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Shining a Light on Iyengar Yoga

Shining a Light on Iyengar Yoga

“If the foundation is firm,
the building can withstand calamities.
The practice of Yoga is the foundation,
so that the Self is not shaken under any circumstances.”

– B.K.S. Iyengar

With the world in a tumultuous state these days, it’s more important than ever to fortify our inner strength and foundation. Iyengar Yoga is an excellent path to create more stability. Along with Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar was one of the two most famous students of the Father of Modern Yoga, T. Krishnamacharya. Both teachers are credited with bringing their interpretation of the Eight-Limbed Yoga Path to the West. If you love Vinyasa Yoga, thank Ashtanga Yoga founder Pattabhi Jois because Vinyasa flow is a derivative of his style. Iyengar went in another direction.

The author of Light on Yoga, one of the most revered yoga books, developed his style due to necessity from his own experience as a sickly child. As a result, he experimented with props like blocks and straps and integrated them into a slower alignment-based practice. Iyengar believed yoga was for everybody regardless of physical or mental challenges. He created a yoga practice where significant time is spent in each asana (physical posture) with props to support those with limited flexibility. Imagine spending a sixty-minute class focusing solely on Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). 

Through extended holds with detailed alignment from the feet to the crown of the head, students learn to quiet their mind and gain more clarity and calm. Instead of flowing with the breath in faster-paced classes, Iyengar aims to slow you down to truly develop awareness of physical sensations and penetrate deeper into the mind’s capacity. Iyengar was unique in that he wanted his students to master the physical postures before teaching pranayama (breath control) because pranayama is more advanced. His books Light on Pranayama and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali delve deeper his shared wisdom. 

The therapeutic aspect of Iyengar’s teaching helps students rehabilitate from injury and rebuild their physical fitness. Just as Iyengar used props in order to build his own strength and flexibility, he recommends props for students to find an accessible and safe practice. He believed that props allow you to progress further because you aren’t risking injury by trying to achieve a particular alignment. 

This week, you can deepen your understanding of this style of yoga with two classes from Dana Hanizeski, and a new class in Spanish from Noemi using the Iyengar chair. Desiree Rumbaugh, an Iyengar certified teacher, also shares an Iyengar inspired class where you will learn healthy mechanics in postures. 

Enjoy these Iyengar yoga classes in both English and Spanish!

Introduction to Iyengar Yoga with Dana Hanizeski

Iyengar Yoga for the Hips& Legs with Dana Hanizeski

Strengthen, Protect, & Heal the Lower Back with Desiree Rumbaugh

Guerreros Usando Silla with Noemi Nuñez

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