What is Iyengar Yoga?
The hallmarks of BKS Iyengar’s teaching and practice: attention to detail and precision in action, intelligence of sequencing and the artful use of props.
B.K.S. Iyengar was born in 1918 and was sent to Pune, India at age eighteen to spread the teachings of yoga. A fortuitous meeting with the violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin in 1952 was instrumental in introducing the Western World to Iyengar and his teachings. Today it is estimated there are more than ten million Iyengar practitioners with more than 534 Iyengar Studios in 63 different countries throughout the world.
Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar passed away at age 95 in 2014. Today his daughter Smt. Geeta and son Sri Prashant S. Iyengar are the directors of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute located in Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Photo by Leslie Hogya
Iyengar yoga is meant for everyone and is a way of life which may be practiced by all. The use of props, designed by B.K.S. Iyengar, such as wooden supports, belts, blankets, blocks, chairs, walls, and ropes helps the beginning practitioner to do the poses or asanas safely and more deeply than would be possible without the assist.
A large emphasis is given to precise direction and correct alignment in the asanas. This precision builds strength, stamina, balance, and a new sense of well-being. The science of sequencing and timing are unique to Iyengar Yoga in which different groups of asanas are taught by very well trained certified teachers.
What are the Benefits of Yoga? Why Practice Yoga?
A dedicated yoga practice will slowly bring major changes into one's life offering a deep sense of inner peace and a calm mind with the ability to focus clearly, to see life and it's situations as they truly are. Passion, enthusiasm, and self confidence will be found in all that you do. Stability and balance in mood will create utter joy and happiness in life. Physical and mental illness can be eliminated.
The following list of benefits was taken from Dr. Timothy McCall's book Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing
- Increases Flexibility
- Strengthens Muscles
- Improves Balance
- Improves Immune Function
- Improves Posture
- Improves Lung Function
- Leads to Slower and Deeper Breathing
- Discourages Mouth Breathing
- Increases Oxygenation of Tissues
- Improves Joint Health
- Nourishes Intervertebral Disks
- Improves Return of Venous Blood
- Increases Circulation of Lymph
- Improves Function of the Feet
- Increases Control of Bodily Functions
- Strengthens Bones
- Conditions the Cardiovascular System
- Promotes Weight Loss
- Relaxes the Nervous System
- Improves the Function of the Nervous System
- Improves Brain Function
- Lowers Levels of the Stress Hormone Cortisol
- Lowers Blood Sugar
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Improves Levels of Cholesterol and Triglycerides
- Improves Bowel Function
- Releases Unconscious Muscular Gripping
- Uses Imagery to Effect Change in the Body
- Relieves Pain
- Lowers Need for Medication
- Fosters Healing Relationships
- Improves Psychological Health
- Leads to Healthier Habits
- Fosters Spiritual Growth
- Encourages Involvement in Your Own Healing