About Iyengar Yoga
B.K.S. Iyengar was a charismatic teacher of yoga, who is credited with bringing yoga to the West in the 1950s.
A sickly child, he was sent to live with his sister and brother-in-law, who just so happened to be T. Krishnamacharya, a renowned yoga master. Iyengar was tasked with learning 'yoga', but without guidance or help. Left to his own devices he used whatever props were to hand (books, stools and belts) in order to get into the poses. This improvisation was the foundation of his props-based methodology.
Iyengar, known as Guruji (beloved teacher) to his many thousands of students around the world, was determined that no student should be left to learn the poses the hard way, as he had done. After many years of teaching he was asked to write a book on the subject, and the result was Light on Yoga. First published in 1966, it has gone on to become the 'Bible of yoga'.
Through clear, precise instruction and perfected photographs of each stage of every asana, Light on Yoga meant that anyone could practice yoga, safely and accurately.
In an Iyengar yoga class you will use blocks, bricks, belts, the wall and chairs. In a fully-equipped Iyengar yoga studio you will also find ropes hanging from the wall to further enhance your pose.
Iyengar yoga teachers will nearly always demonstrate the pose first, as we learn best through watching. Each pose is broken down into its component stages, so that students are not rushed to a final pose that they cannot perform safely.
Unlike other forms of yoga, the sequencing of the poses in an Iyengar yoga class is almost always different. The focus of classes tends to be on a type of pose, such as standing poses, or forward bends, but these will be explored differently every time - keeping the practice fresh.
With the Iyengar family still at the head and helm of the Iyengar yoga movement worldwide, the discipline is still very much rooted in the principles of the philosophy of the yoga path. The yoga poses that we practice to keep fit and supple are just one strand of an 8-limbed path to enlightenment.