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Iyengar Yoga Appreciation Day… North Saanich BC





North Saanich BC


Four teachers in North Saanich, on Vancouver Island in BC, Louie Ettling, Marlene Miller, Jayne Jonas and Nancy Searing, hosted 25 students for practice and lunch for Iyengar Yoga Appreciation Day. In a generous spirit of community, they share with us here their story, their practice and their recipes!



On a sunny Saturday morning, 11 May 2024, a few months of planning resulted in a sold-out celebration for Iyengar yoga students in North Saanich, BC. 



We came together at the McTavish Academy of Art, the new home of Iyengar yoga in North Saanich. After many years in the same venue in the heart of Sidney, the Iyengar yoga community in our area has been very fortunate to find a new home at McTavish, which offers many activities for people of all ages, including art courses, dance classes and a variety of yoga options. As we joined a nationwide wave of events across Canada to acknowledge our gratitude for the practice of Iyengar yoga, we also felt this special day provided an opportunity to express gratitude for our delightful new Iyengar yoga studio.

The Education Round Table leaders of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Canada (IYAC/ACYI) hoped that a national day of appreciation of Iyengar yoga could provide an opportunity to share our appreciation for the work of B.K.S Iyengar in Canada and that such a day could also raise awareness of our national association’s decades’ long support of teachers and students of Iyengar yoga in Canada. In our community that certainly happened!

Our new yoga studio was full with 25 participants, and 23 of them became members of IYAC/ACYI for the first time ever. These members are now looking forward to experiencing some of the benefits of belonging to their national association. Who knows, maybe a few of them will even join us when we come together in person in Montreal (April 24-27, 2025) to practise with Abhijata Iyengar!

Our local event started with a 90-minute practice, guided by Marlene Miller, Louie Ettling and Jayne Jonas. Our props included a mat, a bolster and four blankets per person. We made these work for all asanas in the practice.  The practice included the following:

Invocation to Patanjali, in Sukhasana

Urdhva Hastasana in Sukhasana

Adho Mukha Virasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana




Utthita Parsvakonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana into Trikonasana


Prasarita Padottanasana (this asana was done three times, with different focus points)

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana

Vrksasana (stages of preparation)

Parsvottanasana into Virabhadrasana 3

Chaturanga Dandasana into a few rounds of Surya Namaskar (alternatives given)

Jathara Parivartanasana

Adho Mukha Virasana

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (cross bolster)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, with support

Supta Baddha Konasana

Savasana, with support


We each led the practice for 30 minutes. We felt that our combined skills, presented through our unique lenses, reflected our shared dedication to the rich teachings of B.K.S Iyengar. As students, we felt that the practice gave us opportunities to move energetically, to build strength through balance, and to restore energy in a focused manner. A deep and peaceful Savasana reflected a well rounded practice.


From the yoga studio we moved to a spacious and bright room, ideal for a shared lunch and good conversations.










The teachers, Jayne Jonas, Louie Ettling, Marlene Miller and Nancy Searing, with Ina Dennekamp’s strong support, prepared a Mediterranean lunch for the students, acknowledging shared enthusiasm for our yoga practice and community. The ingredients were local and even from our home gardens, wherever possible.

The menu:

Spinach pie

Sun-dried tomato hummus

Tomato salad

Green salad

Sourdough mushroom bread

Cheeses and crackers

Green and black olives

Cold bubbly water and fruit drinks

Coffee and tea

Chocolate chip cookies


The Recipes:

Spinach Pie A (containing wheat) (for 8 people – we had to triple this recipe for our gathering)


frozen filo, 4 medium sized onions, olive oil (or other oil), 2 bunches of spinach, 4 eggs, 1 lb feta, dill, pepper, oregano (dried oregano and dill this time), one third of a lb of butter (we use salted).


thaw filo

fry the onions and let them cool

lie filo on damp cloth just before preparing dish, as it dries out quickly

butter a baking dish

cut the spinach in pieces

beat the eggs lightly

mix the cooled onions, feta, spinach, eggs, herbs, melt butter

put 4 sheets of filo in the baking dish (brush each layer lightly with a bit of melted butter)

pour your mixture to cover the filo

continue with 4 more layers of filo to the top of the pan

cut the pie into serving size squares before putting the baking dish into the oven (this stops sogginess and makes cutting afterwards easy)

bake at 400F degrees for about 45 minutes


Spinach Pie B (wheat-free) (makes six servings)


A good amount of spinach (two – four bunches)

Chopped onions (half cup or to taste) or scallions

Chopped fresh herbs (4 tablespoons. We used home grown dried oregano and dill this time).

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Half a cup of crumbled feta cheese

2 tbsp grated asiago cheese, or parmesan (or some of both)

Half a cup of wheat-free flour

1 tsp baking powder

Two-thirds cup of milk

1 tsp olive oil

2 large eggs (beaten)

Half tsp kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Cooking spray



Preheat oven to 400F degrees

Lightly spray baking dish with oil

Mix spinach, onions, herbs, feta and spoon into pie dish

Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl

Add remaining ingredients to bowl and blend well

Pour into baking dish

Bake 28 to 33 minutes or until knife comes out clean from the centre

Let it stand for at least 5 minutes before serving. Can also be served at room temperature.

Cut into 6 slices


Tomato Salad

Ingredients – Salad

3-4 pounds of tomatoes including cherry, strawberry and various colours

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Bunch of basil, julienned.


Ingredients – Dressing

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Pomegranate Balsamic vinegar or any other balsamic of choice or red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon Dijon smooth mustard

1 Tablespoon Water


Cut tomatoes into various sizes, leaving some whole – let them sit and marinate with a ½ tsp of sugar

When ready to serve, dress the tomatoes with salt and pepper, pine nuts, basil and dressing to taste. (One could add: Olives, Carrots, Cucumbers, Cheeses – goat, feta, bocconcini, Arugula – you name it. For our event we already had cheese platters and cheese in the spinach dishes, so the tomato salad was more “pure”.)


Green Salad

 Three different kinds of lettuce, including a red head for colour variety, and arugula for additional flavour, cucumber, green onions, parsley.

Served with a homemade mustard honey vinaigrette, using red wine vinegar


Sourdough Mushroom Focaccia (recipe from Michael Greenfield)


2 cups of stone ground flour (220 grams)

2 cups of all-purpose flour (220 grams)

1 ½ teaspoons of salt (5 grams)

½ cup of sourdough starter (75 grams)

1/8 cup of olive oil (50 grams)

1 ¼ cup of water (312 grams)

Sliced baby bella mushrooms, optional

Sliced garlic, optional

Red pepper flakes, optional

Salt, optional



  1. Start by feeding your sourdough starter with equal parts flour and water. (I used about 50 grams of starter, 50 grams of rye flour and 50 grams of water)
  1. Set your starter aside so that it can become super bubbly and active. This will take 3 – 4 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
  1. Once your starter is bubbly and ready to go, combine the stone ground flour, all-purpose flour, salt, bubbly starter, olive oil, and water. Mix until everything is combined.
  1. Let the mixture rest for about 30 minutes before giving it your first stretch-and-fold. Continue giving it 2 more stretches-and-folds every 30 minutes.
  1. After your stretch-and-folds are done, cover your dough and set in the fridge overnight to really develop the flavour.
  1. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 2 – 3 hours so that it can acclimate. Give it one stretch-and -old and oil up your 9×13 inch baking pan.
  1. Dump your dough out into the baking tray and push and stretch your dough so that it fills up the baking tray. If it doesn’t want to stretch, give it a 30-minute break before pushing and stretching the dough again. Continue until the surface of pan is completely covered.
  1. Let the dough rise for about 2 – 3 hours on the counter until it has gained some volume. In the meantime, you can prep your toppings.
  1. In a pan, add in some oil and once you see little wisps of smoke, add in your mushrooms. Fry for about 3 – 4 minutes and then sprinkle in your sliced garlic, red pepper, and salt. Continue cooking for about 1 more minute and then remove from the heat and let cool.
  1. Once your sourdough focaccia bread is puffy, drizzle on olive oil and your mushrooms! (I added a bit of ground salt.)
  2. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Let the dough proof for 30 minutes on the counter.
  4. Bake for 30  minutes.

A second sourdough focaccia bread had a topping of only olive oil and fresh chopped rosemary.


Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

In a high speed blender, combine:

2 cup cooked chickpeas ( or 1 x 14-ounce can)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 tahini

3 cloves garlic crushed ( or to taste)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt ( or to taste)

1/2 tsp cumin ( or to taste)

3/4 cup soaked and drained sun dried tomatoes

enough water to make a smooth mix


Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter; cream (using an electric mixer)

add, 1 cup brown sugar (beat until smooth)

add 2 eggs, 1 at a time (beat to combine)



2 cups flour

2 cups oatmeal

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped nuts ( walnuts or pecans)

1.5 cups chocolate chips


Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients a bit at a time, alternating with a total of 1/4 cup of milk.

Spoon onto parchment-covered baking sheets.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

Allow to cool.




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