What is Iyengar Yoga?

What is Iyengar Yoga? Iyengar Yoga is a style of Yoga that B.K.S. Iyengar, a renowned Yoga teacher from India, developed. This style of Yoga is known for its emphasis on precision, alignment, and the use of support to enhance the practice. Iyengar meaning is derived from B.K.S Iyengar’s name. He is considered the father of Iyengar Yoga.

Iyengar Yoga places great importance on correct body alignment in each Yoga asana (posture). The practice involves holding poses for extended periods to develop strength, flexibility, and stability. The use of props, such as blocks, straps, and blankets, is encouraged to help practitioners of all levels and body types achieve proper alignment and experience the benefits of each pose.

One of the unique aspects of Iyengar Yoga is the attention given to the body’s details and subtle adjustments. Practitioners are guided to pay close attention to the alignment of their body parts, including the position of the feet, legs, pelvis, spine, shoulders, and head. This precision and alignment-based approach aims to create a strong foundation and prevent injuries. Iyengar Yoga is also known as Restorative Yoga.

Restorative Yoga

What is restorative yoga? Restorative Yoga is a relatively modern style of yoga that emerged in the 20th century. It was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, a renowned yoga teacher who emphasised the therapeutic benefits of yoga practice. Iyengar incorporated props to support students in poses, allowing them to experience the benefits of the poses without strain or effort.

Judith Hanson Lasater, a student of B.K.S. Iyengar, is widely credited with popularising and further developing Restorative Yoga meaning in the Western world. In the 1970s, Lasater began teaching Restorative Yoga poses and writing books on the subject, bringing attention to the practice's profound relaxation and healing potential.

Iyengar Yoga, or Restorative Yoga, is suitable for practitioners of all ages and fitness levels. However, it is particularly beneficial for those seeking a practice focusing on precise alignment, therapeutic applications, and attention to detail. Iyengar Yoga can improve posture, enhance body awareness, increase strength and flexibility, and promote overall physical and mental well-being.

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How to perform Iyengar Yoga?

Iyengar Yoga for beginners is beneficial in a lot of ways. If you're looking to take care of your joints, muscles, emotional and mental health, Iyengar Yoga is the way to choose. Some of Iyengar Yoga benefits or Restorative Yoga benefits are improved body posture, better mental health, clarity, and strength.

To practise Iyengar Yoga and Restorative Yoga, follow these general guidelines:

  • Set up your practice space: Find a quiet, clean, and well-ventilated area where you can lay your Yoga mat. Gather any props, such as blocks, straps, and blankets.
  • Warm-up: Start by preparing your body through gentle warm-up routines. You may begin with stretching, deep breathing, and even moving your joints.
  • Start with standing poses: Iyengar Yoga often begins with poses like Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose). Then, focus on aligning your body, maintaining steady breathing, and grounding through your feet.
  • Progress to seated poses: Sit in the Virasana (Hero Pose) or Sukhasana (Easy Pose) and use props to align your body the right way.
  • Incorporate forward bends, backwards bends, and twists: Explore a variety of asanas that involve forward bends, backwards bends, and twists. Each pose should be held longer (typically 30 seconds to several minutes) to cultivate stability, alignment, and awareness.
  • Use props mindfully: Iyengar Yoga focuses on using props and other times to support you during your practice. It is necessary for you to utilise blocks and other items, such as blankets and straps, for better stretches or restorative poses.
  • Focus on breath and awareness: Maintaining a deep, steady breath throughout your practice. Direct your attention to the sensations in your body, observing alignment, muscular engagement, and any areas of tension or tightness.
  • End with relaxation: End your practice with Savasana (Corpse Pose) or other relaxation poses. In this position, allow yourself to unwind and soak in the benefits of your routine.
  • Practice regularly: Consistency is key. Aim to practice Iyengar Yoga regularly, even if it's for shorter durations. Regular practice will help you deepen your understanding of the poses and fully experience the benefits.
  • Seek guidance from a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher: While you may be inclined to engage in Iyengar Yoga by yourself, it is essential for you to remember that only a professional guide or teacher can help you start your journey. So, it is advisable to look for certified Iyengar Yoga practitioners or studios.

Remember, each individual's body is unique, so listen to your body's signals and modify poses as needed. Honour your limitations and progress gradually in your practice. With time and dedication, Iyengar Yoga can enhance your strength, flexibility, and overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

B.K.S Iyengar, a popular Yoga teacher, founded Iyengar style Yoga. This form of Yoga included props or items such as blankets and ribbons to help individuals master different poses and asanas.
Iyengar Yoga is beneficial for beginners and advanced practitioners. This is one form of Yoga which helps people make full use of their bodies and allows them to release any stored negative energy.
Iyengar Yoga is considered one of the best due to its focus on body alignment and proper sequence. As a result, Iyengar Yoga benefits are unbound, and people feel more energetic and active.
Yes, Iyengar Yoga is excellent for weight loss. This form of Yoga encourages individuals to move their body and focus on the alignment of poses, which in turn helps them lose excessive weight.
One should start early in the morning before eating anything and do Iyengar Yoga for at least 30-45 mins. In addition, you should hold each pose for 6-60 seconds.
Level 1 Iyengar Yoga refers to the basics of Iyengar style Yoga. In this, beginners are taught the foundation of this special type of Yoga, following which they advance in their journey.
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