Questions you may have about IYENGAR YOGA
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General Questions?


  What is Iyengar Yoga?

Iyengar Yoga is based on the teachings of the living yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar (Guruji), author of many books including the classic yoga treatise Light on Yoga.

Guruji began teaching in Pune, India, in 1936 at the age of 18.
Today, at 93, he continues to teach from his home in India and inspire students all over the world. His daughter, Geetaji, and his son, Prashantji, are also accomplished teachers and authors of several yoga texts.

The Iyengar family's teachings are deeply grounded in the yoga sutras of Patanjali, an ancient summation of the path and philosophy of yoga considered to be at least 2,500 years old. Guruji's intense practice and over seventy five years of teaching have produced significant innovations in the teaching of the art and science of yoga.

  What to expect from this method of yoga?

  • Qualified and rigorously trained instructors committed to excellence in teaching
  • A safe and systematic progression of yoga postures to develop each student's ability and skill, both within each class and from class to class
  • Sequencing that develops strength, flexibility, stamina, concentration, and body alignment
  • Individual correction and knowledge of how to adjust postures for common physical problems
  • Precise use of language
  • Demonstration and teaching of specific points to develop understanding and intelligent action
  • Individual correction and adjustment of students, when necessary
  • Integration of the yoga philosophy with the practice of asana
  • Progressive and systematic approach that builds from the foundation learned in beginning classes to advanced classes.
  • Incorporation and relevance of practice into daily life
  • Ways to use yoga to ease various ailments and stress
  • Use of props, such as blankets, blocks, and straps, to facilitate learning and adjust yoga postures to individual needs

  What are props and why are they used?

Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar refined the use of props in the practice of yoga to allow all practitioners access to the benefits of the postures regardless of physical condition, age, or length of study. Props can be used to:

  • create optimal body alignment.
  • make specific actions or poses accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to perform the posture due to physical limitations.
  • help adjust or support the practitioner to work in a range of motion that is safe and effective.
  • instruct or highlight a particular quality, action, or aspect of a yoga posture to enhance personal understanding of a posture and its effects.
  • help all practitioners (including the most advanced) gain sensitivity to the balance of effort and relaxation in the postures
  • provide support so that the practitioner can receive the deep benefits of holding a posture for significant time periods.
  • enhance the restorative or therapeutic qualities of a posture.

Props include sticky mats, blankets, belts, blocks, chairs, benches, wall ropes, sandbags, and other objects that help students experience the various yoga poses more profoundly.

Allowing students to practice asanas (yoga postures) and pranayamas (breathing patterns) with greater effectiveness, ease, and stability, props can provide support for the body and allow the mind to relax and more profoundly receive the benefits of the yoga.

  How does Iyengar Yoga differ from other systems of yoga?

The Iyengar method develops strength, endurance, and optimal body alignment, in addition to flexibility and relaxation. The Iyengar method develops self-awareness, intelligent evaluation, and profound inward reflection. The attention to detail and cultivation of awareness is meant to not only maintain physical safety in the practice but to develop the mental benefits of a complete meditation in action.

No two classes are ever exactly the same. The variation in sequencing of Iyengar classes is influenced by the level and condition of the student, time of day, time of year, and many other factors.

In Iyengar yoga classes, the emphasis is on learning, not just doing so the teacher will usually teach through instruction, demonstration or adjustment so that the students can fully absorb the process and gain a more in-depth understanding of themselves.

Standing poses are emphasized at the beginning to build strength and ease of movement, increase general vitality, and improve circulation, coordination, and balance. ensuring a strong foundation for the study of the other categories of and more advanced poses.

Postures for deep relaxation are introduced from the beginning. Gradually, sitting and reclining postures, forward bends, inversions, backbends, twists, arm balance, and flowing sequences are introduced.

  Iyengar Yoga emphasizes precision of alignment in the yoga poses. Why is      this considered important?

People tend to stretch from their more flexible areas and rely on their better-developed muscles for strength, thus reinforcing postural habits. Through attention to proper alignment, Iyengar Yoga encourages weak parts to strengthen and stiff areas to release, thus awakening and realigning the whole body. An added benefit of an emphasis on correct anatomical alignment can be the diminishing of aches and pains and improved posture, As the body moves into better alignment, less muscular effort is required and relaxation naturally increases.
(...courtesy IYILA)

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