Iyengar Yoga is a style based on the teachings of yoga master BKS Iyengar (1918 – 2014). It is a practice that has the potential to help each individual develop awareness and equanimity at the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Iyengar Yoga includes instruction in both asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques).
Some of the characteristics of Iyengar Yoga include:
Instruction: Clear directions and demonstrations from teachers help students learn and improve 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 in a safe and systematic way within a class, and from class to class. Teachers understand which poses best prepare the body and mind for subsequent poses.
Individual Feedback and Adjustments: Iyengar teachers offer students individual feedback about how to improve poses. Teachers are also trained in how to adapt poses to address common physical problems. BKS Iyengar is renowned for his therapeutic work in yoga, using the postures to ease various ailments and stress. Certified teachers are trained to address problems with knees, lower back, neck and shoulders, headaches, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression, and more.
Props: Props can help students experience the benefits of a pose. Teachers may use props to deepen a pose, support students in resting poses, and give students the ability to do poses that might otherwise not be possible.
Philosophy: Philosophical concepts are integrated in asana classes and their relevance to daily life is highlighted. The Iyengar method focuses on developing inner awareness by using the body as a focal point for the attention, creating a conscious state of being in the moment.
Variety: Each time you come to class you will do a new sequence of poses. A class might focus on a category of poses (such as backbends or restoratives), or on an area of the body (such as the hips or hamstrings). With consistent study, students are exposed to all categories of poses and progressively develop strength, flexibility, balance, stamina, and concentration.
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 and passing rigorous assessment tests.