A focus on alignment is what sets Iyengar Yoga apart from other varieties. Learn about how props such as blocks and blankets can banish fear and lift confidence. 

Named after it’s legendary founder B. K. S. Iyengar, Iyengar Yoga is based in Hatha Yoga, and focuses primarily on alignment. In a typical Iyengar class, poses are held longer than usual, in an effort to attain the precise musculoskeletal alignment required for a specific asana.

Props are for self-help

Another unique feature of Iyengar Yoga, is the use of props, such as blocks, belts, bolsters, chairs and blankets. These are used to accommodate injuries, body imbalances and muscular tightness. They also help practitioners move into a posture properly, and attain balance.

When asked about these props, Iyengar reportedly said, “I evolved these props to guide the doers to get the sense of right direction while performing the asana, as the props to not allow mistakes to happen and the practitioners cannot go wrong in their practice. Props are self-help and self-guides for self-practice.”

Iyengar Yoga- Sporty beautiful young beginning yoga student in white sportswear sitting in head to knee forward bend pose leaning on wooden block doing Janu Sirsasana variation studio full length isolated shot

From basic to peak pose, each time

Unlike other yoga classes, an Iyengar class can change each time. Also, there is no set sequence of postures. The idea is to build up your poses, ultimately reaching the ‘peak pose’ of the class. Your guide will help you warm up for the peak pose, after which you end your practice with a cool-down, to slow down your energy.

Rather than flowing from one posture to another, your success depends upon the balance you attain by maintaining a single pose comfortably. You move from basic to advanced, from the simple to the complex asanas as your skill and strength develops.

Sporty beautiful young beginning yoga student in white sportswear doing exercises for legs using props: block and strap sitting in Heron Pose studio full length isolated shot side view

Variety of props

Iynegar Yoga is made unique by the use of props, such as belts, blocks, and blankets, used to perform the asanas, and reduce chances of injuries. These can be used by each person depending on their unique needs, and enable the steady development of poise and balance. Some are used by beginners to help get into the right posture, others to support an injured practitioner, or refine his/her movement.

Advantages

#1 Useful for beginners and students with injuries or ailments

Many people with heart ailments, back and neck pain, and respiratory problems turn to yoga, to improve their health. Props help them advance in their practice, till they can perform the poses, independently. These are especially useful in aiding those with injuries to perform the asanas, without straining their bodies.

#2 Props help alleviate fear

The prospect of doing a back-bend or head-stand can be frightening to a new student. Using a wall for support makes practitioners more confident and eliminates the fear of falling.

Other props can also help banish fear first, then help a student develop stability, alignment and balance. Only when these have been achieved and mastered, can the headstand, for example, be done without using the wall for support.

#3 They facilitate muscle strengthening

In the beginning, your muscles may not be strong enough to hold the poses. So, props can support and enable you. As your muscles strengthen, you may be able to hold the poses for longer periods, without support. Ultimately, your stamina will build up. Continued practice will help you develop stability and balance, increase your concentration, and improve your heath status.

To know more about where to learn yoga, look here. 

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