What is Iyengar yoga?
This yoga is best suited for beginners. This is because it focuses on flexibility through body alignment by the use of various positions. It utilizes your own body strength and helps achieve proper balancing and alignment of the body. The balancing technique achieved through the iyengar yoga is related to both the mind and the body. This yoga teaches exact posture by the practice of various asanas.
This is the form of yoga that aims at medical practice through precise body alignment. This yoga was discovered by B.K.S. Iyengar who, when he was sick discovered ways to cure himself of any disorders. This was brought about by using his mind, body and soul for balancing his internal systems and also through pranayama which is a part of this yoga.
Benefits of Iyengar yoga
Iyengar yoga has many benefits which are listed as follows:
- As mentioned earlier, if you are a beginner in yoga practice, this yoga is best suited as it starts with learning body alignment and posture. This is the most important feature in every form of yoga.
- This yoga increases flexibility and strength.
- It helps the individual use their own strength and thus teaches balancing skills.
- Pranayama is practiced a great deal in this yoga and this helps in the coordination of the mind and the body.
- It provides relief from stress and anxiety.
- It helps treat serious medical conditions like arthritis, back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- It also aids in the treatment of brain related disorders like depression and multiple sclerosis.
- It enhances the immune system.
- Iyengar yoga has many benefits for pregnant women which are listed as follows:
- During pregnancy many women suffer from strain and stress. Iyengar yoga reduces the stress levels and promotes relaxation. This is good for both the mother and the baby.
- It is believed to help pregnant women enjoy their pregnancy more.
- This yoga helps strengthen the pelvis and reduce back pain which is most common during pregnancy.
- The breathing technique followed while practicing this yoga helps improve blood circulation for both the mother and the unborn baby.
- It also strengthens the internal organs pre and post pregnancy.
- It takes the pressure of the lower back and creates flexibility in the joints.
- It helps in the development of stronger arms and legs during late pregnancy which makes it easier for both the mother and baby.
This yoga has several other benefits, which are common to the other forms of yoga. However, since it’s a beginners’ yoga it is unique in the way it is laid out.
Poses and positions of Iyengar yoga
Unlike the other forms of yoga, Iyengar yoga does not involve flowing from one pose into another. It may require that the individual may have to hold each pose for at least 60 seconds to develop that extra balance, flexibility and a great posture. This is to achieve the main aim of this yoga – perfect body alignment. Hence, it is often important to start this yoga under the guidance of an instructor.
Since this yoga stresses a great deal on alignment, it may be difficult for a beginner to perform the various postures which help in balancing the body. To establish a perfect alignment, this yoga stresses on the use of props like wooden gadgets, cushions, benches, straps, belts, sand bags and foam blocks. These props help in attaining a perfect posture.
Most of the poses practiced in this form of yoga are standing poses as they build strong muscles and improve balance and coordination. Once a student or an early practitioner of yoga specializes in Iyengar yoga, they can alternate it with ashtanga yoga, power yoga, bikram yoga etc to establish the workout effect on the body.
If you are seeking to learn or start yoga and develop that extra bit of flexibility and it you are seeking a sound balance between your mind, body and soul, this is the yoga for you.