Iyengar yoga is accessible to anyone. Regular practice increases suppleness, strength and stamina, improves posture and concentration and quietens the mind to promote well-being.
The Iyengar yoga technique emphasises precision and alignment. Quality of movement is prioritised. You learn to move with ease in your body while working within your limitations. This makes the yoga postures (asanas) safe to perform.
Use of Props
Yoga Postures are held for longer than in some other methods, allowing tight muscles to lengthen and relax, and helping to focus awareness. Yoga Props such as blankets, blocks and belts may be used to improve your understanding of poses or to help if you have difficulties.
The practice is progressive, building a stable foundation before attempting more demanding work. Standing yoga poses build a strong foundation for practice before moving on to a range of sitting and reclining yoga postures, forward extensions, inversions, twists, backbends and arm balances.
Each group of yoga postures develops the body in different yet reciprocal ways and has different qualities: grounding, energising, strengthening, stimulating, calming. Yoga Classes at all levels devote time to relaxation. Once the body and mind are strong enough to sit or lie for extended periods without distraction, students learn pranayama (yogic breathing).
No two yoga classes are the same: teachers select yoga poses from the different groups of poses to emphasise the various aspects of the practice.
Integrated mental and physical practice
Iyengar yoga has been described as meditation in action. Practising the yoga postures with awareness has an integrating effect and works to harmonise mind and body.
“The practice of yogasana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga. While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end,” says B.K.S. Iyengar. “Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit.”