What Is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar yoga is a form of yoga that was developed by the famous yoga practitioner and teacher B.K.S. Iyengar. Most of the yoga techniques, as it is known today by the 21st-century world, is developed by two people: BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois. While Pattabhi Jois gave us Ashtanga yoga, BKS Iyengar developed and taught the world Iyengar yoga.
Iyengar yoga is different from almost all other forms of yoga, like power yoga, as it distinctively involves the use of various props such as blankets, pillows, blocks, and belts. These props help in performing the yoga asanas with precision. People, whose bodies are not flexible enough, find these props as a safety mechanism against the risk of strain or injury.
The main focus of BKS Iyengar yoga is on the structural alignment of the practitioner’s body. One has to focus on the following three aspects to master any Iyengar yoga pose: precision, how to use props, and the sequence. Now that you have learned what is Iyengar yoga, let’s move on to poses.
How To Do Iyengar Poses
The name of props and body alignment can overwhelm a beginner. But doing Iyengar poses is not that hard if you learn online Iyengar yoga with a guide like this. If you focus on details, you will be able to master basic Iyengar yoga postures in a matter of weeks. Here is a list of 5 easy Iyengar poses that you can start performing today:
- Sage Marichi Pose C Variation (Marichyasana C Variation)
- Sit on a folded blanket with your right knee bent and your right heel touching the buttock.
- Place hands on the ground, along your body, and exhale while twisting your torso 90 degrees to your right side.
- Bend your left arm, bend the left shoulder forward, and hold your right knee.
- Meanwhile, ensure that your right palm is close to your hip.
- Now, take a deep breath and twist your torso again while keeping the knee close to your chest.
- Inhale and then twist from your hip, shoulders, and neck joint while you exhale.
- Gaze behind and try to hold this twisted pose for at least 6 breaths.
- Inhale, and come back to sit in the staff pose while you exhale.
- Relax for a few seconds and then repeat the same yoga pose by changing the sides.
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
- Place a tall block with damped edges into your sacrum.
- Turn this block in a way that broadens your pelvis.
- The distance of the block should be such that your ankles can be at hip height and your feet can touch the wall.
- Now, contain the front part of your thigh in order to make the block assist in lifting your pelvis up.
- Lift the portion of your spine that your present between the shoulder blades
- Lift the armpit upwards too and take a breath to relax your eyes, tongue, and throat.
- Start observing your breath and you will feel calmer.
- Lie down on a yoga mat so that your thighs come in contact with the mat.
- Relax and you will feel that the front part of your thighs is gravitating towards the back part of your thighs.
- Take breaths and each time exhale, try to release your abdomen a bit towards the floor.
- Inhale the air in your chest, this will help you in relaxing the abdomen.
- Virabhadrasana I
- Place the finger of your right foot on a wall, making an angle of 45°.
- Step your left foot a little back from the wall.
- Make sure that your feet are at a distance more than the length of your one leg.
- Now, place the fingertips of your hands at the height of your chest.
- Bend your right leg a little forward while keeping the left one straight.
- Virabhadrasana III
- Get yourself in the half-dog position with your fingertips touching the wall at the height of your hips.
- While standing, ensure that your ankles are coming directly underneath the hips.
- Change your pose from both feet together to raise the left leg up.
- Your knees should be straight while the ankle of the left leg should be at the height of your hips.
Benefits of Iyengar yoga
There are a huge number of Iyengar yoga benefits that have made it so famous around the globe. Here is a list of the most important Iyengar yoga benefits:
- Increases Your Strength & Mobility
Iyengar yoga includes both standing poses, and seated and twisting poses. Standing poses help you in toning your body and increasing muscular strength. On the other hand, seated and twisting poses improves the flexibility of all joints.
- Increases Your Ability to Focus & Vitality
People who perform Iyengar yoga postures regularly experience that their energy levels have increased and they have also improved their ability to focus. This happens because BKS Iyengar yoga improves the blood circulation in the body and aids to make your breath steady.
- Enhances Your Body Posture
As mentioned earlier, Iyengar yoga puts special emphasis on body posture. All the props are used to ensure that every part of your body is aligned properly. The poses create equanimity and improve your brain-body coordination.
- Improves Your Mental Well-being
Not just physical, but doing Iyengar yoga poses also gives your mental health benefits. To hold the pose even for a few breaths, you need to calm your brain and body. Over time, you experience that your mental well-being is getting improved.
Here is a list of a few other Iyenger yoga benefits:
- Release tension and fatigue
- Alleviate structural problems
- Sensitize your body for its own body parts
Precautions & Safety Points
Here is a list of some precautions and safety points to keep in mind while you perform any Iyengar yoga pose:
- Never use a sharp-edged prop for supporting your body.
- Give yourself a safe ‘fall zone’ in case you lose your balance while doing a pose.
- Avoid Iyengar poses that stretch the muscles to their limits if you are pregnant or have had a serious injury in the recent past.
Iyengar yoga is a time-tested form of yoga that provides a myriad of benefits. If you want to create a strong base for your health, learning online Iyengar yoga poses can be a good starting point.
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