Iyengar Yoga is a style based on the teachings of BKS Iyengar. This method of yoga is recognized for its thorough exploration of poses as they relate to the physical, emotional, spiritual, physiological and psychological aspects of each individual student. It includes instruction in both asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques).
Characteristics of Iyengar Yoga include:
- Instruction: Clear directions and demonstrations from the teacher serve to help students learn and improve their poses. Accurate and specific instructions also help prevent injuries. Iyengar yoga encourages weak parts of the body to strengthen and stiff areas to release, thus awakening and realigning the whole body.
- Sequencing: Iyengar teachers introduce poses and basic principles one at a time in a safe, systematic way – within a class and from class to class. Teachers are trained to understand what poses best prepare the body and mind for subsequent poses.
- Small Classes and Individual Attention: Iyengar teachers observe their students and give them feedback and suggestions so that all students receive the benefits of the poses, learn something about their unique bodies, and work without injury. Teachers are also trained in how to adapt poses to address common physical issues. The Iyengar method is renowned for its therapeutic studies, using yoga postures to ease various ailments and stress. Certified teachers are trained to address problems with the knees, lower back, neck and shoulders, headaches, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression and more.
- Props: Yoga is a practice for all – male or female, young or old, stiff or flexible. You will learn how to use yoga props such as belts and blocks to help you work with healthy alignment in the poses, and experience greater opening and ease.
- Philosophy: The true goal of yoga is to quiet the busy nature of the mind. The physical practices of yoga postures is one way to move towards quieting the mind and philosophical concepts are introduced using the physical practice as a focal point.
- Variety: Different yoga poses have various effects on the body and mind – forward bends lengthen the hamstrings and are more quieting on the mind, backbends open the chest and lungs and are more stimulative – each time you attend class, you will experience a different set of poses. Some classes may focus on a category of poses or a particular area of the body. With consistent practice, students are exposes to all categories of poses and progressively develop strength, flexibility, balance and awareness.
- Teaching Excellence: Iyengar teachers are among the most highly trained yoga instructors in the world. Certification in the Iyengar method requires dedicating many years to study, passing rigorous assessment tests, and continuous education with senior teachers.