What is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar yoga was devised by the renowned guru BKS Iyengar. It involves deep study and practice of poses and pranayama breathing techniques. Mr. Iyengar has evolved more than 200 classical poses and 14 types of pranayama techniques. This wide range caters to beginners as well as advanced students. Iyengar yoga promotes strength and flexibility, and improves awareness of body, mind and spirit.
What is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar Yoga is a style of Yoga started and made popular by B.K.S.Iyengar. He was born in Karnataka, India in 1914. He studied Yoga in Mysore, India under his guru Krishnamacharya and started teaching this style in 1936. he continues to teach Yoga to this day with help from his children at the ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India.
Mr. Iyengar has evolved more than 200 classical poses and 14 types of pranayama techniques. This wide range caters to beginners as well as advanced students. Iyengar yoga promotes strength and flexibility, and improves awareness of body, mind and spirit.
Iyengar Yoga is a type of Hatha Yoga. Its primary focus is on attaining a physical balance in the alignment of the body. Iyengar believes that there is a perfect, an ideal to each Asana (Posture) and that with regular dedicated practice, each and every one can attain this ideal.
Iyengar was the one who is credited for the introduction and popularity of props in Yogic practices. At a time when these props were not even known to most, he used them in his style and propagated their usefulness.
Yoga Poses in Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga lays emphasis on proper body alignment while practicing the poses. This ensures the student performs the poses without worrying about incurring pain or injury. Each person has a unique body with its inherent strengths and weaknesses. Realizing this, Iyengar yoga uses props such as belts, blankets, chairs and wooden blocks to support the student while performing the postures.
Benefits of Iyengar Yoga Poses
Iyengar yoga has a therapeutic effect and eliminates pains and aches, and improves posture. It can cure many diseases, including serious conditions. Correct sequencing of poses has a powerful effect. The postures are held for a longer time to improve effectiveness.
Pranayama in Iyengar Yoga
After learning to perform the poses correctly, the student moves on to pranayama. These breathing techniques tone the respiratory, nervous, digestive and circulatory systems, activate the body organs, and create energy as well as calmness. The wayward senses and mind are brought under control, readying the student for meditation.
Meditation in Iyengar Yoga
The keynote of Iyengar yoga is meditation in action. The student learns to meditate on the poses. This makes them become absorbed in their deliberate body movements. Slowly, the student’s awareness increases and their mind attains a state of meditation. Thus, even the practice of poses aids the student to progress in meditation.
Unique Aspects of Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga has the unique aspects of correct technique, proper sequence and longer duration of poses. Technique involves proper alignment and fine adjustments while performing the poses. The sequence of yoga poses intensifies the emotional and mental effects to promote spiritual evolution. Longer duration of the poses improves stability and depth, thereby making the practice more effective and beneficial.
Types of Asanas in Iyengar Yoga
All the Asanas in Iyengar Yoga focus on attaining perfect physical balance and alignment. One the individual achieves this balance physically, it is also manifested psychologically and emotionally. It makes an individual completely balanced in every way.
Because this style make liberal use of Yoga props, it makes the practice of Yoga simpler and less stressful for the body at the same time allowing for improvement in flexibility and balance. This makes it suitable for a large population.
There are different categories of Asanas (Postures) in Iyengar Yoga for the various parts of the body.
- Standing postures
- Postures requiring forward bending
- Postures requiring backward bending
- Sitting postures
- Postures requiring twisting of the body
- Supine postures
- Inverted postures
Even though this style may be said to be simple, it is not very easy to practice and appreciate. People who have been into Yogic practices for long usually prefer this form. Those who have a keen interest in anatomy may find this form interesting.
Thus, Iyengar yoga is not just gymnastics or deep breathing. Correct practice of Iyengar yoga teaches us that yoga poses are not just stretching, pranayama is not mere deep breathing and meditation is deeper than self-evoked trance. Regular practice ensures physical, mental and spiritual development.