Clear Yoga offers Iyengar Yoga. We have instructors certified in the Iyengar Method.
What is Iyengar Yoga?
People know of it as “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”.
Clear and Precise instructions
Teachers are taught to articulate and have the ability to describe what to do in a pose and how to make that happen. Teachers demonstrate the poses being taught. Teachers are taught to closely observe what is practiced to see what we missed. Alignment improves, understanding evolves, and concentration deepens.
Rich Diversity of Poses are Utilized
Iyengar Yoga has a rich, diverse collection of poses that are practiced over time. No two classes are the same. Each week there is a different emphasis. Standing, Seated, Back bending, Twisting, Inverted, or Restorative. The creativity of the teacher is well exercised and a student can focus on different parts of the body each class.
Home Practice is Cultivated
As one moved through the various levels of classes, new sets of poses are learned and students cultivate the ability to develop a home practice. Levels are important because they offer a sound, safe, and solid understanding of the poses, and confidence builds and the evolution of the yogi continues for years and years.
There is an ineffable quality to Iyengar Yoga and one must try it to truly understand the uniqueness of the method. It is best to attend a few consecutive classes to investigate the teacher, the variety of sequences and the effects created. As an educated consumer you will be able to describe the differences for yourself. Do come…….
About the classes
Precise alignment is a hallmark of Iyengar yoga. Standing poses, basic twists and beginning inversions are introduced first. Beginners learn the geometry of the poses and are taught to cultivate the ability to concentrate. The intensity of Iyengar yoga comes from the mental attention required practicing the poses.
As one continues and the basic poses are learned, then seated extensions, back bending and inverted postures are introduced. The practice matures and awareness of the organic process develops. Actions (internal movements) are learned to refine alignment of the poses and practice becomes more penetrating, more inward, and more meditative. At this point the spiritual dimension of hatha yoga is amplified.
The New York Times points out that because Iyengar yoga “focuses meticulously on proper alignment” and its teachers undergo “rigorous training,” it allows instructors to cater to students’ individual needs and to minimize the risk of injury. Certified Iyengar teachers undergo a minimum of three years of intensive training and testing which they begin after at least six years of study with a senior teacher (whose training period normally runs fifteen to twenty years). WebMD states, “Analytical in its approach with a constant attention to detail, Iyengar yoga is great for learning the subtleties of correct alignment in each pose. The use of props — belts, blocks, and pillow-like bolsters — help beginners get into poses with correct alignment, even when they’re new to the poses, injured, or simply stiff.”
Cher de Rossiter Cher is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher at the Introductory II level. She has a Ph.D. in Health Psychology and is particularly focused on how lifestyle technologies like yoga and meditation can support those dealing with chronic illness, trauma and the effects of getting older. She started practicing yoga in 2006 to support her recovery from breast cancer. The Iyengar method gave her the freedom to practice to the limit of her body’s capability without injury. Now at 65 she credits this approach for stronger and more flexible body with much less pain. She is a student of Senior Iyengar teacher Joan White, and regularly takes workshops from a variety of Iyengar teachers including Manouso Manos. She has studied anatomy with Ray Long MD, and the Yoga Sutras with Edwin Bryant.