B.K.S. Iyengar was acknowledged as yoga’s most proficient and knowledgeable practitioner—an inspiration to countless students and yoga practitioners around the globe.
During more than seventy years of teaching, he developed the innovative and inspired method of yoga, which is taught under his name. Iyengar Yoga is not only one of the world’s most widely practiced methods of yoga; its principles are now incorporated into the teaching of yoga under many names as well as into many other forms of exercise, therapy and movement.
Mr. Iyengar was also a pioneer in the therapeutic applications of yoga to the treatment of many medical conditions and physical problems.
Medical professionals and research in many disciplines and countries have recognized the efficacy of his method. His revolutionary use of yoga props allows students of all ages and abilities to work to their fullest potential while overcoming limitations. It is perhaps his greatest achievement that B.K.S. Iyengar has made yoga accessible to and relevant for everyone.
Iyengar yoga is based in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - which guides you towards peace of mind and ultimately to bliss (Samadhi). Many people split yoga into 4 different types - Raja, Jnana, Bhakti and Hatha. B. K. S. Iyengar considered all types as a whole, not to be practiced individually. Iyengar yoga is known as the “yoga of action” also known as “Kriya Yoga”. Kriya yoga has three tiers, Tapas, Svadhyaya and Isvara Pranidhana. If you would like to learn more on the philosophy of Iyengar try reading Iyengar’s book - Light on Yoga
Iyengar Yoga focuses on three aspects: alignment, sequencing and timing
When executing postures (asana), correct body alignment allows the body to develop harmoniously in anatomically correct way so that the student suffers no injury or pain. All bodies are different, with different weakness and strengths and it is important to realise correct alignment can be different for everybody. Because of this, the use of props such as straps, blocks, blankets and chairs is a major part of Iyengar Yoga. These support the body in different postures so that you can work on a posture in a safe and effective way.
This is not just to gain the proper functioning of the body, but when aligned also with the breath you achieve balance in the mind, emotions and senses.
In order to get a powerful cumulative effect, Iyengar yoga has a strong focus on practicing asanas in a particular and progressive order so that one can progress in a safe and structured way, gaining flexibility, strength and sensitivity in mind, body and spirit along the way.
Unlike Vinyasa Flow, where you flow from one asana to the next, Iyengar Yoga is more focused on holding poses for considerable lengths of time to let the effects of the poses go deeper.