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Iyengar Yoga – What Is It And How To Practice It?

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Iyengar Yoga – What Is It And How To Practice It? October 5, 2017

Yoga is for everybody. Nothing should stop you from practicing yoga, especially curable physical and psychological problems.

How to overcome the limitations then?

There is a way. Yes, there is. And it is called Iyengar Yoga. A safe, accessible, and helpful style that will help you practice yoga aspects that will otherwise take years to learn.

How is that possible? To find out, keep reading.

Image: Google

What Is Iyengar Yoga?

Iyengar Yoga is a type of Hatha Yoga practice devised and put together by BKS Iyengar. It is based on the eight principles of yoga called the Ashtanga, as mentioned in the book Yoga Sutras by Patanjali.

BKS Iyengar, after whom Iyengar Yoga is named, is a world-renowned yoga guru credited for being one of the first to popularize yoga across India and abroad. Iyengar was introduced to the world of yoga at the age of 15, and he practiced it every day till his last breath at the age of 95. He also extensively researched and experimented with it. BKS authored many books on yoga, and his yoga institutes present all over the world perpetuate his style of yoga and teaching.

Iyengar’s approach to yoga was unique. He systemized a set of 200 classical yoga asanas and 14 types of pranayama and designed Iyengar Yoga that focused on precision in body alignment, technique, time spent on each asana, usage of props, and the sequence of practice.

Accessories such as belts, blankets, chairs, cushions, and wooden blocks are used in Iyengar Yoga to help beginners or those with a disability to stay in a pose for a longer duration and delve into it deeply. The props make it easier for beginners or the elderly to perform asanas that would have otherwise taken years to master.

Unlike other yoga classes, Iyengar Yoga teachers are very vocal and precise. They immediately correct any mistakes or misalignment instead of leaving it to the practitioners to figure out on their own.

Iyengar Yoga Sequence

The 200 yoga asanas systematized by BKS Iyengar include a mix of standing, sitting, forward bends, backbends, twists, inversions, and supine poses.

We have included one example of each type in the list below. Take a look.

Iyengar Yoga Poses

  1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
  2. Upavistha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
  3. Janu Sirsasana (Head To Knee Pose)
  4. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
  5. Bharadvajasana (Seer Pose)
  6. Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose)
  7. Suptha Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Image: iStock

Tadasana or the Mountain Pose is the base of all standing asanas. Any other standing asana is a variation of the Tadasana. The pose can be practiced at any time of the day and not necessarily on an empty stomach. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat the asana 10 times.

To know more about the asana and how to practice it, click here: Tadasana

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2. Upavistha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

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Upavistha Konasana or the Sitting Angled Pose is a sitting asana whose mastery will help you perform the other seated bends and twists better. Practice Upavistha Konasana in the morning on an empty stomach. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds. No repetition required.

To know more about the asana and how to practice it, click here: Upavistha Konasana

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3. Janu Sirsasana (Head To Knee Pose)

Image: iStock

Janu Sirsasana or the Head To Knee Pose is a seated forward bend that requires your head to touch the knee. Practice Janu Sirsasana in the morning on an empty stomach and clean bowels. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds on each leg. Repeat another round on each leg.

To know more about the asana and how to practice it, click here: Janu Sirsasana

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4. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Image: iStock

Ustrasana or the Camel Pose is a backbend that looks like a camel when assumed. Hence, the pose is named after it. ‘Ustra’ means camel in Sanskrit. The asana works best when practiced in the morning on an empty stomach. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds. No repetition required.

To know more about the asana and how to practice it, click here: Ustrasana

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5. Bharadvajasana (Seer Pose)

Image: iStock

Bharadvajasana or the Seer Pose is named after a famous seer called Bharadvaja, who composed many hymns in the Vedas. The pose is a simple seated twist. Practice the asana in the morning on an empty stomach. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

To know more about the asana and how to practice it, click here: Bharadvajasana

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6. Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose)

Image: iStock

Viparita Karani or the Legs Up The Wall Pose is a mild inversion and also a restorative yoga pose. Practice Viparita Karani either in the morning on an empty stomach or in the evening after a gap to 4 to 6 hours from your last meal. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 minutes. No repetition required.

To know more about the asana and how to practice it, click here: Viparita Karani

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7. Suptha Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Image: iStock

Suptha Virasana or the Reclined Hero Pose is a supine pose where your back is leaning on to the ground. The legs are folded and the palms are facing upwards. Practice the asana early in the morning on an empty stomach and clean bowels. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds. No repetition required.

To know more about the asana and how to practice it, click here: Suptha Virasana

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Iyengar Yoga Benefits

  • Iyengar Yoga reduces aches and pains in the body.
  • The poses increase focus and balance.
  • They reduce stress and depression.
  • Iyengar Yoga delays the aging process.
  • The Iyengar Yoga poses increase strength and stamina.
  • It helps accelerates recovery from an injury.
  • In this style, the stress on the muscles is lesser.
  • Your posture alignment and precision increase with Iyengar Yoga.
  • Iyengar Yoga is ideal for weight loss.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Where can I learn Iyengar Yoga?

There are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers that you can approach. At present, these teachers are present across 35 countries in the world and are increasing in number every day.

What is the best attire for an Iyengar Yoga class?

Shorts or footless tights or any other comfortable attire in which the teacher will be able to observe your posture better in an asana.

Iyengar Yoga is a gift for beginners and the weak. It revolutionized the approach towards yoga by making it easier and more people-friendly. Now, you have no excuse to avoid yoga thinking it is a complicated process and takes years to master. Iyengar Yoga will show you an easier path. Sign up for a class after consulting a doctor. We wish you luck.

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