Iyengar Yoga

“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”  ~B.K.S. Iyengar

Iyengar is one of many styles of yoga practiced around the world today. It was developed by Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar who was born in Karnataka, India in 1918. Having practiced yoga for most of his life,  Iyengar is certainly one of the most renowned teachers of our time. He has written a handful of books, including “Light on Life“, “Light on Yoga“, and “The Tree of Yoga“. There are also many books about Iyengar’s style of yoga; “Yoga the Iyengar Way” by Silva, Mira & Shyam Mehta is a popular one that’s endorsed by the yogi himself. His daughter, Geeta Iyengar, has also written a book about the style that is specific for women called “Yoga: A Gem for Women“.

The Iyengar style is rooted in the eight limbs of yoga, which are described at length in the “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali“.  It’s a form of Hatha Yoga that puts focus on strength, endurance, balance, and alignment. The style also stresses the benefits of concentration and meditation in body, mind and spirit. A series of asanas and pranayama, Iyengar yoga involves several standing poses and the use of multiple props to assist in achieving correct alignment in postures. Commonly used Iyengar props are hard Foam Blocks, Practice Straps, and Yoga Blankets.

One may experience far more adjustments in Iyengar yoga than in other styles, since Iyengar highly stresses that anatomical correctness is essential to balancing all aspects of our being. Sequencing of the asanas varies from practice to practice, in order to challenge the body. Also, a decent amount of time is spent in each asana to allow time for the fine adjustments and to fully benefit from the posture. Iyengar yoga really delves into the mind and spirit aspect – it is not merely a physical practice.

Though Iyengar himself teaches at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, India, there are hundreds of Iyengar certified instructors in the United States and around the world. The Iyengar Yoga: National Association of the United States is a great resource for Iyengar teachers and studios across the country.

Namaste!

Posted under Styles of Yoga

This post was written by Barefoot Yoga on June 11, 2010