Bobby Clennell has been teaching Iyengar Yoga for over 40 years. She currently teaches weekly classes at the Iyengar Institute in New York City and offers workshops all over the world. In 1976, Clennell made her first trip to India to study with BKS Iyengar and has been going annually every since. Through her work with Iyengar’s daughter, Geeta Iyengar, in the 80s, she developed an interest in yoga for women’s health and has made this the focus of her teaching practice. Clennell has published two books with Rodmell Press, The Women’s Yoga Book and Watch Me Do Yoga, a children’s book which she also illustrated.
According to Yoga Journal’s 2012 Yoga in America study, 82% of yoga practitioners are women. Yoga is predominantly seen as an activity for women, an image which is reinforced by how the practice is marketed and advertised. Since women practicing yoga is pretty much the norm in North America, are specialized practices necessary?
Clennell doesn’t think so, and she sees no difference between her classes for women and “regular” yoga classes. However, as we discuss in this interview, women are “cyclic beings” and a yoga practice that responds to the physiology of women’s bodies can be of benefit.
Her latest yoga project is focused on yoga for breast health. While there are not a lot of studies that indicate the effects of yoga on the breasts, Clennell has seen in her teaching that yoga helps women after breast cancer, and she believes it could possibly even be a preventative measure. Her work, however, is focused on all aspects of breast health, not just treating or preventing breast cancer, and it reflects an expanding awareness in our culture about this important issue.
Clennell shares what kind of practice is helpful for breast health, particularly for balancing the hormones, which has an affect on all things related to the breasts.
Listen to the full conversation below.