Iyengar Yoga Poses

The founder of Iyengar yoga is Belur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, has been practicing this relaxation technique for over 60 years and is considered to be one of the foremost meditation instructors in the world. Belur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar was born in a middleclass Iyengar family in the village of Belur Karnataka, South India. Iyengars are actually a community of Brahmins or a priestly class who study the vedas and ancient religious texts that indicate a Supreme Being, as well as subsidiary gods, whose existence depends upon the all-powerful God.

After receiving such spiritual treatment, Belur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar survived malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and malnutrition. He began teaching this meditation technique in the year of 1937 and has since traveled the globe, spreading his ideas to the Western world. Belur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar won several awards and had published fourteen books, including "Light on Yoga," which has been dubbed "the bible of yoga." Time Magazine, the prestigious journal called Iyengar one of the "100 most influential people" in 2004. Iyengar yoga is one part spirituality and another part physical fitness, paving the way toward a united mind and body.

Iyengar meditation process is spiritually based upon Patanjali's eight limbs of raja yoga. The first limb of the yoga is Yama, meaning physically and mentally abstaining from the following five things: violence toward others and oneself, from coveting others' belongings, from sexual intercourse, from attachment to possessions and anything that is untrue. The second limb of the yoga is called Niyama, referring to the five observances: cleanliness of body and mind, satisfaction with what one has, penance and mental control, introspection and surrender to God. Asana refers to body posture and position ideally an erect stance with relaxed muscles and Pranayama is the directed control of one's breath, which is so vital to successful yoga practice.

Pratayahara calls for the quieting of complete senses connected with the outer world. Only then will Dharana or the concentration, Dhyana or the meditation and Samadhi or oneness with the Supreme Being naturally follow. During practice the Iyengar yoga is characterized by the use of belts, straps, sandbags, benches and blocks to aid in performing 200 asanas or postures and creating body alignment. Equally significant are the 14 pranayamas or breaths. Less emphasis is placed on the body muscular effort and more importance is given to finding the ideal position. Standing Iyengar yoga poses can build strong legs, improve circulation and coordination and help students with skills they can take to other forms of this meditation.

The instruction of Iyengar yoga is rigorous, compared to other styles, with highly trained and certified teachers actively placing students into the right positions and correcting misalignments. Beginners will surely get careful individualized attention and the most out of their instruction if they attend Iyengar meditation classes. The key to all styles of Iyenger yoga is to get the fundamentals and form correct; this is where the props aid the student. There is more focus on body alignment and symmetry and also meditation. Each yoga pose is held for a longer amount of time than in most other yoga styles, developing a state of focused calm. Iyengar Yoga is actually form of meditation in action.