Iyengar yoga is a purist style of yoga that was born in the sixties and takes its name from its creator, BKS Iyengar. It is a very meticulous style of yoga that places a special emphasis on precision and alignment, is excellent for developing strength and flexibility, and includes details of other modalities such as breath control (pranayama) and posture (asanas) . Do you want to know everything about this beneficial discipline? Keep reading!
Who was BKS Iyengar?
Yogacharya Sri BKS Iyengar was born in India in 1928 and studied and practiced yoga continuously for more than 85 years. BKS Iyengar began his yoga studies at a young age with his guru, T. Krishnamacharya, who is often called “The Father of Modern Yoga.”
BKS Iyengar brought yoga to the western world in the 1970s and his book Light on Yoga has been the source of information for generations of yoga students around the world. He taught for more than 75 years on five continents and made yoga accessible and relevant to people around the world. He invented many of the yoga accessories we use today and explored their benefits as a treatment for a variety of serious medical conditions.
What makes Iyengar yoga different?
Iyengar yoga is the most practiced yoga method in the world and the most accessible for those not initiated in the practice , since it uses a multitude of accessories to make each yoga posture suitable for everyone, regardless of your physical condition.
This type of yoga also focuses on postural alignment, which is why it is particularly good for postural problems ; And since you have to focus all attention on the precise details and effort of each pose, it is also beneficial in relieving stress and anxiety , as it clears the mind.
Iyengar yoga focuses above all on the quality of movement rather than quantity, to gain security through its practice . If you’ve seen or tried other types of yoga, it may give you the feeling that an Iyengar class is going at a slower pace, but make no mistake: this does not mean that you have to work less. You will soon realize that you have to work hard, because he is very methodical and doing the postures correctly requires a lot of mental and body work .
Accessories, one of the most distinctive characteristics of this type of yoga
An Iyengar studio will always have a wide range of yoga accessories – blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and braces – to help each student find the proper alignment in poses. Props help students keep postures aligned even when they are new to them, or in case they have chronic physical limitations, are injured, or just plain stiff .
Although these accessories will always be available in an Iyengar yoga class, they will not always be necessary. They are not there to complicate the practice, but to simplify it and make it accessible to everyone , as it is sometimes difficult to perform all the poses correctly, which can be frustrating.
What should I expect from an Iyengar yoga class?
In an Iyengar yoga class, the way the poses are taught is the same all over the world. Each teacher will select a series of poses for a specific class for a specific reason, but each pose will be exactly the same in essence, whoever the teacher is and wherever they are in the world . That means you can walk into any Iyengar class and fit right in.
An Iyengar yoga class for beginners will focus on standing poses so that you can learn the fundamentals of how to properly adjust and align the body . Standing poses form the foundation before moving on to more advanced poses and need to be continually studied, even when more advanced poses are already mastered.
All Iyengar teachers undergo comprehensive training to ensure their future students receive quality instruction. A fully qualified Iyengar teacher will always have an up-to-date Iyengar Yoga Certification.
A class of this type of yoga, therefore, can be expected to include a sequence of movements that progress from one posture to another with safety and excellent technical quality . A well-qualified teacher will provide a clear demonstration and explanation and individual correction and adjustment when necessary. Finally, an Iyengar class ends with invigorating poses , so you leave feeling energetic.