Yoga as taught by B.K.S. Iyengar emphasizes the integration of body, mind and spirit. The Iyengar approach to yoga is firmly based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga as expounded by Patanjali in his classic treatise, The Yoga Sutras. Iyengar yoga emphasizes the development of strength, stamina, flexibility and balance, as well as concentration (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana).
A Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher can guide students of all ages and physical conditions to an experience of yoga, which is safe, accessible and rewarding.
Students of Iyengar Yoga begin with elementary postures and with an emphasis on the standing asanas (postures). In time, other postures are added, including forward bends and back bends, twists, inversions and restorative poses. Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Balance) is introduced as soon as students are ready because of its many therapeutic benefits. Each class ends with Savasana, corpse pose or deep relaxation. Students learn to rest in a profound way, completely releasing the body while drawing the mind towards the peace within. As the student progresses, Pranayama (the control of the breath) is introduced.
Certified Iyengar Yoga instructors are held to an unusually rigorous standard. Only after years of training and evaluation do they become certified. Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers devise sequences of poses, which build skill and understanding, from posture to posture, and from class to class. They use their deep-seated knowledge of the asanas and anatomy to individualize corrections for each student.
Students are encouraged to develop their own home practice; without one, the study of yoga is incomplete.
Iyengar yoga may differ from other yoga classes in a number of ways:
- Most classes begin with a chant to honor Patanjali, the sage who compiled the classic yoga texts.
- Time is spent on the development and proper alignment of each asana. Precisely guided verbal instruction and visual demonstration helps reinforce the relationship of all parts of the body to the asana, and the asana to the breath and yoga philosophy. Sometimes, poses are held for longer periods of time, and fewer asanas may covered in one class period than in a vinyasa or other ashtanga classes.
- Certified Iyengar teachers are trained to modify the classic asanas (yoga postures) for individual students. Often, modifications include the use of props such as blocks, blankets and belts. Props can allow for a deeper understanding of the posture and comfort level.
- Iyengar teachers request that you wear clothes that are stretchy, comfortable and form fitting. When the teacher can see your ankles and knees, she/he can see the alignment of your body. Shorts and tights are the best options. Sweat pants or flared yoga pants are not ideal for Iyengar yoga.
- Water bottles are not permitted in the practice area of the studio. Please come to class well hydrated.