Centered Yoga

What is Centered Yoga?

Centered Yoga is a reworking of the Iyengar method by Dona Holleman, who was a pupil if the great master.

Centered Yoga is a reworking of the Iyengar method by Dona Holleman. Starting from her personal experience with the teaching of her great, first and only master, B.K.S. Iyengar.
Centered Yoga combines the encounter with Krishnamurti and the Castaneda texts from which Dona has drawn her life and teaching philosophies. In the theoretical structure described in the Eight Vital Principles of Practice, Centered is enriched by the work deriving from her friendship with Vanda Scaravelli. Dona has given feminine form to the Iyengar method, placing at the centre care and respect for the body and the natural anatonical laws governing it. She has placed at the centre of yoga practice the human being in his totality as a marvellous tool for balance.

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It is based on the Eight Vital Principles for practice:

  • The meditative state of the mind, or the ‘non doing’ of the mind
  • Relaxation, or ‘non doing’ of the physical body
  • Intento, or the ‘non doing’ of visualisation
  • Rooting, or the use of gravity
  • Centring, or the awareness of hara
  • Alignment
  • Breathing
  • Elongation

The story

In the ’60s Dona met Krishnamurti: she enjoys long conversations with him at Gstaad in Switzerland, and changes from his teaching the concept of meditative mind and total attention or ‘non doing’ of the mind, that is: trusting in the ancient brain to perform asana, in opposition to the modern one of thinking. While in the Sutra of Patanjali (Dhyana) this concept is an arrival point in practice, for Dona it is a starting point.

Through Krishnamurti Dona would get to know B.K.S. Iyengar and, in two different moments in 1964 and 1969, go to India to receive the precious direct master – pupil teaching from him. She would learn from him the traditional discipline and phyical techniques of hatha yoga practice, when she would draw the principles of alignment and elongation.

She was the first to introduce hatha yoga into the Iyengar style in Europe; indeed, between 1964 and 1969 she set up the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Work Group in the Netherlands and started to coach teachers. She worked with Victor van Kooten, Angela Farmer, John Schumacher, Patricia Walden, Maxine Tobias, Mary Stewart, Gabriela Giubilaro, Emilia Pagani and many more.In the ‘80s she distanced herself from the international Iyengar community, but continued to follow in her practice and studies the basics of teaching received from the great master, inviting all her pupils to follow the pure, original tradition of the method.