Iyengar yoga is named for its 92 year-old creator, the yogi B.K.S. Iyengar, who began teaching in Pune when he was only 18 and went on to write the iconic yoga treatise Light on Yoga, first published in 1966. Iyengar is a form of hatha yoga that incorporates props like belts, ropes, sandbags, benches, and blocks in its asanas. Like Ashtanga, Iyengar is rooted in Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras, and focuses on uniting mind, breath, and body through poses that emphasize physical alignment.
While Iyengar includes sitting, forward-bending, back-bending, twisting, inversion, and supine poses, standing poses, which help beginners build the strong foundation they will need to tackle the more advanced poses, predominate. Iyengar classes, unlike ashtanga, are never self-led, and teachers apply both verbal and physical corrections to students’ alignments throughout the class.
A beginner Iyengar class will most likely consist of basic standing, sitting, and inverted poses that stretch away stiffness, strengthen weak areas, and offer deep relaxation.
Ideal for the elderly, Iyengar also serves as physical therapy and treatment for injuries and illnesses including osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, depression, and chronic pain.