Iyengar yoga was founded and is still taught by yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar, who began his practice in the 1930s. Iyengar designed his signature Hatha yoga practice while battling tuberculosis and studied with Indian yogi Krishnamacharya, B.K.S. .This style of yoga stresses precision, alignment, and standing poses to build strength and flexibility simultaneously.
A Yoga for Everyone
Iyengar's style of yoga not only allows but encourages the use of props in order to aid proper execution and alignment. As such, it can be practiced by anyone. Ill or injured individuals can practice gentle poses using props to assist in healing and health. Stronger individuals can practice more challenging versions of the same postures and work toward the removal of props while still maintaining proper form.
Even world-class athletes find Iyengar yoga beneficial. The precise attention to form can challenge even the strongest body. The emphasis on holding postures for long periods builds both physical strength and mental determination. And the attention to patience with oneself helps athletes on the mend from injury to heal more quickly while remaining in a positive frame of mind.
To Be an Iyengar Instructor
Iyengar yoga instructors train for years in order to become certified. There are 5 instructor levels, ranging from two introductory levels of certification to a senior advanced certificate. One must have been a regular student of Iyengar yoga at a licensed studio for at least 3 years before teacher training can start. Potential teachers must practice at a studio three days each week and have a personal home practice every day.
Teachers must train for a minimum of two years and pass two tests before receiving permission to teach under the Iyengar name. Teacher training focuses not just on learning the postures and props but on alignment and the many individual health problems a person can have, so that a teacher knows when and how to help each student use a prop or make a subtle adjustment to advance the practice while protecting and strengthening the student's body.
Once a teacher is allowed to teach, they must continue training, teach actively, and wait at least a year and a half between each teacher examination. At a minimum, it takes a dedicated Iyengar teacher more than 18 years to reach the highest levels of Iyengar instruction.
Iyengar yoga can align and open the joints and bones of the human body while helping muscles gain both flexibility and strength. When you attend an Iyengar studio you know you are working with an experienced instructor who know the human body. With a certified Iyengar teacher, you can push your limits safely--building both physical and mental strength over time.