B. K. S. Iyengar created the Iyengar form of yoga. The official Iyengar yoga website says this democratic form of yoga is available to everyone, regardless of fitness level. If you’re looking to practice a form of yoga that supports health and healing, Iyengar yoga is an excellent choice.
Iyengar yoga is much like other forms of yoga in that it follows the eight limbs. The eight limbs (astanga) of yoga are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. This set of values within the yoga philosophy centers around seeking consciousness of the mind, intellect and ego through asanas, or yoga positions, and silencing unnecessary or not useful thoughts. The eight limbs feature a call to righteousness, truthfulness, lawfulness, not stealing, self-control, lack of covetousness and other familiar religious morals.
Unique Features to Iyengar Yoga
The guru of Iyengar yoga, yogacharya Iyengar, is a living legend. His unique form of yoga practice has taught many students to experience the wisdom of the yoga teachings (sutras). Iyengar felt it was important that everyone explore and achieve their best through yoga practice. His unique take on yoga includes these tenets:
- Iyengar yoga is for everyone and can be practiced by all, no matter their health.
- Special emphasis to precision and alignment in all postures is stressed.
- Props and other supports such as belts, blocks and ropes are used to help the practitioner achieve precision in all the postures.
- Special sequences must be performed in set groups of yoga positions (asanas).
Iyengar’s form of yoga is one of the first to be taught to large groups of students. Thanks to famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin’s interest in Iyengar yoga, the Western world also learned of this valuable form of yoga. Some famous personalities who have practiced Iyengar yoga include author Aldous Huxley, the queen mother of Belgium, Indian dignitaries, sports figures and even Pope Paul VI. While in advanced age, he continues to practice yoga. Iyengar's daughters are also devoted to teaching their father’s form of yoga and continue his teachings.