Iyengar yoga was developed over 75 years ago by Yogacharya BKS Iyengar. It is a form of Hatha yoga that is based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga. BKS Iyengar states that ‘yoga is the union of body with the mind and of mind with the soul’.
Due to this belief, Iyengar yoga emphasises the precision and alignment in each asana, it has a planned sequence and certain timing as well as the use of props to help people progress from beginner to more advance. Also this approach allows people of all ages practice yoga.
Iyengar yoga is believed to provide the ability to face all challenges of life with strength, vitality, mobility and thoughtfulness.The practice of Iyengar yoga is about a gradual steady progress. Beginners are encouraged to practice at their own pace. There is emphasis given to different groups of asanas through the month – standing poses, forward bends, backbend and restorative poses, leading the student toward pranayama. The idea behind this is that the student gains a solid base on which they can build their practice.
Iyengar yoga helps to develop strength, mobility and stability through its systemised classical yoga poses – over 200! – and 14 different types of pranayama. The props used are belts, blocks, benches and blankets, they enable the student to do the pose correctly, minimising the chance of injury. Props also enable students to be supported requiring less muscular effort – which makes it suitable for the elderly to practice also.
The main focus is structural alignment of the physical body and to unite the body with the mind and spirit for health and well-being. This discipline is considered a powerful tool in promoting total physical and spiritual well-being.
There are three key elements of Iyengar yoga: technique, sequencing and timing.
• Technique focuses on the precision of the body alignment and the performance of pranayama.
• Sequence is important to achieve the desired result, because only a combination of certain poses and breathing exercises in a certain order can deliver the expected results.
• Timing defines the time spent in each pose
Iyengar yoga is very precise when it comes to alignment; this is why their teachers will help you through fine tuning your techniques immediately.
If you are just getting into yoga, Iyengar Yoga could be a great starting point as you get a lot of support and assistance to ensure you get the best outcome.