What Is Iyengar Yoga?

Iyengar Yoga - Rope Wall

I have noticed that our new students always ask us about Iyengar Yoga (pronounced “eye-yen-gar”). What is Iyengar Yoga, and what benefits they might receive from taking one of the classes. So, I decided to write a quick blog to give a brief overview of this form of yoga which I love so much. Iyengar Yoga’s alignment focus, incorporation of props, timing in the postures and sequencing, all make it a very intelligent – thinking – transforming – tradition. Iyengar is different in its use of props – Iyengar rope wall, blocks, blankets, straps, sand bags – almost everything you could think of – all geared to make postures accessible to everyone and also utilized to perform the poses longer, deeper, and with more benefit.

Iyengar Yoga - Rope WallWe feel what we are supposed to feel with the props – we understand how we should be working that back leg or how we should be opening our shoulders. The ropes may change the balance quotient, but we hold the pose longer and work deeper. The use of the props makes Iyengar a perfect tradition for a new student or a student recovering from injury. At the same time, Iyengar is so popular with advanced practitioners because they learn how to fully engage in the pose and receive maximum benefits. Iyengar is unique and you are always energized, inspired or renewed. If you think that Virabhadrasna I (Warrior I) or Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Legged Forward Bend) are easy poses, then you haven’t taken Tammy Gingerella’s Sat 8am or Maria Reyes’ Tue 7pm classes. Come check them out!  If you are new to yoga, you’ll love honing the basics with this degree of intelligent focus andif you are a veteran, you’ll love advancing deeper!

The Iyengar Yoga tradition was developed and popularized by B.K.S Iyengar – now 94 years old and still teaching after 70 years. Iyengar is probably the most widely recognized style of yoga in the Western world and has influenced nearly every other style we see in the West. I personally love Iyengar yoga because I appreciate its “intelligent” approach and I value the comprehensive training of my master teachers – I never stop learning something different, inspiring or powerful.

Big thanks to Scott Hobbs, my first Iyengar teacher for his continued inspiration!  I value his tremendous knowledge, skill, passion and humor.  Yes, Iyenger is best with a little humor as you are holding that Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle) for what seems like forever!