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August 3, 2012

‘When I practice, I am a philosopher,

When I teach, I am a scientist,

When I demonstrate, I am an artist.’

B.K.S. Iyengar

B.K.S. Iyengar from Pune, India, developed a yoga system that has become known as Iyengar Yoga. He is internationally recognised as an acclaimed yoga master, and was selected in 2004 by Time magazine, as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. His book, ‘Light on Yoga’, published in 1966, has been translated into at least 18 languages and is regarded as the bible of yoga. He systematized more than 200 classical asanas, (postures), and a series of pranayamas, (breath control), to enable a yoga beginner to progress safely and effectively. His unique method focuses on precision of alignment, sequencing of postures, timing and the use of props:

ALIGNMENT: In Iyengar Yoga, correct body alignment and meticulous attention to detail are emphasized. This not only minimizes the possibility of injuries but also ensures steady development of balance, coordination and improvement of posture.

SEQUENCING: Iyengar tradition does not have scripted sequences, (order in which the asanas are performed), that are practiced by everyone. Correct sequencing has a powerful cumulative effect, which incorporates a build-up to more challenging postures and a slowing down to more quieting, cooling asanas in preparation for Savasana, (relaxation).

TIMING: Poses are held longer to allow for attention to precise alignment and detail, and for the benefits of the asana to penetrate. In addition, holding poses builds core strength and endurance.

PROPS: B.K.S. Iyengar is perhaps best known for his innovative use of very simple aids, including foams, blocks, straps, blankets, chairs and bolsters. These props make postures accessible to students who might otherwise not be able to participate and provide support to help them perform the asanas easily, safely and effectively.


• Iyengar is known as a precise and safe style.

• The use of aids makes it possible for students with physical conditions and also those in their senior years to continue their practice.

• Attention to detail and meticulous correction during sessions ensures thorough learning, practising and consolidation of the asanas.

• Qualified Iyengar Yoga teachers all around the world undergo years of rigorous training before receiving their certification. A student therefore has the benefit of being guided by a very competent teacher.

• The method of holding poses not only builds strength and stamina but also develops concentration.

• The combination of all the above makes it possible for almost anyone to practise this form and is the foundation of B.K.S Iyengar’s philosophy of ‘Yoga is for everyone’.


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