Why Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga has the most rigorous standards for training and certification of all yoga disciplines. To become proficient and teach a minimum of 3 – 5 years training is required.
There are seven full levels of certification so only the serious yoga student pursues the Iyengar Yoga path. National Certification requires a minimum 5 years training. You can be assured of getting the highest quality teaching when you attend any of Eileen’s Yoga classes.
Iyengar yoga is famous for its emphasis on proper alignment. Alignment of the bones and joints leads to better balance with less stress on the muscles. In this way we gain more stability with less effort. Proper alignment improves circulation, creates inner space (literally in the joints), and brings a balanced flow of energy through the whole body, which leads to health and well being.
Attention to alignment in yoga is much more than making a list of points to remember while performing asanas. It is about developing a body awareness that reaches into all aspects of life.
Iyengar yoga teaches body awareness. Many beginners will often turn the head when they want to twist the spine. Mature practitioners develop a body awareness through an understanding of how everything is connected. Then they are able to make adjustments without disturbing the rest of the body. Ultimately you are able to maintain adjustments as “body memory”.
Body awareness provides the means to open areas of the body that are blocked. This is one of the reasons why Iyengar yoga has been so successful in promoting wellness.
Another aspect of Iyengar yoga is the use of different props, including blocks, blankets, belts, and benches. Props allow each student to benefit from the mental and physical gains of certain asanas they might have a physical challenge achieving due to a lack of flexibility or injury.
With props, even a person who is disabled or very sick can benefit from the asanas. The props allow all students to remain in the poses longer. Being able to remain in the poses longer allows for deeper, organic change of both mind and body.
Iyengar yoga teaches us how to understand connections between the different parts of the body. It teaches that the spine receives the work of the legs and arms. This principle is so fundamental that it applies in all asanas.
Iyengar has taught us that the yoga asanas are not just a set of postures developed long ago, but rather involve exploration, discovery, and mastery of connections attained through practice.
Personal Evolution in the Asanas
When we’re new to yoga our mind seems fixated on merely the physical movements of the body. As our awareness unfolds we gradualy come to understand a different way of practice. Our attention becomes able to notice both the inner and outer body. The mind becomes prepared to, as Iyengar himself says, “act as a bridge between the muscular movements and the organs of perception. And introduces the intellect and connects it to every part of the body.”
We learn to discriminate with the mind and to analyze what we feel within our bodies. This is what is called action. Action is when we create internal stretch, a movement that is imperceptible to an outside observer, but that brings intelligence and wisdom to our poses.