History of Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar yoga is lauded for using yoga as a medicinal practice, bringing the body into total balance through the use of asana, pranayama and meditation. Founded by Belur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyenga, this form of yoga is uniquely focused on the precise alignment of the body during specific asana with the intent of bringing medical, emotional and spiritual health to the practitioner.

Triangle-Pose B.K.S. Iyengar was born in India in the early 1900s and was taught Hatha yoga as a child. Iyengar suffered from many childhood illnesses including malaria, tuberculosis and typhoid fever, but through the practice of yoga discovered ways to use the body, mind and spirit to bring himself into excellent health. This was impressive to many people, and soon Iyengar began teaching others his variation of Hatha yoga with the intent of instructing people how to use yoga to improve their health.

Based on the essential asana taught by Hatha yogis, Iyengar emphasizes perfect body alignment and the seeking of the exact posture. Positions are chosen with the intent to strengthen weak areas of the body and to open up the mind to relaxation and increase receptiveness to the divine.

B.K.S. Iyengar began teaching classes around the world in the late 1930s. His form of yoga quickly became popular in Western countries. He is the author of the book “Light on Yoga”, which many people consider the best instructional manual on yoga available in the Western world. Today you can find Iyengar yoga classes all over the United States; it is considered a highly respected form of yoga.

Iyengar yoga props of all sorts are used so the yogi can focus on achieving the correct posture. The instructor will walk around the class, manually helping yogi achieve proper alignment. You will be encouraged to use straps, blocks, bolsters, chairs, and even sand bags to assist you so you can reach positions correctly. Sometimes Iyengar yoga is referred to as “furniture” yoga because of this.

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