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Big Island Yoga Center marks 25th anniversary

Big Island Yoga Center 25th anniversary dinner. (Photo courtesy of Big Island Yoga Center)

Big Island Yoga Center 25th anniversary dinner. (Photo courtesy of Big Island Yoga Center)


More than 65 people attended a dinner marking the 25th anniversary of Big Island Yoga Center (BIYC). The event honored yoga teacher Aadil Palkhivala and recognized others who were instrumental in forming the Kealakekua nonprofit organization.

It also kickstarted a year-long membership drive to widen community outreach.

Believed to be West Hawaii’s oldest established yoga center, BIYC’s roots date back to 1989, when Iyengar yoga instructor Darina Archer began teaching classes in a makeshift studio at the Kona Trans Building.

Several years later, Archer moved classes to the Kona Hongwanji Mission in Kealakekua. There, she invited her teacher, Aadil Palkhivala, to conduct a workshop.

A teacher trainer since 1976, Palkhivala began studying yoga at the age of seven with B.K.S. Iyengar, becoming certified at 22 as an Advanced Yoga Teacher.

In his later years, he and his wife, Savitri, developed Purna (complete) yoga, which is based on the Iyengar tradition and incorporates a discipline of body, mind and heart that invites awareness and opens the door to wholeness.

Aadil and Savitri are co-founders of the Alive and Shine Center as well as the College of Purna Yoga in Bellevue, Wash.

“I believe humans seek three things – happiness, a sense of fulfillment in our lives, and health,” says Palkhivala, adding that practicing yoga provides all three.

BIYC was incorporated as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization to promote yoga as a lifestyle benefit.

Among its supporters was Dr. Larry Peebles, general surgeon, who, in 1994, generously offered the space above his office in Kealakekua at 81-6623 Mamalahoa Highway for a yoga studio, giving BIYC permanent roots.

“Yoga keeps you flexible so that you can remain active and healthy,” Peebles said. “The mindfulness of yoga increases serenity in life. Staying in the present allows you to maintain the perspective that life is not passing you by. It’s comforting to have a yoga studio upstairs while I’m working.”

BIYC offers three levels of Iyengar yoga, Hatha flow, Kupuna yoga, Prenatal, and Restorative classes. It is the only studio on island to offer a wall ropes class, at 3:30 p.m. Fridays.

BIYC teachers include: David Johnson, Giuse Bullock, Jan Roberts, Joan Hughes, Joanne Murray, Ryan Nakade, Julie Benkofsky-Webb, Mimi George, Reagan Breen, Stephanie Conant, Yuki Agoot and Yvette Minear.

Every first Sunday of the month, from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, there is a free class, open to the public. It’s a way to introduce newcomers to the benefits of a regular yoga practice free of charge.

“It’s really quite simple,” says Palkhivala. “No yoga, no joy. Know yoga, know joy.”

San Francisco-based Iyengar teacher Janet MacLeod will conduct a four-day intensive workshop, Yoga, A Path to Inner Stillness, May 17 – 20 at BIYC.

For further information, contact Joan Hughes (808) 769-0772 or email

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