One of the reasons yoga has such widespread appeal is that it comes in a variety of forms. While they all honor the fundamental mind-body connection, each has unique qualities that allow you to work on your specific areas of interest. Practicing different types keeps you engaged and continually improving.
Iyengar yoga is accessible for all levels of students, making it one of the more popular forms. It’s a great choice whether you’re just beginning your yoga journey or an experienced student looking to expand your development.
History of Iyengar Yoga
The method bears the name of its creator, B.K.S. Iyengar, who began studying yoga to help counter the effects of tuberculosis. He started his own practice in 1936 and continues to teach at his institute in Pune, India alongside his son and daughter. He has also written several textbooks that are still considered classics.
What’s Different About Iyengar?
The Iyengar form focuses on the body’s alignment as you move through the poses. It teaches that there is a precise way to achieve each pose which you’ll be able to attain through regular practice. As you move closer to this physical ideal, your mind will reflect this ever-increasing balance.
Use of props is a particularly innovative aspect of Iyengar. Items such as blocks, straps, chairs and pillows are used to help students achieve the poses. This is especially helpful for novices whose bodies are not yet skilled and open enough.
Iyengar as a No-Flow Method
Other forms of yoga incorporate vinyasa flow, which refers to the fluid, graceful transition and measured breathing between poses. Since Iyengar is centered around perfecting the poses, each one is held for a longer period of time with students resting in a corpse or child’s pose in between. As a result, Iyengar yoga is not as much of a cardiovascular workout since you’re not constantly in motion.
Benefits of Iyengar Yoga
Increased strength and flexibility are the major physical changes that result from the practice of Iyengar. The concentration used to perfect the poses facilitates the mental clarity that’s a hallmark of the yoga lifestyle. It also helps you develop a finely attuned body awareness leading to improved overall health.
Since the cardiovascular impact is less intense, Iyengar yoga is a gentle method ideal for students who are less physically toned in the beginning. Elderly or overweight people often find it to be a good way to begin practicing yoga, while it can also be useful for anyone recovering from an injury.
Iyengar can be an enjoyable component of a well-rounded yoga lifestyle. Your instructor will be happy to help you incorporate this method into your overall practice.