I admin it, I’m an Iyengar girl. I have a book written by B.K.S. Iyengar’s protégés over 35 years ago. It’s old and yellowed, but I still refer to it. I love the precision of the poses, and I love how they tell you to get into the poses properly. Things like “pull the skin on the front of your thighs up”, or “pull the kidneys in”, or “grip the bone with your calf muscle”.
If you’re doing a seated forward bend, you push the heel and ball of your foot away from you, and pull your toes and the arch of your foot towards you. If you’re not in tune with your body, these instructions probably make you scratch your head. But if you are, they are exactly what you need to hear to help you get the most out of the poses.
A derivative of Hatha Yoga, Ivengar Yoga is the creation of B.K.S. Iyengar. It’s built on what’s known as the eight limbs of yoga. Those eight limbs of yoga are listed below. They’re based on morality with our fellow man – to seek peace and to be honest.
- Yama: Universal morality
- Niyama: Personal observances (morality within ourselves – finding inner peace)
- Asanas: Body postures (poses)
- Pranayama: Breathing exercises, and control of prana
- Pratyahara: Control of the senses
- Dharana: Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
- Dhyana: Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
- Samadhi: Union with the Divine
The third limb is the poses of yoga, the movements that are engaged in upon practicing the art. Next is Pranayama, the breathing limb of yoga, followed by centering deep with the body to the exclusion of whatever clamors for attention. Afterwards is being able to focus – to set your mind on the yoga and not letting your mind get sidetracked by things in and out of the realm of the body.
The seventh limb is meditation – contemplating and developing tranquility, and the final limb is understanding. It’s an agreement of the mind, a unity of the body and spirit that reaches a level of discernment you wouldn’t have without the practice of yoga.
Iyengar Yoga is a type of yoga that anyone can learn through practice. One of the key elements of this style of yoga is the great focus on the preciseness found in the poses. The poses are so important that certain objects are allowed to be used in order to reach the preciseness of the pose. The postures or poses in this kind of yoga aren’t practiced in a random manner but are meant to be worked in an order that brings union to the mind and body.
The poses (also known as asanas) offer many benefits for the physical, the mental and the spiritual part of each user. The asanas learned in each type of yoga always has a point, a specific purpose to enhance something within the person practicing the moves.
Each kind of yoga shows how to stretch out the muscles, how to limber them up and this creates flexibility throughout the body. Yoga increases strength and endurance and offers a calm that aids in reducing stress. Since we all know the downside to living with stress, yoga can help improve the way the body reacts to stress.
Tune Out The Noise
With Iyengar Yoga, you’ll learn how to tune out to the noise that plays in your head. We have them – those annoyances that can jack your blood pressure up and make you feel like you need a thirty hour day or another set of hands to get everything on your have-to-do list done. With practice, you can learn how to center yourself through yoga and focus on what’s most important in your life.