What is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar yoga is a method of yoga that became popular in the West mainly through the teaching of B.K.S. Iyengar. His method is now the most widely practised in the world. Iyengar yoga is accessible to anyone and regular practice increases suppleness, strength, stamina and improves posture and concentration, quietening the mind to promote wellbeing.
The Iyengar yoga technique emphasises precision and alignment and quality of movement is prioritised over quantity. You learn to move with ease in your body while working within your limitations. This makes the yoga postures (yoga asanas) safe to perform. Yoga postures are held for longer than in some other styles, allowing tight muscles to lengthen and relax, and helping to focus awareness. Yoga props such as blankets, blocks and belts may be used to improve your understanding of poses or to help if you have difficulties.
The practice is progressive, building a stable foundation before attempting more demanding work. Beginners start with standing yoga poses and are gradually introduced to a fuller range of sitting and reclining yoga postures, forward extensions, inversions, twists, backbends and arm balances. Each group of yoga postures develops the body in different yet reciprocal ways and has different qualities: grounding, energising, strengthening, stimulating, calming. Each class will devote time to relaxation. Once the body and mind are strong enough to sit or lie for extended periods without distraction, students learn pranayama (yogic breathing).
No two yoga classes are the same: poses will be selected from the different groups of poses to emphasise the various aspects of the practice. Iyengar yoga has been described as meditation in action. Practising the yoga postures with awareness has an integrating effect and works to harmonise mind and body.
"The practice of yogasana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga. While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end," says B.K.S. Iyengar. "Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit."
What can you expect?
- A safe, methodical progression of yoga postures.
- Technique - precision, alignment and awareness in performing the yoga postures.
- Sequencing to develop strength, flexibility, stamina, concentration and relaxation.
- Clear demonstration and explanation by a well-qualified teacher.
- Individual correction.