What Is Iyengar Yoga?

Rachel Mack
What Is Iyengar Yoga?

Iyengar Yoga is taught all over the world. It is based on the teachings of B.K.S Iyengar, who at age 94 is still living and practicing yoga in Pune, India. Iyengar came to yoga as a sick teenager who needed to build strength. As a result, Iyengar yoga places a strong value on therapeutic use of poses and breath.

Though you’ll grow strong and steady from an Iyengar practice, there is not a lot of movement or sweating. In most Iyengar classes, you’ll do relatively few poses because a lot of time is spent setting up the pose for correct alignment and remaining in long holds for maximum benefit.

Iyengar Yoga Overview

Fitness & Sweat


Flexibility


Strength & Balance


Mind & Spirituality


Flow


Overall difficulty

The overall difficulty of Iyengar yoga really depends on the class level. Start at the beginning and work your way up.

Purpose Of Iyengar Yoga

The purpose of Iyengar Yoga is to increase health. It is strictly alignment-based and instructors focus on getting the pose just right. Iyengar is famous for its use of props, including straps, blankets, bolsters, blocks, and chairs, sometimes several at a time. Because there is so much focus on the quirks and needs of each individual body, the practice is highly therapeutic.

Benefits Of Iyengar Yoga

It’s a well-balanced practice that provides all the standard benefits of yoga. As in most asana practice, you’ll grow in strength, flexibility, body awareness, and inner peace. The classes are taught with precise attention to detail and awareness of each practitioner’s physical limits, so there is minimal chance of injury. If you tell the teacher what your health problems are, they are well-prepared to suggest poses that will help.

Is Iyengar Yoga For Me?

If you have injuries or health problems that you want to work on, Iyengar teachers can provide highly targeted pose sequences to help you heal. Even if you’re in great health, Iyengar yoga is great for practitioners who appreciate alignment and enjoy working on the nuances of each pose. If you enjoy studying on your own, Iyengar’s books Light on Yoga and Light on Pranayama are excellent guides to poses and breathing techniques.