Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga named after and developed by B.K.S. Iyengar that emphasizes precision and alignment in the practice of the asanas (postures) and pranayamas (breathing techniques). The development of strength, mobility and stability of the body and mind promotes health and well being
Highlights of the Iyengar Method
- Skillful teachers offer precise instruction, demonstrations, adjustments, and skillful use of props to ensure safe and systematic progression of students. Students get individual feedback to improve in their practice and address any issues they might have.
- Alignment is a tool used to spread intelligence throughout the body, a way to focus and train the mind. The asanas are practiced as a "meditation in action" to bring more quiet, equanimity, and inner connection.
- Intelligent sequencing from pose to pose and from class to class build strength, stamina, focus, body awareness and stability of mind.
- A wide variety of postures and pranayamas at each level of study, actions taught, philosophical ideas and themes, and creative use of props keep students engaged and challenged in their practice.
- Certified Iyengar Yoga teachers (look for certification mark) undergo years of extensive study in asana, pranayama, anatomy and philosophy, and a rigorous national certification exam. They are trained at adapting postures to meet their student's individual needs including common issues such as low back, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, anxiety, depression. To maintain their certification certified teachers need to continue their studies with Senior Iyengar yoga teachers.
Born December 14, 1918, in southern India, B.K.S Iyengar studied and practiced yoga continuously for 80 years until his death on August 20th, 2014, at the age of 95. Over his 80 years of yoga teaching and practice, Mr. Iyengar is largely credited for introducing and popularizing yoga in the West. His seminal 1966 book Light on Yoga has been the source for generations of yoga students. Mr Iyengar revolutionized yoga in many ways. He opened up the study of yoga to women and started teaching groups of students rather than the traditional one-on-one method. He systematized 200 classical Hatha yoga asanas (postures) and 14 pranayamas (breathing techniques) ranging from simple to complex, creating a step by step approach, a manual for beginners to progress from the most basic postures to the most advanced. He introduced the use of props or tools such as blocks, belts, blankets, wall ropes to support and deepen the students experience in the postures, or allow a student to practice a pose that might not be possible without the prop. Along with the use of props, his pioneering teaching methods include precision in alignment, skillful sequencing and therapeutic application of yoga for ailments and chronic conditions. Iyengar Yoga is firmly based in the traditional eight limbs of yoga as expounded by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. B.K.S Iyengar's approach is unique in that it does not separate the 8 limbs of Yoga, rather he finds the interconnectedness of the limbs in the asana practice itself.
Mr. Iyengar transformed his ancestral village of Bellur with a visionary series of projects, including a hospital, a water treatment plant, schools, a yoga hall for children. His daughter and son, Geeta and Prashant Iyengar, and granddaughter, Abhijata carry on his work in Bellur and his teachings at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India.