Iyengar is a slow, gentle yet demanding practice guiding the practitioner into stretches that are held for approximately one minute. The use of props is to enable students whether beginner or more advanced, to hold postures without causing pain or injury.
In addition to stretching your muscles, the physical demand of holding each pose will help you build strength in both body and mind.
Because Iyengar engages the whole body, the attention goes not just to the main muscle, but guides you to think about where the muscles are connected to other body parts and to engage those as well. The result is a full body toning experience and a refinement in your awareness to the deeper workings of your muscles within the body.
A calmer mind
Once you are in the asana or pose, Iyengar yoga encourages you to focus on the precise alignment of your body, disengaging other thoughts and allowing you to be fully present in the moment. You can think of it as a type of meditation and, like meditation, the more you practice it, the calmer your mind will be—on and off the mat.
Studies have supported the power of Iyengar yoga to relieve back and neck pain. By focusing attention on alignment, much of the slouching, hunching and muscle weakness that leads to back and neck pain can be overcome through this practice. Iyengar also helps stretch the muscles of the back and relieve pain-causing tension.
Through its focus on alignment, Iyengar yoga helps you strengthen the muscles of the body responsible for posture, like the legs, back and core.
With minor adjustments to improve alignment, the small muscles that are often ignored become stronger. The result is that you’ll find yourself sitting and standing straighter, which will give you more energy, less pain, and increased confidence.
Protection from disease
Disease often results when the normal processes of the body don’t happen the way they should. Iyengar yoga helps improve the overall functioning of the bod, from the circulatory and lymph systems, to the nervous system and digestion.
When the body’s systems are working at their best capacity, organs are nourished, toxins are eliminated, and the risk of some diseases decreases.
While you hold your asana and consider your alignment, Iyengar also instructs you to focus on the breath.
Whether you realize it or not, many of us hold our breath during times of stress. The more you practice breathing through Iyengar yoga, the less you’ll end up holding your breath unconsciously, encouraging a constant flow of oxygen to the brain.
Regardless of where you are in your yoga practice, Iyengar yoga will truly help to refine the awareness of how you place your body - whether in a beginners, slow flow or vinyasa class.
Join leading teacher Khaled Kendsi on Sat 6 May, 13:15-15:15
Read more and book your place here.