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The Iyengar way

Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Iyengar Yoga method

A few weeks ago my lovely friend and fellow yoga teacher Jana and me followed an Iyengar workshop with Senior Iyengar Teacher Billy Konrad. Enjoying it tremendously, learning a lot, deepening our practice, but also coming to the realization how little we still actually know of this amazing spiritual discipline called Yoga.

All my fellow yogi (teacher) friends and everybody that has studied with me so far, knows my immense respect for the Iyengar style of Yoga and it’s intense focus on precise & structural alignment. You can then imagine my enormous excitement when I found out that Billy Konrad is hosting a 3year Iyengar Teacher Training and I am going to follow this amazing journey! I have been waiting for this opportunity for so long and like Billy put it “sometimes opportunities come in strange packages. Like a bald American man in Lisbon! “ :-)

IYENGAR YOGA named after and developed by B. K. S. Iyengar, is a form of Hatha Yoga that has an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture (asana) and breath control (pranayama). The development of strength, mobility and stability is gained through the asanas.

B.K.S. Iyengar has systematised over 200 classical yoga poses and 14 different types of Pranayama (with variations of many of them) ranging from the basic to advanced. This helps ensure that students progress gradually by moving from simple poses to more complex ones and develop their mind, body and spirit step-by-step.

Iyengar Yoga often, but not always, makes use of props, such as belts, blocks, and blankets, as aids in performing asanas (postures). The props enable students to perform the asanas correctly, minimising the risk of injury or strain, and making the postures accessible to both young and old.

Iyengar Yoga is firmly based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga as expounded by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras.

FOCUS, A form of Hatha Yoga, it focuses on the structural alignment of the physical body through the development of asanas. Through the practice of a system of asanas, it aims to unite the body, mind and spirit for health and well-being. This discipline is considered a powerful tool to relieve the stresses of modern-day life which in turn can help promote total physical and spiritual well-being.

It can be said that Iyengar differs from the other styles of yoga by three key elements: technique, sequence and timing.

Technique refers to the precision of the body alignment and the performance of pranayama.

Sequence means the sequences in which asanas and breathing exercises are practiced. Following the specific sequence is important in achieving the desired result, because only the combination of certain poses and breathing techniques can ensure the expected positive effect.

Timing is the third key element which defines the time spent in each pose or pranayama.Iyengar Yoga is characterized by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment.

Iyengar pioneered the use of "props" such as cushions, benches, blocks, straps and sand bags, which function as aids allowing beginners to experience asanas more easily and fully than might otherwise be possible without several years of practice. Props also allow elderly, injured, tired or ill students to enjoy the benefits of many asanas via fully "supported" methods requiring less muscular effort.

Unlike more experiential approaches where students are encouraged to independently "find their way" to the asanas by imitating the teacher, an Iyengar Yoga class is highly verbal and precise, with misalignments and errors actively corrected.

Iyengar teachers complete at least two years of rigorous training for the introductory certificate. They may complete subsequent intermediate levels and senior levels of certification, potentially entailing a decade or more of training.

I am really looking forward to starting this new journey and being able to share with all of my students a long the way. Always learning, always sharing, always keeping an open beginners mind.

Namaste, peace, love & light*Shaini

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