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Starting your practice as a beginner Iyengar Yoga student
What to expect when you start yoga?
Iyengar Yoga puts strong emphasis on creating clear foundations. Once a base is established, like when learning to play an instrument or a new language, you can start moving into a wider range of experiences, of postures. We tend to learn best when we have a clear structure to turn to, a foundation that helps to build confidence, fluidity and understanding.
New students start Iyengar Yoga by learning basic standing and seated Asanas (postures). There will be repetition of particular Asanas over the weeks of a course, some similar sequences to become familiar with, and then a new pose or two added each week.
You will hear us use the Sanskrit names throughout our classes. This is so that we all can have a common language when communicating about Yoga practice. You get to see where you are going next, what the next Asana is. You may find that when you hear the name of the pose often, over time your body and mind start to respond to the name and instinctively prepare, become ready for the actions required. A memory of the last time you practised is stirred, and you can continue to build on your previous experience.
Why use pose repetition?
There are poses that you will practise almost every time you do Yoga, like Dog Pose, Tadasana (Mountain Pose), some of the foundation Standing Poses, some basic sitting poses and over time, when ready, inversions. These base postures teach us how a pose is built from the ground up, how different parts of the body are brought into action, and how they fit together. Practising an Asana regularly shows us the points where we have some access, and where we are stiff and unwieldy. We can start to identify the areas that are in and out of balance.
Getting to know our bodies makes sense. Our body is the vehicle that carries us. It influences how we feel, how we breathe, what energy we have available to us. It is worth investing in. Think of how we feel when our feet are tired and sore. It affects our whole being, even our mood. There are many areas that are calling out for our attention. Mr Iyengar would often say that our body is telling us so many things, but we just don’t listen.
It is helpful to have some equipment when practising at home. A basic set would be: a good mat, two blocks, a yoga belt or strap, 2-3 blankets, or at least a few thick towels to start with. Most of us have a kitchen chair we can use as well.
If you have some basic props to use, you can more easily modify postures to the needs to your back, or knees or neck. We will explain how and why.
Starting in a live class at our Balmain studio
Balmain Yoga Studio offers 5 week Beginner class cycles. These create a firm foundation for the students. You get a good sense of what Yoga is and build confidence in practising the Asana.
It is helpful to be methodical at this early stage. If you attend at least 5 sessions the teacher will have got to know your specific requirements, and will be able to set up any modifications, or further development in a pose, as needed.
Starting through the online site, Yoga Vastu
Here we offer 5 week courses, with the idea of repeating a course, or going on to the next recommended set of classes.
These courses could also be practised as an addition to the studio live classes.
Video Courses to help you start your Iyengar Yoga practice:
Iyengar Yoga for Beginners: 6-part course
A practically prop-free, easy-to-follow 6-part course that will introduce you to the basics of Iyengar yoga.
Iyengar Yoga for Beginners with No Props
Beginners course – Iyengar yoga foundations
A five-part course which will introduce you to the very basics of Iyengar yoga.
Beginners Iyengar Yoga Foundations at Yoga Vastu