Friends of Yoga Background & History
The Friends of Yoga (FRYOG) International was founded in early 1970 by a section of the Yoga Institute of Santa Cruz, Bombay, India, with the object of promulgating the entire structure of yoga throughout the world, conducting research and advising on yoga education and teacher training. In the beginning membership subscriptions were sent to India and a newsletter published in return.
Early in 1972, Friends of Yoga set up a temporary commission known as the “All India Board of Yoga” encompassing 20 eminent experts on the subject of yoga, bringing their experience and knowledge together, to draw up guidelines on yoga teacher training. These were eventually published and this in depth body of knowledge forms the basis of the Friends of Yoga teacher training Diploma scheme.
Wilfred Clark was the Board’s “foreign corresponding member” for the UK. When this temporary Board was disbanded, Wilfred was appointed Friends of Yoga’s Honorary Organiser for the UK, later being given the appointment of Honorary Director and Vice President of the parent body. (Wilfred Clark was also responsible for setting up the British Wheel of Yoga and was a founder member of The Yoga For Health Foundation.)
Wilfred was assisted by John Gent, who remains one of the Diploma Board Assessors of the present day FRYOG. As Friends of Yoga membership grew overseas, the title “Western World” was substituted for “UK” and is now “International”.
Jehangir Shaporje was an Indian yogi and had a following in India. From the time Wilfred and John formed FRYOG, Jehangir was secretary of our HQ in Mumbai (Bombay) and Wilfred was the Chairman of the western world section. John was the secretary and the yogi for the western section and joint founder with Wilfred of both the Wheel and FRYOG. It was called the Wheel because Wilfred was a Buddhist and the eight spoked Wheel was used for the Wheel of Yoga.
Between 1970 and 1985 John Gent wrote and released 4 booklets each year to the Wheel of Yoga and FRYOG.
Jehangir published 36 of these booklets in three books which are still available and used by us. Jehangir sent, every month,12 booklets a year to Wilfred who distributed them to members from 1970 until Jehangir died in 1995. When Fazil Boy died the HQ ceased to exist in India. Jehangir and Artur Pandit were Indian yogis and when they died John received their yoga secrets and has used them ever since.
On the death of Wilfred Clark in 1981, the Governing Council appointed Pauline Mainland as Vice President and Honorary Director of the Western World Community, assisted by a Board of overseas Trustees. In 1984 the organisation was restructured again giving the Western World Community the additional title of “FRYOG Overseas Wing” to be headed by the existing Vice President, Pauline Mainland. Pauline continued to head the Organisation for over twenty years and appointed other volunteers including a Diploma Board of Assessors, District Secretaries, Registrar and newsletter Editor/Publisher.
Sadly, Pauline Mainland died in January 2001. She had previously asked that Margaret Pateman take over as Chairperson. Margaret worked for more than 18 months and was able, with the help of the other Friends of Yoga volunteers to further grow FRYOG. Her achievements are numerous and include setting up a UK Board of Trustees, producing financial reports and arranging the first Annual General Meeting. With her guidance, Friends of Yoga made the switch from manual to computer led administration, launching the web site www.friendsofyoga.co.uk
2002 to present …
The 1st official AGM of FRYOG was held in March 2002. Margaret relinquished the role of Chairperson and an executive committee was appointed to be elected annually. See Our People page for current executive committee, and administration team.
How does Friends of Yoga work?
FRYOG is able to keep going thanks to the assistance of a number of key personnel.
Key posts introduced since 2001 include membership officer, website co-ordinator and junior membership officer, and UK wide Area Officers. In addition, there are currently yoga tutors (teacher trainers) in five areas of the UK and many students travel great distances to be able to study on a Friends of Yoga Diploma Course.
All these posts have been, and continue to be held on a voluntary basis, placing the emphasis on voluntary work for the good of yoga and promoting a world-wide spirit of friendship. Friends of Yoga is continually looking for volunteers to help run the organisation in all aspects. Please contact one of the executive committee members if you are interested.
Friends of Yoga HQ
FRYOG does not have a ‘headquarters’. The work for FRYOG is carried out in the homes of the key personnel who keep in contact with one another by e-mail, phone calls and letters and by meeting up with one another at various seminars and yoga days.
This method of administration helps to keep overheads to a minimum and prevents commercialism becoming too great within FRYOG’s structure. Members therefore gain the benefits as subscriptions are kept to a manageable level. The income raised by membership subscriptions is utilised for various expenditure FRYOG incurs namely, printing, postage, stationery, phone calls, website maintenance. The emphasis is on voluntary work for the good of yoga.
Friends of Yoga welcomes all members with an interest in yoga. The membership subscription (which includes a thrice yearly newsletter and monthly bulletins), is £20.00 per annum. Subscriptions are renewable annually on 1st January. If you are (or in future will be) a Friends of Yoga teacher you will have to keep up your membership to be able to teach Friends of Yoga Yoga. Click here to join, or renew your membership.
In 2015 Friends of Yoga teaching members will be offering a variety of classes, one day workshops and weekend retreats. All teachers are highly experienced and knowledgeable. The events will be open to everyone. As always, Friends of Yoga is willing to assist all, whether members of the organisation or not.
Friends of Yoga Teacher Training
Friends of Yoga offers a teacher-training scheme with the ultimate award of ‘International Teaching Diploma’.
In 1994 Friends of Yoga gained affiliation to The Institute for Complementary Medicine. The Education Scheme operated by Friends of Yoga is recognised by the Institute for Complementary Medicine as an element of their own Course Accreditation Programme to enable students to develop their competence as part of their career structure and continuing professional development.
In 2007 we affiliated with BCYT (British Council for Yoga Therapy). This was decided by members ballot. Friends of Yoga will continue to liaise with and assist this organisation with its invaluable work.