. Initially, teachers might be supported 100% while they are building the classes. This approach aims to enhance the Centre’s likelihood of success and ensure its long-term viability.

I heard you have a real estate agent?

We’ve enlisted a real estate agent to help us explore rental properties and costs. However, we welcome any leads or suggestions from our community members. If you spot a suitable space for lease (approximately 800 – 1000 square feet), please reach out to us.

Wouldn’t it be better to own a building rather than to lease a space?

While owning a building may be a long-term goal aligned with our vision of providing a permanent home for Iyengar Yoga to flourish in the future, it typically requires considerable time and support from generous benefactors. Our current focus is on seeding an asset for the community by establishing a space where members can learn, practice, and study Iyengar Yoga together.