Iyengar yoga

 To the extent that yoga offers both understanding and a blueprint for action, it offers them everywhere, to all people, at all times.

BKS Iyengar, ‘Light on Life’ p.236.

“The practice of yogasana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga. While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end. Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit.”

Yoga is one of the oldest systems of personal development in the world. This system of balancing the body, mind and spirit was formulated by ancient yogis, who realised a way to utilise all our inner resources to live in harmony with ourselves and the environment. Yoga practice both relaxes and energizes the body and mind and brings vitality, flexibility, strength, concentration, self-confidence and mental calm.

The world’s most widely practised method of Yoga is that taught by Yogacharya Sri B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India. Born in 1918, in Bellur, India, he has studied, practised and taught yoga for over 70 years, evolving precise posture (asana) and breathing (pranayama) techniques with a firm philosophical base in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Patanjali lived about 1700 years ago, in India. He is credited with texts on Ayurvedic medicine and grammar as well as the yoga sutras which encapsulate yoga philosophy in just 196 sutras (aphorisms).

BKS Iyengar died in August 2014, at the age of 95, still engaged in regular yoga practice.  His teaching tradition is continued by his son Prashant, daughter Geeta and grand-daughter Abijhata.

The system of teaching is methodical and progressive, emphasising detailed correctness and absolute safety. When necessary, it uses supports called “props” that allow students to progress in their practice of postures safely at their own pace, mentally and physically. Beginners work in a basic way on simple postures according to their capabilities. As they develop they then move on to more refined ways of working as well as to more complex postures. Yoga is suitable for all types of people and all levels of fitness. Practising yoga helps overcome and prevent many stresses, strains, aches and pains. It promotes a firm foundation for health and well-being.

All Iyengar yoga teachers are trained to rigorously high standards. After training regularly with a qualified teacher for a minimum of three consecutive years, candidates undertake a two year teacher training programme followed by the Introductory Level 2 assessment. Once qualified, teachers must continue training regularly and complete professional development training each year in order to maintain their membership of the Association. In this way the care and precision that characterises Iyengar yoga is maintained. These high teaching standards are part of the reason Iyengar Yoga is the most widely performed method of yoga worldwide. Our Certification Mark is the guarantee of this quality.

To find out more about Iyengar Yoga, visit Iyengar Yoga UK.

Laura Potts is a certified Intermediate (junior 3) Iyengar Yoga teacher with many years of experience as student and teacher.

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