Young Yoga Institute: A history by Jenny Gough


Winnie Young –  Founder of the Young Yoga Institute in 1975

At the age of 54 Winnie Young lost her husband Charles Young, and of necessity started writing freelance for a local Daily.

When doing an article on Betty, Durban’s most popular teacher of the day, Winnie was encouraged to participate in one of Betty’s Yoga classes as part of her interview. Winnie went back the next week, did a second yoga workout, felt exhilarated and was totally hooked on yoga for life.

This was Winnie’s introduction to the ancient art of Yoga. Becoming instantly involved, it wrought a dramatic change in her life – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Having experienced the teachings of the world-renowned B.K.S.Iyengar, of Poone, India, Winnie saw the need for yoga teachers to be trained in South Africa. Using the knowledge learned from Iyengar and drawing on the experience gained as a fully qualified Government school teacher, in 1975 Winnie inaugurated the YOUNG YOGA INSTITUTE for the training of teachers. For the help of these teachers she wrote 13 text books as there were no text books available.

From the beginning of her involvement with yoga, Winnie understood its real purpose, which is to discipline the body, steady the emotions, clarify the mind and open the heart to God.

YYI teaching methods

Winnie Young, the Founder, studied with Sri B.K.S.Iyengar in Mauritius, Malawi and Swaziland. Over the years, with her guidance a schema was formulated with the aim of establishing a training center for yoga teachers. Under the auspices of the YYI and Tutorial Director Doreen Smit there are a number of training centers around South Africa.

The YYI teachers’ training  is based on what Winnie Young learnt from Sri B.K.S. Iyegar.

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