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Why start Iyengar Yoga and what to expect
There are lots of different types of yoga available: hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, flow yoga, laughing yoga. What makes Iyengar yoga different?
What is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar Yoga is a method of yoga practice devised by BKS Iyengar, who based his practice on Yoga Master Krishnamacharya. It was the yoga students themselves that started to call this approach Iyengar Yoga, in order to distinguish it from other styles. Students were clear that this method was very specific, more detailed, a real learning. It is good for new students to be aware that teachers of Iyengar Yoga have all undergone many years of practice and training before starting to teach their own classes.
Iyengar Yoga therefore has a long lineage behind it, and yet is modern in the sense that innovation sits together with tradition and classical yoga structures. Yoga is, in Mr Iyengar
What to expect from an Iyengar yoga class?
Iyengar Yoga classes aim to teach students the basic Asanas (Poses) and then to build up their understanding of each pose as well as their capacity to go further. Students will continue to develop through consistent practice. We become more self-motivated if we can see how small steps, even 15 minutes of a particular set of poses, can make a huge difference to our day.
Iyengar Yoga classes follow certain sequences and focus on different sets of Asana groups. These sequences are based on principles. There is a beginning, a centre and and end to each sequence. The postures first aim at awakening our attention and bringing our focus to our mat and to each session, then at stabilising our attention and bringing opening and balance to our bodies and then finishing each session by coming to stillness, to neutrality.
The sequences will vary from week to week, and they will also be different according to the level of the class. More experienced levels will take on more complex Asanas or will take the students deeper into the challenges of a session, whilst less experienced levels will be focussed on building our understanding of the poses practiced, developing a good foundation.
In class, and over time, a student learns, through practice, how to identify their own obstacles and restrictions and then how to get to a more balanced state, both physically and mentally.
Will the sequences always be the same?
Iyengar Yoga is varied and rich. It can be dynamic or still, energising or quietening. A student will, importantly, be taught how and when to modify and to adapt certain postures if they are experiencing particular restrictions (eg. necks, knees), if they are in their menstrual cycle, or just have ageing joints to work with.
Iyengar Yoga is for everyone. Come and try a series of 5 sessions and see for yourself how it works, and whether this is a method of Yoga that will work for you.