Marian Garfinkel

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Marian Garfinkel
Born(1932-04-02)April 2, 1932
Died(2020-08-28)August 28, 2020
Wyncote, Pennsylvania, US
OccupationYoga teacher
Known forIyengar Yoga
Spouse(s)Marvin Garfinkel
ChildrenSimson Garfinkel

Marian Garfinkel (1932–2020) was an early researcher in the field of complementary medicine, showing that yoga could be used to treat and possibly cure a variety of hand injuries resulting from repetitive use. She studied with B. K. S. Iyengar for over 40 years, making annual trips to yoga centers in India, France, California and Michigan.[1] As a result of her contact with Iyengar, she and her former husband Marvin Garfinkel is credited with inspiring the sculptor Robert Engman to create the sculpture After Iyengar, currently on display at the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania[2] and at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC.


Garfinkel grew up in Altoona, Pennsylvania, the youngest of four children.[3] She taught at Linden Hall, a prep school for girls, from 1955 to 1957.[4] After the death of her first husband she married Marvin Garfinkel in 1963[5]. She studied art at the Barnes Foundation under Violette de Mazia, who she considered a friend. She moved from Center City, Philadelphia to Merion Station before settling at Cobble Court in 1974. She returned to Philadelphia in 1986.

Following the award of her degree, Dr. Garfinkel assumed teaching positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University.

Garfinkel was especially interested in using yoga to treat diseases of the hand, including osteoarthritis as well as repetitive strain injuries.

Dr. Garfinkel had a great love for music and took in many Temple and Curtis Institute music students as private yoga students, most of whom addressed her as "Dr. G." She also helped different professional musicians from Philadelphia and New York with their physical problems.

In 2016, Garfinkel's extensive archives regarding B. K. S. Iyengar were donated to the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYANUS).[6]

Garfinkel is a senior certified Iyengar teacher[7][8] who was a student of B. K. S. Iyengar between 1974, when she first met him in Ann Arbor, MI[9], and his death in 2014.

Marian Garfinkel in 2008


Garfinkel's 1992 Dissertation[10] showed that yoga and various relaxation techniques were a workable treatment for the pain and mobility issues associated with osteoarthritis.

In 1994 Garfinkel was the lead author of a study that showed that yoga could be used for treatment of osteoarthritis of the hands,[11] and in 1998, Garfinkel was lead author of a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrating the yoga could be used to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.[12] At the time of the article's publication, Garfinkel was in India, studying with Iyengar. On her return from India, she discovered over 900 e-mail messages in her inbox, many from people who were eager to see if she could help them.[13] In 2000, she published an article co-authored with H. Ralph Schumacher, Jr. presenting the ability of Yoga to cure a variety of rheumatic diseases.[14]

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ Corliss, Richard (15 April 2001). "The Power Of Yoga". Time.
  2. ^ After B. K. S. Iyengar,
  3. ^ What Price Success: One man's 34 year search for his GI father, Norman Spencer, Mereo Books, Gloucestershire, UK. p. 258.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Home | Iyengar Yoga: National Association of the United States". Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  7. ^ "» Instructors".
  8. ^ Harding, Anne. "Yoga helps older women balance and stand taller".
  9. ^ Kofi Busia, ed. (2007). Iyengar, Yoga Master. p. 56. ISBN 9780834824546.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Garfinkel, MS; Schumacher HR, Jr; Husain, A; Levy, M; Reshetar, RA (December 1994). "Evaluation of a yoga based regimen for treatment of osteoarthritis of the hands". The Journal of Rheumatology. 21 (12): 2341–3. PMID 7699639.
  12. ^ Garfinkel, Marian S.; Singhal, Atul; Katz, Warren A.; Allan, David A.; Reshetar, Rosemary; Schumacher, Jr, H. Ralph (11 November 1998). "Yoga-Based Intervention for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome". JAMA. 280 (18): 1601–3. doi:10.1001/jama.280.18.1601. PMID 9820263.
  13. ^ Black, Kathryn. "Yoga Under the Microscope". Yoga Journal.
  14. ^ Garfinkel, Marian; Schumacher, H. Ralph (February 2000). "YOGA". Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 26 (1): 125–132. doi:10.1016/s0889-857x(05)70126-5. PMID 10680200.