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What is Iyengar Yoga?

B.K.S. Iyengar, born in 1918, developed Iyengar Yoga. As a young man, Iyengar studied with Krishnamacharya, the same guru as Sri K Patthabi Jois. But as many great practitioners, Iyengar developed his own innovative approach to asana practice. Through a lifetime of dedicated teaching, Iyengar gained a profound understanding of the human body. Iyengar yoga incorporates these insights, teaching precise alignment based upon detailed knowledge of the muscular-skeletal system and making yoga accessible to all body types and constitutions. I am infinitely grateful for all I learned from Iyengar teachers, particularly for the three years of exacting and demanding teacher training I did with the incomparable Elizabeth Connolly of Penzance!

Iyengar refined the use of props such as blocks, belts, bolsters, chairs, blankets and the wall as aids to practice. An Iyengar approach to yoga incorporates them often--sometimes to make postures more accessible to beginners, sometimes to enhance their benefits for more experienced practitioners. An Iyengar practice can take many different forms and includes hundreds of variations of asanas. Often strong and exacting, it can also be gentle and restorative, or therapeutic, with postures that promote the healing of various physical and mental disorders. With its attention to detail, Iyengar yoga has influenced many other methods and styles.

Though Iyengar is mainly known for his brilliant contribution to the science of asana, Iyengar yoga is not “merely physical”, as some people erroneously believe. In his wonderful books, “Light on Yoga” and “Light on Pranayama”, in his translation and commentary of the Yoga Sutras, and in his beautiful short book “The Tree of Yoga”, B.K.S. Iyengar explains the full tradition of yoga, its philosophical and spiritual as well as practical application.

Om Shanti

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