Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar yoga is a precise, systematic method of yoga as developed by B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India. The primary focus is on concentrated movements to fine tune the body and to increase mobility, stability, strength and alignment. The intense concentration draws the attention inward – quieting and integrating the mind and body. Iyengar yoga is yoga for health. It involves techniques for the well-being of both body and mind. At Yoga Centre Toronto the primary focus is on the disciplines of the postures or asanas, and the breath. These are taught under the guidance of certified teachers. One works at one’s own level with the postures. Asanas are introduced gradually and systematically, and eventually include standing poses, inversions, forward bends, backbends and twists, as well as positions for both quiet reflection and complete relaxation.

Properly understood and synchronized with the breath, these asanas help to exercise, strengthen, balance and cleanse every system of the body – musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, immune, digestive, nervous and respiratory. In doing so, the asanas calm and centre the mind. While yoga asana evolved to prepare the mind for meditation, it is also ideal for counteracting stresses of daily life. Further, the asanas may be adapted for all ages and levels of fitness. Iyengar yoga lends itself to special needs resulting from injury, illness and chronic disease.



Yoga Centre Toronto is a not for profit charitable organization.
Charitable Number: 12327-2023 RR0001

We are currently fundraising for our “Build The Future” of Iyengar Yoga campaign.

If you wish to donate to our campaign, contact us by phone at 416-482-1334 to pay with credit card. You may also send an E-Transfer to yoga@yogacentretoronto.ca, password: accesstoyoga (lc).

Checks can be mailed to the address above and made payable to Yoga Centre Toronto with “Access to Yoga” in the memo.


Studio Guidelines

  • Please arrive a few minutes early for class. If you are a few minutes late, please wait until the invocation is finished before entering the studio. YCT reserves the right to decline admittance to students who are late.
  • Please wear shorts or fitted tights and full-length t-shirts that can be tucked in.
  • Please do not wear any product with scent, as other students may be scent-sensitive.
  • Please do not bring water bottles into class. Water is available in the foyer.
  • No need to bring a mat as all equipment needed is supplied and maintained by YCT.



I have taken classes at Yoga Centre Toronto, at least twice a week for the past 15 years. I believe these classes have allowed me to age more gracefully than I would have, otherwise, and have helped maintain or improve my mobility, strength and stability – not to mention my mental acuity – over that time. The special needs classes are outstanding and have helped speed up and complement the rehab of my shoulder and back after injuries.

— Ricki S.

I always feel safe and incredibly comfortable at the Yoga Center Toronto, given their entire approach to practicing Iyengar Yoga. It’s the pinnacle of instruction – true to the standards and vision of B.K.S. Iyengar. Their attention to detail and their care for all students make me feel stronger in body and mind.

— Rima B.

I have had the pleasure of being a student at the Yoga Centre Toronto for the past 18 years. The studio space itself is well equipped, clean and airy. Marlene Mawhinney’s teaching is inspirational and I am amazed by the depth of her knowledge of yoga’s beneficial effects on the body, mind and spirit. All of the teachers are outstanding due to their rigorous training and certification process, and they genuinely care about their students. I have also experienced the benefits of attending special classes that focus on specific health issues. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to attend a yoga studio of this caliber and to have made yoga a part of my life.

— Judie T.

I began taking classes at Yoga Centre Toronto in 2002, six months after my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I started taking yoga because my neurologist recommended it and I came to YCT because they had a class specifically for MS students.  At that time I had mobility and balance issues, and weakness in my legs. I could not climb or descend stairs without holding the handrail. It was often difficult to walk over curbs along the street. Standing and walking for long periods of time (20 minutes) was difficult. I first joined the special needs class for MS students going to class once a week. Iyengar yoga was perfect for me. The use of props for support, the constant correction of the poses, the precise instruction by the teachers, and the repetitive nature and sequencing of the asanas all contributed to the immense benefits in dealing with my MS issues on a day-to-day basis. Over the years, taking Iyengar yoga, I have increased mobility, balance and strength in my legs. I can now climb or descend stairs without using a handrail. I have greater strength in my legs and increased balance. I can just about run across the street if necessary and the curbs no longer give me problems. I can also stand and walk for longer periods of time. Eventually, I was able to move on from the MS class and join in the regular classes, moving from Foundations through to Level 2. I now have the stamina to take part in workshops! In June of 2014 I applied for, and was accepted into, the three-year teacher-training course. Yoga has changed my life and I could not imagine my life without yoga, specifically Iyengar yoga. The way I look at it is my diagnosis of MS was a cloud in my life and the silver lining is that it led me to Iyengar yoga.

— Irving G.

My daughter has been attending the Special Needs classes at The Yoga Centre of Toronto for a little over a year. The changes I have seen in her are truly magnificent, and I credit Marlene Mawhinney, and her amazing staff for helping transform her.

My daughter was born with damage to the occipital and frontal lobes of her brain. Consequently she has problems with coordination, motor-planning, balance, low muscle tone, anxiety, hearing loss, and very low self-esteem as a result of her physical and academic limitations.

Physical activity is imperative, but she needs personal attention to help her with the coordination, motor-planning, balance, and low muscle tone. Yoga was recommended by my daughter’s doctor and occupational therapist, but neither could refer me to a facility that offered structured one-on-one instruction.

I researched on-line and came across The Yoga Centre of Toronto. It has changed our lives. The Special Needs class is run by Marlene, with other yoga instructors under her supervision. My daughter is fortunate to have 2 instructors helping out under Marlene’s guidance. One year later, her coordination has improved along with her muscle tone and motor planning. Her confidence is climbing and her gym mark at school has moved for the 50 percentile to 70 percentile. I’m not sure how I could ever thank the team at The Yoga Centre for their support in helping my daughter. They all treat her with such kindness; it’s like sending her to a second home. The Special Needs class is offered twice a week, and most clients attend one of the two sessions, but Marlene has allowed her to attend both. And I’m certain she will be there for many years to come.

The beauty of yoga is that it works the body from the inside out, including mindfulness, and connects the mind to the body. For my daughter, the damaged areas of the brain and “sleeping” nerves have been awakened or found a new path. She is maturing and she is developing. There is no place for her like The Yoga Centre, and we are blessed to have found Marlene and her team.

— A Grateful Mother