The Iyengar method of Yoga is initially learned through the in-depth practice of asanas (posture) and pranayama (breath control).
Mr. Iyengar has systematized over 200 classical yoga Asanas and 14 different types of Pranayamas (with variations on many of them), from the simple to the very difficult. These have been structured and categorized, allowing a beginner student to progress surely and safely from basic postures to the most advanced as they gain flexibility, strength and sensitivity in mind, body and spirit.
Iyengar Yoga focuses in particular on the following:
- Correct body alignment: This allows the body to develop harmoniously in an anatomically correct way so that the student suffers no injury or pain when practicing correctly. This is why Iyengar created and developed the use of props which help the body to get the correct position since all bodies are different and people have different weaknesses and strengths. Props help to support and adjust the body to the different postures so that one can work in a range of motion that is safe and effective.
Mr. Iyengar’s emphasis on correct anatomical alignment and methods of working have refined the therapeutic aspects of Yoga.
- Correct sequencing: There is a powerful cumulative effect achieved by practicing asanas in particular sequences, where postures are held for considerable lengths of time to allow the effects of the poses to penetrate deeper within the individual. Standing poses are emphasized in Iyengar Yoga. They build strong legs, increase general vitality and improve circulation, coordination and balance, thus ensuring a strong foundation for the study of more advanced poses. Unlike more experimental approaches, where students are encouraged to independently “find their way” in the asanas by imitating the teacher, an Iyengar Yoga class is highly verbal and precise and misalignments and errors actively corrected.
Hatha Yoga Table of Contents