Iyengar Yoga is a system of yoga developed by the late Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar (December 14, 1918 – August 20, 2014). Mr. Iyengar is considered a yoga master and introduced yoga as we know it today to the West with his book Light on Yoga. His son Prashant and granddaughter Abhijata continue to train students from around the world at the Ramamani Memorial Iyengar Institute in Pune, India.
Iyengar Yoga is progressive so that students develop a stable foundation before attempting more demanding work. Study traditionally begins with an emphasis on the standing asanas (postures), and in time other positions are added, including forwarding bends and backbends, twists, inversions, arm balances, and restorative poses.
No two yoga classes are the same. Iyengar teachers are trained in the art of sequencing and take particular care with the sequence for each class, designing them for various effects or aspects of yoga practice.
“You do not need to seek freedom in some distant land, for it exists within your own body, heart, mind, and soul. Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you must choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it.” – B.K.S. Iyengar – Light on Life
Why Iyengar Yoga?
It is due to the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar that yoga is so prolific in the West today. His method is now the most widely practiced in the world. Iyengar Yoga is for everyone, including the young and the old, the stiff and the flexible, and the healthy and the infirm.
Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher (CIYT) can guide students of all ages and physical conditions to a safe and rewarding experience of yoga. CIYTs are held to an extremely high standard. They train with senior teachers for years before they become certified.
Iyengar Yoga teachers may modify the classic asanas (yoga postures) as needed for individual students with the use of props — such as blocks, blankets, and belts. Props may be used for numerous reasons; for example, to allow students to experience a pose safely or bring intelligence to certain “dull” parts of the body. The use of props also enables students to experience a fuller range of motion or penetrate more deeply in a pose.
In addition to their training, Iyengar teachers maintain their own individual practice and continue to study with senior teachers. As such, they have a deep-seated knowledge of the asanas and can give highly specific teaching points. Their refined observation skills also allow them to individualize the corrections they give to each student.
To Become a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher
CIYTs are rigorously trained so that they can work safely and effectively with students of all ages and physical abilities. The training and certification process takes years.
The candidates are assessed on the knowledge of yoga postures and breathing, yoga philosophy, and anatomy. Finally, a panel of senior teachers tests the applicants and evaluates the candidate’s practice and teaching of students. To maintain his or her certification, a teacher must continue to study regularly with a senior teacher.