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An interview with Melodie Batchelor - by Inger-Lisa Hurst

What was the inspiration for the ebooks?

The inspiration for the Level 1 and 2 syllabus ebooks came from Kathryn Newsham. As a teacher trainee at the time she found home study challenging - finding the syllabus poses in Light on Yoga, remembering the name of each asana, the Sanskrit spelling and visual image was a time consuming process. From these challenges she thought of a ‘Visual Guide’ to each syllabus level. With a photo of the asana and reference to the plate number in Light on Yoga they are a quick reference from which to learn.

We chose to use the online platform ‘’ to create the ebooks rather than produce printed copies, both for the environmental impact, as well as the cost of postage and packaging. Moreover, if the syllabus changes or any content is added or updated anyone who has purchased the book automatically receives the latest version. The ebooks can be accessed from laptop, mobile or tablet. The photos of the syllabus asana are performed by Kathleen Powell. They are inspirational and encouraging to use in a home practice format. They remind the practitioner of all the asana in the syllabus.

In 2019 at RIMYI Abhijata Iyengar announced significant changes to the Syllabus and Assessment levels. The ebooks set out to show the new syllabus for all to see and follow.

I understand Yoga Drishti is now producing teacher development videos which are available to yoga practitioners in China. Are these videos available to practitioners in New Zealand and if so, how are they purchased?

Yoga Drishti thought it only natural to produce a moving version of the photos in the ebooks to show the teacher how to present the asana for Assessment. For example, what are the variations of Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana for Level 1 and 2 and how does the teacher present them at Assessment? What alternatives and/or variations of asana are suitable for menstruation and pregnancy?

Yoga Mala in China became aware of our work and are currently marketing the videos on their website as a home practice guide. The videos are also available for purchase through the Yoga Drishti website in New Zealand.

Have the ebooks and videos been sighted and/or approved by a member of the Iyengar family?

Abhijata Iyengar has seen and responded to the work we have done in a positive manner. Yoga Drishti have pledged a yearly donation to The Bellur Trust to show gratitude and commitment to the process of Iyengar Yoga.

Our deepest thanks go to BKS Iyengar,and Dr Geeta Iyengar, now deceased, for their guidance, love and inspiration. And to Prashant Iyengar and Abhijata Iyengar who continue to guide, teach and inspire us.

Are the videos intended to replace in-person teacher development, or should they be used as an additional resource?

The ebooks for Level 1 and Level 2 and the accompanying videos are an additional resource for home practice. They complement the prescribed Iyengar texts such as Light on Yoga and Gem for Women but in no way replace there. It is assumed by us that the teacher trainee would be under the guidance of a Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher and under a mentorship programme. The books and videos could not and should not substitute a Teacher Training or Mentorship programme.

Will you be producing more ebooks and videos for level 3 and up?

We plan to continue through the new Level 3 although level 4 hasn’t yet been a consideration. Let’s see.

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