Home » Yoga » IYENGAR YOGA bringing the East to the West

The Iyengar approach to yoga is firmly based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga expounded by Patanjali in his classic treatise, The Yoga Sutras, written over 2,500 years go. It is a disciplined and deeply research system developed over 75 years by Yogacharya BKS Iyengar who still practices daily – exploring, studying, writing and teaching about yoga.

iyengar

Yoga means union. The union of the individual soul with the Universal Spirit is yoga. But this is too abstract a notion to be easily understood, so for our level of understanding I say that yoga is the union of body with the mind and of mind with the soul”. – BKS Iyengar, Tree of Yoga.

What is unique about Iyengar Yoga is that it is characterised in the practice of asana and pranayama with the innovative approach emphasising precision and alignment, planned sequencing, timing and the use of props. This approach has allowed people of varying ages, levels of health and fitness to enjoy the benefits which a sustained practice can bring – the ability to face the physical, mental and emotional challenges f contemporary life with strength, vitality, mobility, thoughtfulness and equanimity.

A form of Hatha yoga, Iyengar is one of the oldest forms of yoga. A number of different props are used in Iyengar since emphasis is given to alignment and precision in every posture. Iyengar teaches how all eight aspects of Ashtanga yoga are integrated and focuses on the aspect of “sequencing,” the practice of intentionally grouping and linking specific asanas together.

Unique features of “Iyengar Yoga

  • Iyengar Yoga can be practiced by all.
  • The emphasis is given to precision and alignment in all postures.
  • The use of props designed by Dr. B.K.S. Iyengar himself such as wooden gadgets, belts, ropes help the practitioner to achieve perfection in all the postures without diluting its classical effect and without getting any injury.
  • The aspect of “sequencing”. An “Iyengar Yoga” practitioner is aware of the sequence in which different groups of asanas have to be performed and the timing of the asanas.

 BENEFITS OF Iyengar yoga

Iyengar yoga is based on principles of Ashtanga yoga, with an emphasis on improving stamina, flexibility, concentration, and balance. Meditation is closely intertwined with the asanas (poses). Yama, the first principle, emphasizes abstinence from violence, which helps the body resist cravings and materialistic desires. The second principle, Niyama, emphasizes cleansing the body and mind of stress caused by unfulfilled desires. The third principle is based on the asanas, which help the body improve strength and flexibility and combat physical malaise. The fourth principle, Pranayama, emphasizes deep, slow breathing. Pratyahara and Dhyana, the other principles incorporated into Iyengar yoga, emphasize quieting the mind and achieving unity with the divine. Proper alignment of the asanas is extremely important for Iyengar yoga, and many of the poses used are found in other types of yoga. There is, however, no regular progression of the asanas. Each pose is followed by the “child’s pose,” a very relaxing, calming pose. Iyengar yoga makes use of various props so that everyone can perform the poses as competently as possible. Since the child’s pose is used between other poses, Iyengar yoga does not provide as strong a cardiovascular workout as other yoga forms. Nonetheless, it provides an excellent strength and flexibility workout while teaching very effective breathing and meditation techniques.

How Iyengar Yoga Benefits the Body

Iyengar yoga is based on principles of Ashtanga yoga, with an emphasis on improving stamina, flexibility, concentration, and balance. Meditation is closely intertwined with the asanas (poses). Yama, the first principle, emphasizes abstinence from violence, which helps the body resist cravings and materialistic desires. The second principle, Niyama, emphasizes cleansing the body and mind of stress caused by unfulfilled desires. The third principle is based on the asanas, which help the body improve strength and flexibility and combat physical malaise. The fourth principle, Pranayama, emphasizes deep, slow breathing. Pratyahara and Dhyana, the other principles incorporated into Iyengar yoga, emphasize quieting the mind and achieving unity with the divine. Proper alignment of the asanas is extremely important for Iyengar yoga, and many of the poses used are found in other types of yoga. There is, however, no regular progression of the asanas. Each pose is followed by the “child’s pose,” a very relaxing, calming pose. Iyengar yoga makes use of various props so that everyone can perform the poses as competently as possible. Since the child’s pose is used between other poses, Iyengar yoga does not provide as strong a cardiovascular workout as other yoga forms. Nonetheless, it provides an excellent strength and flexibility workout while teaching very effective breathing and meditation techniques.

IYENGAR YOGA bringing the East to the West

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