What Is Iyengar Yoga?

Yoga is a great way to benefit your mind and body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga can decrease stress and anxiety levels, whilst also strengthening the body and boosting the immune system. 

If you’re thinking about starting up yoga, then you may be feeling overwhelmed by all the different aspects, terms and jargon used. One of those terms you may have come across is Iyengar yoga. 

What Is Iyengar Yoga

So, let’s take a look at what this is, what the purpose is and what benefits you get with this kind of yoga. Read on to find out. 

What Is Iyengar Yoga?

Iyengar yoga is so named as it was originally formed by B.K.S. Iyengar in his 1966 book ‘Light On Yoga’. This type of yoga focuses on exercise with a particular emphasis on the performance of the yoga positions and postures with detail and precision. 

Iyengar yoga encompasses precise and clear yoga postures, paying a lot of attention to the technical alignment of the poses to further bring the mind inwards. 

The technique with this type of yoga is therefore very precise, with much slower movements, focusing on the quality rather than the quantity of the poses. This can help you build strength, flexibility and stamina.  

What Is The Purpose Of Iyengar Yoga?

The main purpose of this type of yoga is based on the yoga sutras that work to further connect the body with the mind. Iyengar strongly believed that yoga can help us mentally, and that a balanced body leads to a balanced mind.

As a result, this type of yoga blends together meditation with movement. 

This kind of yoga focuses on your alignment, and so by performing this yoga, you can strengthen the muscles in the body that are essential to your posture. This includes the back, core muscles and legs. 

One of the other things about iyengar yoga is that even if you are a beginner at this type of yoga, it can give you a great workout for your body, by working on technical poses to stretch the muscles.

In addition, you can also become more mindful and self aware during iyengar yoga. But the benefits do not end there. Let’s take a look. 

Benefits Of Iyengar Yoga

There are a variety of benefits to iyengar yoga. Some of which we have listed below! 

Improves Flexibility

This is one of the main and most well known benefits of performing yoga. Particularly with iyengar yoga, as it is considered more exercise based than meditation based.

You will stretch out the spine, legs, arms and back, which over time will improve your flexibility in these areas. 

Boosts Energy Levels

When you practice yoga often, you can decrease fatigue levels, as the increased blood flow to the brain can trigger the release of endorphins, boosting your energy levels and immune system. 

Increases Strength

You will need to hold the poses for longer, and ensure you are doing them perfectly, which helps strengthen the muscles and core. This can also tone up your body and give you a physical workout. 

Improves Posture

As this yoga focuses on alignment, regularly practicing this form of exercise can overall improve your posture. This is particularly good for areas such as the neck, back and spine. 

Decreases Stress

When you perform iyengar yoga, your body produces a mood boating chemical in the brain which can help lower levels of stress and anxiety, and overall make you feel more calm. 

Lowers Blood Pressure

Iyengar Yoga actually triggers the relaxation response in your body, as we are typically in our ‘flight or fight’ response far too often.

You may be interested to know that iyengar yoga can also lower your blood pressure as it slows your heart rate down, keeping your heart healthy and decreasing your risk of cardiovascular problems. 

Suitable For Everyone

The other great thing about Iyengar yoga is that it is great for anyone of all ages and skill levels. You can be a beginner and still get a lot out of it.

It’s also suitable for people with chronic pain as it can decrease pain levels and improve the body’s overall alignment.

What Is Iyengar Yoga

How To Practice Iyengar Yoga

So, how can you practice Iyengar Yoga for yourself? Well, to start you can sign up to a class in your area. If you don’t have any near you, then there are many resources online for practicing iyengar yoga at home. We recommend watching video tutorials to get you started.

Typically speaking, you can mix and match the iyengar yoga poses, but most classes would start with meditation as a warm up, followed by standing poses and postures. Finally, you would end with restorative yoga poses. 

In iyengar yoga, you would have to hold them for extended periods of time, so you may have to practice for a while before mastering it.

For beginners, it is recommended that you use props such as blocks to help you get into proper alignment and balance the poses well. 

You can also visit Yoga Selection for Iyengar Yoga practice sequences to try out at home. 

Summary

To summarize, Iyengar yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on aligning the body through poses to exercise the back, core and leg muscles.

The primary purpose of this yoga is to emphasize the technical poses and ensure they are precise and detailed, holding them for longer.

Iyengar yoga can also involve meditation, as the belief is that the body and mind can be further connected through this type of yoga. 

The good news is that this kind of yoga can be done by people of all ages and skill levels with a little bit of practice and a good instructor. With iyengar yoga, you can improve your flexibility, strength, boost your mood and decrease stress and anxiety levels.

Try out iyengar yoga today to see the benefits for yourself!

Angela Frederik
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