Iyengar yoga, named by teacher BKS Iyengar is a thoroughly classical style of yoga that is firmly based on the traditional Patanjalis eight limbs of yoga – yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.
It is a method that is appropriate for anyone – regardless of age, degree of health or other perceived limitations. The Iyengar method teaches students how to develop strength and flexibility; it gives them an increased ability to focus, observe, and relax; and it encourages understanding and compassion toward oneself and others.
Iyengar yoga is a yoga style that emphasizes precision and physical alignment of the body. By working to achieve perfect alignment in each pose, Iyengar yoga students aim to create balance in the body and mind. In addition to helping students gain flexibility and strength, Iyengar yoga may be useful in the management of certain health conditions.
What‘s unique to Iyengar yoga style
While performing Iyengar yoga it is given great attention to detail, symmetry and precise focus on body alignment in all postures. Correct body alignment, which requires focus and attention by the student, allows the body to develop harmoniously in an anatomically correct way so that the student suffers no injury or pain when practicing correctly.
As all bodies are different and people have different weaknesses and strengths, Mr Iyengar has also developed the use of props to assist each student in being able to achieve the correct position required to experience the benefits of the pose. Iyengar pioneered the use of props such as cushions, benches, blocks, straps, etc., which function as aids allowing beginners to experience asanas more easily and fully then might otherwise be possible without several years of practice.
Sequence refers to the sequences in which asana and pranayama are practiced.For example, by varying which postures are practiced after which, the physical, mental and emotional effects of the practice can be intensified providing the student with increased awareness of changes which occur during the practice.
Duration refers to the length of time spent in postures or pranayama. Postures cannot be done swiftly or without awareness. It takes time to move into a posture and become stable. Longer timing in the poses builds stamina and allows the effects of the poses to penetrate deeper within the individual.
In an Iyengar yoga class student is guided and corrected/adjusted (when necessary) by qualified teacher throughout the whole class. Instructions are given with use of precise language, asanas/pranayama are demonstrated to bring awarness to the specific points and to develop understanding and intelligent action.