Nestled amongst a thriving pot plant garden, in the midst of the clamour of the A2 traffic, there’s a corner of Deptford that invites us to search for an inner calm.
In stark contrast to the bustling south east London neighbourhood, the Iyengar Yoga Institute of South London, focuses on the traditional values and teaching of Iyengar Yoga.
Yoga has been the sole focus of this building for the past 22 years and it was inaugurated by B.K.S. Iyengar himself on December 14th 1995. Prior to that, the building was the home of the small New Cross Building Society and the building, which dates from 1866, makes an ideal yoga space.
As London yoga centres go, its peacefulness is rare, but welcomed by its loyal students who dedicatedly visit the Institute each week to practise Iyengar yoga.
Iyengar is a form of Hatha yoga that places emphasis on detail, precision and alignment of posture (Asana) and breath control (Pranayama). Through the use of props - such as belts, blocks and blankets – and with highly-qualified teachers, students can focus on exploring and improving their ability to perform the Asana.
As soon as you walk through the gate into the secluded patio garden, buffered from the traffic noise with the foliage and flowers from the dozens of potted plants, and in through the doors of this old building, you at once feel a sense of calm and tranquillity.
Don’t underestimate the value of a purpose-built space in getting the most out of yoga practice. The Iyengar Yoga Institute of South London is a dedicated space, which envelopes you with its stillness as soon as you enter. The props, so essential to Iyengar teaching, are ready and waiting in their correct places and its walls are adorned with inspirational pictures of B.K.S. Iyengar in the full range of asana.
The Institute’s community is friendly and grounded. They appreciate both the teaching and this unique space. Many students contribute their skills to help with the running of the Institute and students treat it as somewhere they care about, not just somewhere they go for a yoga class.
At the end of last year, Marion Sinclair took over management of the Institute and she has plans to enrich the programme, increasing and broadening the use of the Institute to make it a hub for Iyengar Yoga students and teachers in South London introducing new teachers, workshops and events.
For the current community of students and teachers who currently use this Deptford yoga centre, it is a well-kept secret. For those interested in yoga across south east London, it is a hidden gem that is worth discovering.