How is Iyengar yoga so different from other yoga styles?
Iyengar Yoga, named after B. K. S. Iyengar, is a form of Hatha Yoga that has an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture (asana) and breath control (pranayama). The development of strength, mobility and stability is gained through the asanas.
Iyengar Yoga is based on the following principles; unlike other styles.
‘How” the poses are practised is what sets Iyengar yoga apart from other yoga styles. Generally people tend to stretch more from their flexible areas and rely on their developed muscles for strength. However the practice of Iyengar reinforces postural habits and develops core strengths through proper alignment.
The emphasis on alignment in Iyengar yoga encourages weak areas of the body to develop and stiff areas to release. This creates greater freedom of movement and more relaxation with less muscular effort.
One of the prominent characteristics of the Iyengar style of yoga is sequencing. Classes offer great daily diversity in sequences and this prevents injury. Different sequences are used to develop stamina, concentration and correct alignment. For example, a sequence of forward bends calm the nervous system while that of backbends awaken it.
How long you hold a pose is another unique feature of the Iyengar method.
The same yoga pose held for several minutes will have a different effect than doing a pose with many repetitions. The held pose, will in some cases benefit the endocrine system, and in other cases, can be faster paced to reduce muscular tension.
The Iyengar method uses mats, blankets, blocks, chairs, belts among other props. These serve different functions according to usage. Props are used to maintain proper alignment, educate the body and to make the poses accessible
I’m not so flexible anymore. Can I do Iyengar yoga?
Iyengar yoga is very beneficial for those with tight muscles and joints. The emphasis during a class is on correct alignment and muscles are safely stretched.
I have some health issues. Can I practice yoga?
We encourage all students to tell their teacher about any health issues prior to taking a class.
You will be advised on best practices for you so that you can be a part of our regular batches and can perform each asana with modifications suited to your condition.
In many cases Iyengar yoga has proved effective in addressing and resolving many health issues.
Is Pranayama taught in Iyengar yoga?
Pranayama is important in Iyengar yoga. While pranayama is introduced to students, they are expected to have a firm foundation in asanas and then add pranayama to their practice. Students are expected to show they have the flexibility, alignment and training necessary to sit and breathe correctly while doing pranayama.
May I attend a class if I’m menstruating?
There are specific sequences for this time of the month which consist primarily of restorative poses. There are some poses that are definitely to be avoided while menstruating such as inversions and closed abdominal twists, unsupported backbends and hand balancing poses.
Please inform your teacher before the beginning of the class if you are menstruating so that you can be provided special instructions.
I’ve done some yoga before. What level class should I attend?
Our teacher will speak to you and decide if you should join Level 1 or Level 2.
May I eat before class?
Students should come to class on an empty stomach or two hours after a heavy meal.
Online Class FAQ
Do I need props at home if attending zoom classes?
In classes online, the use of props is minimised . If a prop is needed, Amina helps students improvise and use whatever is available in the house - cushions, bedcovers, belans, books etc. As thing open up, those who want can procure the props online.
How are classes conducted online?
Classes are conducted via Zoom with students videos on and mike muted.
Amina then describes the pose and demonstrates it. She spotlights a student who is doing it correctly while giving the instructions and simultaneously looks at the class to see who needs help with the pose.
You will be expected to keep your camera switched on during the class and aligned in a way that Amina can see your pose and offer corrections.
After every class we have a 15 minute Q&A session for personal doubts.
At IYM, students are also encouraged to come together as a community and share what they have learnt. A Whatapp group of students is formed where students share videos, sequences and ask any doubts they may have.
This support group is a great help for those who are new!
Are online yoga classes as effective as in person sessions?
Online yoga sessions are equally effective if not more as you have to immerse yourself in the instructions given by the teacher by listening intently as well as exploring the subtleties of asana for yourself. This will help you go deeper into each asana as you assume full responsibility for yourself and are no longer dependent on the teacher for small corrections. For any doubts, you can unmute yourself and ask.
Are online sessions suitable for those new to yoga?
Online sessions are a great way to get introduced to Iyengar Yoga from the comfort of your home. We provide step by step instructions which are easy to follow for beginners and also suggest modifications for each pose if you find it challenging.
During the class, you can also unmute yourself and share your concern or clarify your doubts during the Q & A session after the class is over.
We also encourage all beginners to read the book "Light on Yoga" by BKS Iyengar which is the foundation of Iyengar Yoga.