Iyengar Yoga, The Iyengar System, is the world’s most practised form of Yoga. Unlike some modern Yoga franchises, you may be surprised to hear that, as we tend not to be great at self-promotion. Iyengar Yoga teachers are trained over many years, unlike the current ‘200-hour’ schools that have sprung up.
Iyengar Yoga is a popular method as it is very methodical and safe. Iyengar Yoga is based on the ancient art of Hatha Yoga (the ‘Yoga of Effort’) and is not influenced by the ‘New Age’ practices that some other schools have adopted. As you learn, there is a gradual, logical progression.
We begin with a moment to centre ourselves in class, then warm up and perform various poses (listed below). There’s also an awareness of breathing. The breathwork is considered more advanced than asana. Towards the end of the class, we watch the breath in Pranayama (guiding the breath). We finish with relaxation.
The Iyengar Yoga Postures
The asanas (postures) are designed to bring health to every aspect of the body and are categorised as follows:
Standing (uttistha sthiti)
Sitting (upavistha sthiti)
Forward extension (paschima pratana sthiti)
Lateral extension (parivrtta sthiti)
Inversions (viparita sthiti)
Backward extension (purva pratana)
Supine (supta sthiti)
Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers
Some teachers say they have been ‘influenced by’ Iyengar Yoga or ‘studied with’ Iyengar Yoga teachers. Unfortunately, these claims confuse students. Neither of these sayings means that they are qualified to teach Iyengar Yoga. It is a trademark; only Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers can use the logo on their websites. Please check for this logo to verify that the teacher is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher.
The training of Iyengar Yoga Teachers is comprehensive, and we undergo continuous monitoring and professional development. Many Yoga Schools that train teachers have a 100% pass rate, unlike Iyengar Yoga.
Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar (Guruji) was taught Yoga by the father of modern Hatha Yoga, Krishnamacharya. He developed it to be the world’s most practised form. In turn, his students that have become certified teachers have this ‘sacred thread’ to connect them with Yoga’s most ancient lineage. B.K.S. Iyengar‘s book from 1967 ‘Light on Yoga’ was the first of its kind to be published and widely read in the West. His student and good friend, the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, promoted it.
B.K.S. Iyengar found the meaning of the Yoga sutras through his practical search and regular Yoga practice until his death at 95 (he passed away in August 2014). Thus, he has helped all experience the wisdom of the Yoga sutras and the many benefits of Hatha Yoga (‘the yoga of effort’). His teaching Style has been named ‘Iyengar Yoga’ and is now followed by certified teachers worldwide.