First, what is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar yoga is a style of Hatha yoga that focuses on the precise alignment of the asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing techniques) to achieve a balance between the body and mind. It was named after and developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, a pupil of T. Krishnamacharya and endowed with a profound understanding of human anatomy and a healing method for the discipline.
Iyengar yoga is known for its use of props, such as blocks, straps, bolsters, and blankets, to help students achieve correct alignment and practice safely. This style of yoga is often practiced with a focus on holding poses for longer periods of time to develop strength, flexibility, and awareness.
Is Iyengar Yoga for You?
If you’re looking for a yoga practice that emphasizes alignment and uses props to help you achieve correct alignment and practice safely, then Iyengar might be for you. Iyengar classes are suitable for beginners as well as advanced yogis who want to deepen their practice.
Iyengar yoga teachers undergo rigorous training, including an in-depth three-year certification process, to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to teach this style of yoga. The focus on anatomy and alignment in Iyengar yoga can be particularly beneficial for those with postural issues or injuries.
Training, certification, and standards
To become a certified Iyengar teacher, one must undergo a rigorous training program that includes an in-depth study of the yoga sutras, anatomy, and alignment principles. Iyengar yoga teachers must complete a three-year certification process and adhere to standards set by Iyengar Associations around the world.
Certification is awarded after a teacher has demonstrated proficiency in teaching Iyengar yoga and has received personal supervision from the Iyengars in Pune.
Teaching Iyengar yoga
Teaching Iyengar yoga requires extensive knowledge of alignment principles and anatomy. Incorporating various props into the teaching methodology can aid students in achieving proper alignment and practicing safely.
Iyengar yoga teachers must undergo rigorous training and ongoing education to maintain their certification and ensure they are providing their students with high-quality instruction.
How to Practice Iyengar Yoga for Beginners
To practice Iyengar, find an Iyengar yoga class or teacher in your area. The practice often includes a sequence of poses designed to build strength, flexibility, and balance, with a focus on correct alignment and the use of props to support the body. Breathing techniques and meditation may also be included in the practice.
Props such as straps bolsters, and blankets are often used to help students achieve correct alignment and deepen their practice. Beginners are encouraged to start with a beginner-level Iyengar class and work their way up to more advanced classes as they develop their practice.
Iyengar Yoga Poses
This is a form of yoga that emphasizes precise alignment and can help improve posture, strength, and flexibility. Some common Iyengar yoga poses include:
In each pose, practitioners focus on specific alignments to increase stability and prevent injury. Props like blocks, straps, and blankets are often used to help students achieve proper alignment and deepen their practice. Consistent practice of Iyengar yoga can help improve overall physical and mental health, reduce stress, and increase mindfulness.
Alignment and Props
Alignment is a key aspect of Iyengar’s practice. Teachers place a strong emphasis on correct alignment to ensure students practice safely and avoid injury. Props are often used to help students achieve correct alignment and deepen their practice.
For example, a strap can be used to extend the reach of the arms in certain poses, a bolster can be used to support the back or hips, and a blanket can be used to cushion the knees. The use of props allows students to access the benefits of a pose without compromising their alignment or putting strain on their bodies.
Benefits of Iyengar Yoga
Practicing yoga has many benefits for both the body and mind. The focus on alignment and the use of props can help to alleviate postural and structural problems, release emotional tension, and increase focus and concentration. It can also help to improve physical and psychological health, increase energy levels, and promote a deeper connection between the body and mind.
Other Yoga may interest you …
If you’re looking for a yoga practice that emphasizes correct alignment and uses props to help you achieve your full potential in each pose, then Iyengar yoga is a great choice. With its focus on alignment, sequencing, and timing, Iyengar yoga provides a structured and safe practice that can be tailored to suit any level of experience.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced yogi, practicing Iyengar yoga can help you develop strength, flexibility, and balance while cultivating a deeper connection to your body and breath. To learn more, please visit the Iyengar yoga institute.