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.
What to expect from this method of yoga?
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:
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.
See also: General Questions