A Brief History
The British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) was founded in 1965 by Wilfred Clark (1898 – 1981), who had been practising yoga during his service in the army in the First World War. In his civilian life, Wilfred became a journalist editing a newspaper in Sutton Coldfield. He began teaching yoga and it was this work that culminated in the founding of the Wheel.
During his latter years, Wilfred devoted himself to spreading the yoga message, travelling the country to present at meetings and seminars. Wilfred died in 1981 having attended many BWY Congresses. A bursary has been set up in his honour to be awarded to BWY teachers developing the teaching to support students with special needs.
The organisation began life as The Wheel of British Yoga but this was changed in 1969 to The Western Yoga Federation, which was registered as a charity in 1973. The name was changed to The British Wheel of Yoga in 1974.The first National Congress took place in Birmingham in 1967, expanding to a national two-day residential event in Walsall in 1976. The Annual Congress continues to this date, providing the opportunity for members to meet, exchange ideas and develop their practice.
Since 1971 when the first BWY Teaching Course was run by Ken Thompson the organisation has established a high standard of Yoga teacher training.
Today the BWY offers a teacher training programme accredited at Level 4 click here for more details. The BWY accredits other yoga teacher training organisations click here. In line with Wilfred Clark’s aspiration for yoga, the BWY provides a range of courses, events and routes for further study to support members who wish to develop their personal and professional understanding of yoga.
In 1995 The British Wheel of Yoga was awarded National Governing Body status by the then Sports Council (now Sports England).
The BWY celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 with a celebration of yoga at its annual Congress.
Today, the British Wheel of Yoga is the largest yoga membership organisation in the UK, committed to promoting a greater understanding of yoga and its safe practice through experience, education, study and training.