What is Iyengar Yoga and how do I practice it?
Iyengar Yoga was named so after its founder, B. K. S. Iyengar and it’s a specific type of yoga that puts a lot of emphasis on practicing specific body positions, which are named “asanas” together with the specific ways of breathing while performing the asanas.
The first thing you need to know is that you don’t have to be an expert in yoga and gymnastics to be able to practice Iyengar yoga because its founder created a scale with over 200 positions and 14 different ways of breathing. You will start from the most basic ones and practice your way up, until you reach the highest ones, which are also the most difficult ones.
Why are body positions so important?
The iyengar yoga is a type of yoga that focuses specifically on body positions. If a body is aligned correctly from an anatomical point of view, then it will heal much faster, the stress will be released much faster, thus allowing full relaxation and the most important part, allowing your body to reach its full potential. Some of these positions involve props, which vary according to a specific asana. Some require the use of a blanket, a belt, chairs or other such items, but as mentioned beforehand, don’t be afraid: at the yoga teacher training in India at Mahi Yoga in India, you will take everything one step at a time.
Benefits of practicing iyengar yoga
As we all know, yoga focuses on bringing the body in a perfect anatomical alignment so as to allow the body to heal itself faster, to lessen joint pains and other such aches and many more. Practicing the asanas correctly, with an experienced Iyengar yoga teacher, can help heal various conditions that have been classified as “serious” and maybe “incurable” ones. Each asana must be practiced for a certain amount of time, to allow the body enough time to get used to the position.
The specific breathing you must follow while practicing these asanas is also very important because it allows the lungs to expand their capacity, it helps bring out all the senses in your body (your sense of touch is highly increased, the smelling sense becomes more powerful than before, etc) and it helps you feel everything in your body: the inside organs, it helps better the blood flow and many more. There are numerous benefits of practicing iyengar yoga.
The asanas and the Pranayama (correct ways of breathing)
As I mentioned previously, the asanas and the different ways of breathing allow the body to fully relax and to reach a balance between the body and the mind. The most important state your body will go in if you practice your asanas right is one where the body is still for long periods of time, but, unlike the usual times, when your mind will become sad, depressed and lethargic, your mind will be fully aware and awake. You will feel everything; your senses will become more powerful, you will feel every gush of air in the room and many more. This is why yoga in general is such a quiet and relaxing art, because your body will be still in a certain position, but your mind will be fully awake, aware of everything that happens around it.
The asanas every iyengar yoga teacher will focus on are very important because through them, you will also get the chance to learn what it is like to meditate, really meditate. However, in order to reach that state of complete meditation, the one where your body sits still for hours as well as your mind is extremely difficult, something that has been said by B.K.S. Iyengar as well. The reason is that the mind is very restless and acts like water: no matter how much you stop it from flowing outside of the place where it is confined, it will always find a tiny crack that will allow it to flow freely. This is why only after years of practice you may reach this state of complete meditation.
The first step towards meditation is practicing iyengar yoga that will allow you to get your body used to sitting still for hours in a certain asana, practicing your breathing correctly to intensify the sensations and all the five senses, as well as make your mind become sharper and much more aware of the things around it.
Practicing the asanas correctly has an effect on your body as well as on your mind. While attending the 200 hour yoga teacher training certification courses in Goa, India, you will also learn how to become more self aware and a non-violent person. Yoga is a peaceful art and it teaches that violence will only affect your body in a negative way, which is why you should avoid it as much as possible.
What makes iyengar yoga so important?
There are numerous types of yoga, each focusing on a certain element in order to make the body and the mind come in a balance. The iyengar yoga’s role is to help the body induce that near-meditation state where the body and the mind are in a constant balance through three very important things: the specific positions, namely the asanas, the correct breathing pattern specific to each asana and the timing, because each position has to be maintained for a specific period of time in order for it to reach its aim. All of this and more you will learn while attending the yoga teacher training in Goa, Dharamsala and Rishikhesh at Mahi Yoga, India.