What is Iyengar Yoga?
The yoga of physical exercise comes under the heading of “hatha” yoga. Yoga masters have developed many styles of hatha yoga. Iyengar yoga students named Iyengar yoga after Shri B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India.
Iyengar Yoga is often called “classical” yoga. Everyone who practices Iyengar Yoga gets stronger very quickly. Aches and pains disappear with regular practice, and after a while, Iyengar Yoga students say they are much stronger, more flexible, and have a higher level of endurance.
It’s often called “alignment” yoga. What that means is that you begin to understand how the pose works for your hip, or your back, or your shoulder, or neck etc. The muscles of the body are great informers -as they get stronger and longer, you begin to notice how moving one way of the other can help your hip, hamstrings, core, shoulder etc. The way the poses are taught helps you pay attention to what’s going on in your body so you have tools to fix, help, or get stronger on your own.
Iyengar Yoga is accessible to everyone regardless of age, ability, or physical limitations. It’s not about anyone else in the room. It’s about you. The instructions in the pose help you pay attention to what is in front of you (namely you!). We also use an array of props designed by BKS Iyengar. These props can make the pose more manageable, more intense, give support when needed, and give you a different perspective on the shape of the pose that might be helpful for you.
We practice different poses every class, every week. Over the period of a month your entire body will have been “worked out” and you will have “worked in” to your mind, the various things you learned about yourself.
The practice of yoga is an amazing journey. No two classes are the same. Why? because we are different every day, but we are also creatures of habit; we tend to accept the status quo. This practice challenges you to look at things from many different perspectives. The Iyengar method speaks to that every class. There are hundreds of ways to approach every pose depending on what you need to work on. Because of that, Iyengar Yoga has many therapeutic applications. Back issues, hip and knee issues, shoulder and neck, and also stress, depression, anxiety can be helped, and in some cases cured through regular practice. BKS Iyengar said “Yoga will cure what can be cured and help us endure what cannot”.
In an interview with Advanced Iyengar Yoga teacher Manouso Manos, he describes Iyengar Yoga as:
” Iyengar’s is the most eyes-wide-open approach. He tells you to see the world for what it is and teaches you as you are. The best definition of Iyengar yoga I can give is that the tool, the body, is used as the tool of consciousness. He hones the body to hone consciousness. He brings the body to a state of awareness making consciousness rise. The body, mind, and spirit, run in harmony. We utilize the body to get greater understanding of the universe, ourselves, and our own internal universe. Other definitions talk about precision and alignment, but clearly this is about the ancient texts of yoga: awakening the individual, realization of that individual within the confines of the universe, and the effort that these flow together to liberation.”
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