Yoga is a lifelong self-realisation, a study of the body in all its aspects. Yoga is a method to calm the restless mind and direct the energy into constructive channels. It is art, science and philosophy combined. Yoga cultivates good habits and equips you to face challenges, and to meet both the sorrows and joys of life with tranquillity. The word ‘yoga’ derives from the Sanskirt root yujir, meaning to merge, join, attach or unite, and therefore means union. It also arises from the word yuj, which means samádhi or restraint.
YOGA ENRICHES YOUR LIFE.
BKS Iyengar, who was born in Bellur in December 1918 and died in Pune August 2014, is the founder of the style of yoga that takes his name. He was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world, having brought the practice of modern yoga to the West.
Iyengar yoga’s unique and innovative approach in the practice of asana (pose) and pranayama (breathing) is to emphasise precision and alignment by the use of props, with planned sequencing and timing. This approach has allowed people of all ages and levels of health and fitness to enjoy the benefits a regular practice can bring. These, therefore, are the three aspects on which the Iyengar method focuses:
Proper alignment in the standing poses is the foundation to strength, flexibility, stability and stamina in the legs. This leads to improving the spine, shoulders, neck and arms. When the bones are aligned, the wear and tear of gravity is reduced. We all have habitual ways of moving and they might not be ideal for the body. Pain is the way your body tells you that some movements are not healthy. Alignment-based yoga is all about creating more intelligent action in the muscles, tissue and skin. Sequencing and timing help to develop the strength and stability in the poses as well as sensitivity and awareness in the body and mind. Yoga is meditation and mindfulness in action. Besides all the physical benefits that yoga gives you, the asanas (poses) are also the gateway to a more peaceful mind and greater self-awareness.
THE MAIN BENEFITS OF YOGA PRACTICE?
Mr Iyengar experienced poor health as a child, and through daily yoga practice he gained strength and improved his body. This encouraged him to develop extensive knowledge of anatomy and a therapeutic approach to practice. Mr Iyengar recognised that all bodies are unique and that people have different weaknesses and strengths, and so he developed the use of props to help the individual body into the correct positions. Props are objects such as blocks, chairs, blankets and belts, which help you support and adjust yourself in the postures so you can work in a range of motion that is safe and effective.
With regular practice, yoga develops all-round physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. It is extremely beneficial for the prevention of injury as well as in improving existing conditions.
The practice of yoga will help to:
• increase flexibility, movement and energy
• mobilise joints and strengthen muscles
• gain balance and coordination
• improve posture and correct misalignment
• promote cardio and circulatory health
• improve circulatory disorders and hormonal imbalances
• increase performance in sports and improve recovery time
• alleviate mental-health problems such as stress, depression and anxiety
• improve concentration and focus
• develop a better breath control
• create a deeper sense of self
The beauty of yoga is that the benefits are apparent even after the first session. It doesn’t matter what degree of flexibility you have, or how fully you are able to get into the poses.
IYENGAR YOGA TEACHERS
Iyengar yoga teacher-training is at a very high standard, with a 3-year in-depth training required before getting the first certification from the Iyengar Association. To start training as a teacher, you have to have practised Iyengar yoga regularly (3 times a week) for a minimum of 3 years.
After the first examination and certification, training is ongoing. The required exams are set worldwide to the high standards of the association, and the required syllabuses cover asanas, pranayama, philosophy and anatomy. Iyengar yoga teachers thrive on having achieved this certification mark.
“IT IS THROUGH THE ALIGNMENT OF THE BODY THAT I DISCOVERED THE ALIGNMENT OF MY MIND, SELF, AND INTELLIGENCE.”
― B.K.S. IYENGAR, LIGHT ON LIFE