What Is Iyengar Yoga, Its Benefits, And How Is It Different From Other Yoga Styles?
What Is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar Yoga is a type of Hatha Yoga which focuses on detail, precision and alignment in the posture during the yoga, i.e. asana and the breathing process, i.e. pranayama. Iyengar Yoga helps in developing strength, mobility and stability of a person and is one of the popular styles of yoga. Iyengar Yoga also involves using props, such as cushions, blankets, belts, benches, blocks, sand bags etc. to help you in making more comfortable and in increasing the ease in performing the asanas or postures. The props also help in cutting down the risk of injury or strain, so that both young and old people can do them safely.
Iyengar Yoga concentrates on the alignment of the body through the advancement of the asanas. The main aim of Iyengar Yoga is to connect mind, body and spirit resulting in good health, stress relief and spiritual well-being.
Who Developed Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar Yoga was developed by B. K. S. Iyengar and over 200 classical yoga poses and 14 different types of pranayama were structured by him with the asanas ranging from basic to advance, so that the students gradually progress from simple to more complex poses. This results in development of body, mind and spirit.
Iyengar Yoga is founded on the conventional eight limbs of yoga as developed by Patanjali in Yoga Sutras.
What Makes Iyengar Yoga Different From Other Styles Of Yoga?
The major difference between Iyengar Yoga and other styles of yoga are 3 important key elements:
- Technique: This is the accuracy of the alignment of body with the pranayama or breathing control.
- Sequence: This refers to the sequences in which the breathing exercises and the asanas are done. It is very important to follow the exact sequence in order to achieve the desired result. The combination of specific poses with breathing techniques will help in attaining the positive effect of the yoga.
- Timing: This is the third vital element which refers to the amount of time expended in each pranayama or pose.
Poses which require standing are stressed more in Iyengar Yoga, as these poses will help in increasing the strength in the legs, energy, and enhances circulation, coordination and balance. All these things ensure a strong base for more advanced poses.
What Are The Benefits Of Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar Yoga is beneficial in the following conditions:
- Chronic Back Pain
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Vinyasa Yoga (Flow Yoga) Vs Iyengar Yoga
Vinyasa Yoga or Flow Yoga consists of smooth transition from one pose to the other along with breathing (inhalation or exhalation). Whereas, Iyengar Yoga consists of very little fluid movements; on the contrary, the poses are held for longer periods of time in order to perfect the alignment. Between the different asanas or poses, the students are made to relax in a child's pose or corpse pose. This makes the Iyengar Yoga a less intensive cardiovascular experience than other styles of yoga such as Ashtanga. However, holding the poses for longer durations in Iyengar Yoga is difficult; but it helps in strength building and increasing flexibility. The absence of Vinyasa flow in Iyengar yoga makes it appealing to a wider range of people, as individuals who are not physically fit (sick people) or are deconditioned (obese people) can start doing this style of yoga easily.
In a nutshell, Iyengar Yoga, though can be a bit difficult, can be done by anybody, as the use of props makes it more adaptable and easier to perform. It greatly benefits any emotional, behavioral, psychological and biological problems.