"Health is the state when the soul is given the key of the body to roam at will." -- BKS Iyengar
Iyengar yoga is the study and practice of yoga based on the teachings and practice of BKS Iyengar (1918-2014). Iyengar yoga emphasizes alignment and precision in the execution of yoga poses, or asanas. A typical Iyengar class will have the teacher call out each pose, with instructions to get into the pose, hold it for a certain amount of time and how to get out of the poses safely. Teachers also make adjustments when needed, to correct the students' poses so that proper alignment is achieved and students gain the full benefits that each pose is meant to provide. Props are used--blocks, belts, bolsters, ropes, benches, trestlers, sandbags, and weights--to help students get into the pose, maintain it, and enjoy its benefits.
Beginners to Iyengar yoga are taught the rudiments of the basic asanas, with each succeeding class level receiving instruction and gaining familiarity with the more complex poses.
An Iyengar class of regular practitioners does a sequence of asanas each week, beginning with standing poses during the first week, followed by forward bends, twists, and backbends, with restorative poses rounding out the end of the month. Regardless of schedule however, women on their menses are required to do a sequence designed primarily to aid the menstrual cycle and not disrupt its flow.
Iyengar yoga is rooted in the Yoga Sutras of the sage Patanjali, as interpreted by BKS Iyengar. Yoga in Sanskrit means "to yoke" body, mind, and spirit in the practice of asanas and breathing to gain a sense of wellbeing in harmony with one's environment and all of life. The practice of Iyengar yoga uses the body, along with the mind and spirit to develop clarity of thought, emotions, and actions.
According to Guruji, as BKS Iyengar is called by his students, "It is through the body that you reach the realization of your being a spark of divinity."
Because the nature of Iyengar yoga goes beyond the physical, its teacher training courses are not only intensive but rigorous and strictly supervised as well. Teachers are trained and assessed by duly certified Iyengar senior teachers accredited with the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) and receive certification from RIMYI as well.
For more information on Iyengar yoga, visit the official website of BKS Iyengar.