Yoga became popular in the West in large part through the teaching of B.K.S. Iyengar. His method of learning yoga is now the most widely practised in the world.
Iyengar yoga is accessible to anyone. Regular practice increases suppleness, strength and stamina, improves posture and concentration and quietens the mind to promote well-being.
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. Yoga Classes at all levels devote time to relaxation. Once the body and mind are strong enough to sit or lie for extended periods without distraction, students learn pranayama (yogic breathing).
No two yoga classes are the same: teachers select yoga poses from the different groups of poses to emphasise the various aspects of the practice.
All yoga teachers undergo a rigorous programme of training, lasting years. Many of our teachers at the Iyengar Yoga Institute, Maida Vale, London have decades of experience, travelling regularly to India for instruction.
Iyengar yoga has been described as meditation in action. Practising the yoga postures with awareness has an integrating effect and works to harmonise mind and body.
“The practice of yogasana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga. While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end,” says B.K.S. Iyengar. “Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit.”
Only certified teachers teach genuine Iyengar yoga. All of ours hold the Iyengar Yoga Teachers Certification Mark, a sign of excellence, clarity and depth of understanding. To use this logo, they have to be properly trained and maintain their development.
What can you expect from yoga classes?
- A safe, methodical progression of yoga postures
- Technique – precision, alignment and awareness in performing the yoga postures
- Sequencing to develop strength, flexibility, stamina, concentration and relaxation
- Clear demonstration and explanation by well-qualified teachers
- Individual correction and adjustment by the teacher when necessary