What is yoga?
Yoga is an Indian classical art and science; a discipline for the body, mind and spirit. The primary aim of yoga is to restore the mind to simplicity and peace. This sense of calm comes from the practice of asanas and pranayama. Yoga comprises of eight branches: rules for social and personal conduct, the poses (asana), breath control, through to meditation and then to "reach an accomplished state".
Regular practice increases suppleness, strength and stamina, improves posture and concentration and quietens the mind to promote well-being. Unlike other forms of exercise which strain muscles and bones, yoga gently rejuvenates the body. By restoring the body, yoga frees the mind from the negative feelings caused by the fast pace of modern life. Each posture has specific physical benefits, and different variations of postures can bring about different effects on the body metaphysically, emotionally and spiritually.
Why practice Iyengar yoga?
The Iyengar yoga technique emphasises precision and alignment, and quality of movement is prioritised over quantity. You learn to move with ease in your body while working within your limitations. This makes the yoga postures (yoga asanas) safe to perform.
Yoga Postures are held for longer than in some other styles, allowing tight muscles to lengthen and relax, and helping to focus awareness. Yoga Props such as blankets, blocks and belts may be used to improve your understanding of poses or to help if you have difficulties.
The practice is progressive, building a stable foundation before attempting more demanding work. Beginners start with standing yoga poses and are gradually introduced to a fuller range of sitting and reclining yoga postures, forward extensions, inversions, twists, backbends and arm balances.
Each group of yoga postures develops the body in different yet reciprocal ways and has different qualities: grounding, energising, strengthening, stimulating, calming. No two yoga classes are the same but each class always includes time for relaxation and sometimes pranayama - working with the breath
Born in 1918, B.K.S. Iyengar lived until the age of 95 and died in 2015. He is Internationally acknowledged as a modern master of yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar is universally honoured for his understanding and teaching of the art and science of yoga. He is the author of Light on Yoga, considered one of the most authoritative modern yoga texts, and also author of Light on Pranayama, Light on the Yoga Sutras, Tree of Yoga, Light on Life. He has been credited with popularizing yoga, first in India and then around the world. In 2004, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
B.K.S. Iyengar was seen by many to be yoga's most proficient and knowledgeable practitioner—an inspiration to countless students and yoga practitioners around the globe. During seventy five years of teaching, he developed an innovative and inspired method of yoga, which is taught under his name. This method is not only one of the world's most widely practiced method of yoga; its principles are now incorporated into the teaching of yoga under many names and into many other forms of exercise, therapy, and movement.
In addition to providing a template of study for those not limited by physical problems, Mr. Iyengar is a pioneer in the therapeutic applications of yoga to the treatment of many medical conditions. Medical professionals in many different disciplines and countries have recognized his expertise and efficacy. His revolutionary use of yoga props and the intelligent selection and modification of the postures themselves enable students of all abilities to work to their greatest potential and overcome difficulties of many kinds. It is perhaps his greatest achievement that B.K.S. Iyengar has made yoga accessible to and relevant for all.
Today his family carry on his tradition of teaching, evolving and training at the Iyengar Memorial Institute in Pune, India.