The practice of Iyengar Yoga is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, an Indian mystic who lived around 1700 years ago. His words guide practitioners towards peace of mind and harmony.
The method now known to the world was developed by Yogacharya Iyengar of Pune, India, who has studied and practised for over 70 years.
Iyengar yoga is characterised by specific techniques, in particular:
- Very precise alignment in the execution of the postures (Asanas)
- Sequencing Asanas towards a desired result
- Holding the Asanas for a precise length of time
- Using props to help a student gain the maximum benefit from each asana
Although each teacher chooses which postures they want to teach, the teaching of the postures in an Iyengar Yoga class is basically the same wherever you go.
Classes typically start with a few moments of quiet to prepare the mind, followed by some preliminary movements to mobilise the body, and engender a focussed, concentrated state of mind.
Standing postures teach students the fundamentals of how to adjust and align the body correctly - essential before more advanced postures can be successfully mastered. Many classes are designed to teach particular types of postures, such as backbends or forward bends standings, poses taught in a sequential programme throughout the month. Students report that after a class they feel revitalized and full of energy.