WHAT IS IYENGAR YOGA?
B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the most prominent yoga teachers of the 20th century, developed Iyengar Yoga as a way to make yoga accessible to all individuals, regardless of their age, physical condition, or level of experience. This yoga style focuses on the alignment of the body, which is believed to create a solid foundation for spiritual growth and self-awareness. Iyengar Yoga is renowned for its unique approach to alignment, precision, and the use of props. This yoga style offers a wide range of benefits that positively impact physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
In 2000, I did a 2-month intensive workshop at the RIMYI in Pune. I was on my way to Dharamsala to get some much-needed rest from my intense months in Madras and Mysore. I have been practicing Ashtanga and Gosh yoga for more than two decades at this time and was very curious about this style of yoga. I wasn’t planning on staying that long, but at that time Geeta adapted Iyengar yoga to the body and needs of women. She didn’t differentiate this from her father’s teaching but she adapted it to cater more to the specific requirements of women (menstruation, pregnancy, post-partum, menopause, etc.). This is also how my love for restorative yoga started.
What I appreciate about Iyengar yoga is that it places a strong emphasis on alignment. Because of this, practitioners learn to refine their postures by paying meticulous attention to the placement of different body parts. The precise alignment not only helps prevent injuries but also encourages the flow of energy throughout the body.
Another distinguishing feature of Iyengar Yoga is the creative use of props such as blocks, straps, blankets, chairs, and bolsters. These props provide support and assistance, making the practice accessible to individuals of varying flexibility levels. Props are used to help practitioners achieve correct alignment and experience the benefits of each pose deeply.
The sequencing of poses in Iyengar Yoga is carefully designed to prepare the body for more advanced postures. Poses are introduced in a systematic manner, gradually building strength, flexibility, and balance. This approach ensures a safe and progressive practice.
More importantly, holding poses for longer durations is a hallmark of Iyengar Yoga. This extended stay in each pose allows practitioners to explore the subtleties of the posture, make adjustments, and cultivate a sense of presence. The precision in alignment and timing helps in the development of mindfulness and concentration.
I remember learning in and standing Tadasana in a 90-minute class!
Iyengar Yoga offers a path to holistic well-being through its emphasis on alignment, precision, and mindfulness. By practicing this style of yoga, individuals can experience physical vitality, mental clarity, and a deeper sense of connection with themselves. Whether you’re seeking relief from physical discomfort, stress reduction, or a way to enhance your yoga practice, join Manas Yoga’s Iyengar Yoga classes.
So, roll out your mat, grab your props, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation through the beauty of Iyengar Yoga.
We’ll see you on the mat!