Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga was developed from Hatha yoga. Iyengar yoga combines poses (asanas) and breath (pranayama) to develop strength, stamina, flexibility, mobility, and stability. In Iyengar yoga, props such as blankets, blocks, ropes, and pillows are used in order to assist in performing yoga asanas. The yoga style focuses on alignment, sequencing, and timing. In Iyengar yoga, there are over 200 poses and 14 unique breathing techniques. Every day, new poses are practised in Iyengar yoga. Practising Iyengar yoga every day brings balance to the body, mind, and spirit.

Iyengar yoga is the best yoga style for beginners, as it does not require any pre-requisites. Anyone can practise Iyengar yoga anywhere and anytime. The use of props in Iyengar yoga is also very useful for beginners. Props support and assist in performing the yoga asanas.

Yoga is a powerful and advanced level discipline that can be practised at any age. The advantages are numerous and will help the practitioner in all aspects of daily life.

Main Elements of Iyengar Yoga

Alignment: Iyengar Yoga is about quality over quantity. The main aspect on which Iyengar yoga focuses is alignment. Alignment means positioning or arrangement. In Iyengar Yoga, correct body alignment is necessary, Correct body alignment makes the body less prone to injury. The use of props is also used so that the practitioners of Iyengar Yoga can work on proper body posture and alignment.

Sequencing: The order in which postures are practised in order to ensure a structured and safe progression is referred to as sequencing. In order to receive the full benefits of Iyengar Yoga asanas should be practiced in a sequence order.

Timing: In Iyengar yoga, you are required to hold poses for a considerable amount of time so that the effects of the poses can have a better effect on the body.

History of Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga is named after B.K.S. Iyengar. B.K.S. Iyengar developed Iyengar yoga about 75 years ago. B.K.S. Iyengar is an Indian Yoga Guru who was born in 1918 in India and learned yoga from one of the most famous and reputed yoga gurus, Shri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, at a young age. Iyengar practised yoga throughout his life and developed his own style of yoga, called Iyengar Yoga. In 1966, he wrote a book called "Light on Yoga," which is based on his style of yoga (Iyengar yoga). The book was the best-selling Iyengar Yoga book. B.K.S Iyengar established the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) named for his wife in Pune, India in 1975, which the most renowned yoga school globally. B.K.S Iyengar travelled all over the world to teach Iyengar yoga to people of different countries in the world throughout his life.

Benefits of Iyengar Yoga

Following are the benefits of Iyengar Yoga:

Strengthens Muscle: Iyengar Yoga is about holding yoga postures for a few minutes, which helps in building and toning muscles. Different yoga postures target different muscles in the body. Muscle strength is required to hold Iyengar yoga poses for a significant amount of time. Practising this every day can build muscle strength.

Increases flexibility and mobility: Flexibility and mobility are important human body functions. As human beings age, they tend to lose flexibility and proper mobility in the body. Practising Iyengar yoga can help individuals regain flexibility and mobility. A study has shown that practising Iyengar yoga for about six weeks can significantly improve flexibility and mobility.

Improved mental health: Iyengar yoga increases the production of chemicals in the brain responsible for boosting mood, including serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It has been proven in a study that people who have practised for three months experience lower levels of anxiety and stress, which naturally improve mental health. Iyengar yoga is very helpful to overcome depression.

Improved body posture: Posture is the most important trait in a personality. Correct posture makes a person look more attractive and fit. Iyengar yoga is all about proper alignment of the body while doing asanas. It also uses props that help maintain the correct posture. Iyengar asanas correct the weaker or stiffer areas of the body, especially the neck and back. Iyengar yoga can be practised for good body posture.

Improves energy level: Iyengar Yoga improves blood circulation and the flow of oxygen to the brain, and it encourages relaxation in the body, which improves sleep, makes the body feel fresh, and increases the energy levels of the body.

Which is the best place to learn Iyengar Yoga in India?

The best yoga school to learn Iyengar Yoga is the one founded by the inventor of Iyengar Yoga in India. The name of the institute is Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Institute, Pune. Iyengar Yoga Institute was founded by B.K.S. Iyengar in Pune to teach Iyengar Yoga to everyone from all over the world. It is the first and best Iyengar yoga school in India. The yoga school is famously recognized. Many of the famous certified Iyengar Yoga teachers worldwide have practised at this school.

There are many places in India where Iyengar Yoga can be studied, and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand is the second-best location in India for learning any kind of yoga. The state of Uttarakhand in India is home to the city of Rishikesh. Rishikesh is situated on the right bank of the Ganga. Hindus revere the Ganga as their most sacred river. Many yoga gurus/sadhus pray and meditate on the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh, where thousands of pilgrims come each year to take a holy bath in the river Ganga. The yoga schools in India are registered yoga schools with Yoga Alliance USA, an international organisation for yoga. All the teachers are certified yoga teachers with expertise in a particular yoga field. Rishikesh is the "Yoga Capital of the World" because it is considered the birthplace of Yoga. Rishikesh is best for yoga because of the following reasons:

Many yoga schools in Rishikesh offer Iyengar yoga courses. Some of the best yoga schools in Rishikesh that offer Iyengar Yoga courses are as follows:

Iyengar Yoga FAQs

Iyengar Yoga is a combination of yoga poses (yoga asanas) and breath practise (pranayama). Iyengar Yoga focuses on proper alignment, sequence, and timing during the practice.

Iyengar Yoga was founded by B.K.S. Iyengar during the 20th century. He wrote "Light on Yoga" on Iyengar Yoga in 1966, which was the bestselling book.

The main source of Iyengar, from which Iyengar Yoga is born, is Hatha Yoga. Iyengar yoga is a form of Hatha yoga.

The main elements of Iyengar Yoga on which it focuses are:

Alignment: Correct body arrangement is necessary.

Sequencing: The order in which poses are practiced.

Timing: The duration for which the poses are held

The main purpose of Iyengar yoga is to develop strength, stamina, flexibility, mobility, and stability.

Iyengar yoga is about precision. Iyengar Yoga uses props to make the yoga asanas (postures) correct. The props that are used include blankets, ropes, bricks, chairs, blosters, blocks, sandbags, belts, and wall.

Some of the poses practised in Iyengar yoga include: 

  • Tadasana Samasthiti (Mountain Pose)
  • Tadasana urdhva hastasana (Volcano Pose)
  • Tadasana gomukhasana (Standing Cow Face Pose)
  • Tadasana Paschima Namaskar (Reverse Prayer Pose)
  • Virasana (Hero Pose)
  • Swastikasana (Auspicious Pose)
  • Adho mukha virasana (Downward facing hero pose)
  • Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
  • Parsva virasana (Heor pose)
  • Salamba Sirsasana (Supported headstand)
  • Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Iyengar yoga can be practised by people of all ages, fitness levels, and abilities.

An appropriate level of Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training course is Manadatory to become a certified registered Yoga Teacher.

The duration of different levels of the Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training course ranges from 28 days to 60 days.

The different levels of Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training courses are:

  • 100 hour Yoga Teacher Training course
  • 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training course
  • 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training course

The fee for an Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training course depends on the yoga school, accommodation type, and level of the course. Generally, the fee for an Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training course starts at USD 1000.

The best yoga schools in India for Iyengar Yoga are:

  • Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune, Maharashtra
  • Iyengar Yoga Centre, Patanjala Yoga Kendra, Rishikesh, India
  • Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
  • Om Yoga Rishikesh, Rishikesh
  • Iyengar Yoga School, Rishikesh
  • Nada Yoga School, Rishikesh
Posted by: eUttaranchal/ Brijmohan Bisht
Iyengar Yoga Photo
Iyengar Yoga
Related Articles