WHAT IS IYENGAR YOGA?
This year is the centennial anniversary of B.K.S. Iyengar's birth. Click here to read a Centennial Interview of James Murphy, Director of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York
B. K. S. Iyengar (1916-2014) resided in Pune, India. He authored several books including Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama, and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. His official web site is bksiyengar.com.
Iyengar yoga is a vigorous approach that emphasizes a balance between strength, flexibility and endurance. It utilizes precision in movement and attention to subtle aspects of posture and breath to develop self-awareness. There are many types of yoga. The yoga of physical exercise comes under the heading of "hatha" yoga. Yoga masters have developed many styles of hatha yoga. Iyengar yoga students named Iyengar yoga after Shri B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India. The Iyengar method is rich in it's diversity of postures and has many therapeutic applications.
Mr. Iyengar introduced the use of straps, blocks, mats, blankets and a number of other "props" to assist individuals in attaining various yoga postures. The poses are generally held longer than in other styles. Precise alignment is a hallmark of Iyengar yoga. Standing poses, basic twists and beginning inversions are introduced first. Beginners learn the geometry of the poses and are taught to cultivate the ability to concentrate. The intensity of Iyengar yoga comes from the mental attention required practicing the poses.
As one continues and the basic poses are learned, then seated extensions, back bending and inverted postures are introduced. The practice matures and awareness of the organic process develops. Actions (internal movements) are learned to refine alignment of the poses and practice becomes more penetrating, more inward, and more meditative. At this point the spiritual dimension of yoga is amplified.