Some of the most frequently asked questions
What is the Certification mark?
This Mark is used under license by certificated Iyengar Yoga Teachers worldwide to ensure an internationally recognized standard of excellence in teaching. Teachers have completed intensive teacher training, undergone a rigorous assessment process and must continue education to renew or upgrade their certificates
Why do we chant the Invocation to Sage Patanjali?
As with certain aspects of our daily life, it is custom to give credit, recognition and or thanks to our teachers and/or mentors. It is deemed appropriate to make a payment if one makes use of words and ideas that will ultimate benefit the user.
Royalties are paid daily to creators and artists whose words and tunes we make our own, or use for our benefit. Making this information your own without the consent of the 'creator' is tantamount to stealing. Therefore some form of payment and/or recognition is afforded the source.
The same applies to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. For thousands of years, we have been benefiting from this information; the science of Ayurveda for a healthy body, grammar for the purity of speech, and yoga for serenity for the mind.
It is fitting that each student recognizes these aspects as they impact on their spiritual and physical lives, and show the appropriate respect to that source, Sage Patanjali.
Who is B.K.S. Iyengar?
Internationally acknowledged as a Master of yoga, Mr. Iyengar began teaching 60 years ago. The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Institute in Pune, India is at the forefront of modern yoga. Here Mr. Iyengar, his daughter Geeta and son Prashant teach and refine the constantly evolving method that is one of the world's most widely practiced yogas. Here, too, teachers from around the world come to practice and hone the skills they will take back to their own Iyengar yoga communities. Mr. Iyengar is the author of “Light on Yoga”, “Light on Pranayama”, “Light on the Yoga Sutras”, “The Tree of Yoga” and other seminal yoga reference works. BKS Iyengar passed away 20th August 2014.
The use props?
Iyengar Yoga does not aim at the perfect posture - but aims at bringing the performer to the full use of his potential, even when that leaves the pose imperfect. External tools, aids, and props tend to distract the attention from the real pose and give a false sense of accomplishment. It is better to do the pose slowly and to your capacity even if that capacity is limited, rather than force the body with the aids of props to do what its own innate intelligence is not yet capable of handling.
So a healthy body that still does not achieve perfection in a pose must not be given a prop just for the sake of helping him to reach perfection. We as students and teachers must work on the flow of energy and inner awareness, persistence and much repetition - and eventually greater perfection will be achieved. But never should we curtail the learning curve by allowing unnecessary use of props.
What is "Iyengar" yoga?
When taught and practiced correctly, Iyengar Yoga is not only meditative but also physically challenging and ideally tailored for all fitness levels and for everyone who wants a vigorous yoga practice. This form of hatha yoga is a powerful asana practice with sequences designed to give the body a challenging workout for increased strength, energy and flexibility, without heating the room or repeating a preset asana sequence every day. In this exhilarating style of yoga practice, students will build strength and tone their muscles. The intensity and variety of postures will revitalize the whole body, reduce stress levels and keep you in peak condition.
Iyengar Yoga is an innovative and inspired approach to the classical Eastern discipline particularly relevant to our Western culture.
Developed over a period of 50 years, Iyengar yoga, which emphasizes precision in the execution of postures and also makes extensive use of props, is the most popular approach to Hatha yoga. Iyengar yoga even purely as an exercise, offers what no other form of exercise can offer -- a way to build strength along with relaxation, flexibility along with endurance, and balance along with a peaceful state of mind.
Iyengar yoga is based on the teachings of BKS Iyengar and begins with learning the art and science of asana and pranayama, which fine-tune the body and revitalize the mind. Then we can embrace our personal progress more completely, and live a more whole and meaningful life. Students experience meditation in action, a state of being focused and absorbed in the moment.
What do we expect women practitioners to do during their menstruation?
Dr. Geeta S. Iyengar has written many articles about this very important part of a women's yoga life. Below is a link with a detailed explanation as well as specifically designed asanas to be practiced during the menstruation cycle.
How does Iyengar Yoga differ from other styles of yoga?
The Iyengar method develops strength, endurance, and optimal body alignment, in addition to flexibility and relaxation. The Iyengar method develops self-awareness, intelligent evaluation, and profound inward reflection. Standing poses are emphasized at the beginning to build strength and ease of movement, increase general vitality, and improve circulation, coordination, and balance. Postures for deep relaxation are introduced from the beginning. Gradually, sitting and reclining postures, forward bends, inversions, backbends, twists, arm balance, and flowing sequences are introduced.
Iyengar Yoga emphasizes the precision of alignment in the yoga poses. Why is this important? People tend to stretch from their more flexible areas and rely on their better-developed muscles for strength, thus reinforcing postural habits. Iyengar Yoga encourages weak parts to strengthen and stiff areas to release, thus awakening and realigning the whole body. As the body moves into better alignment, less muscular work is required and relaxation increases naturally.
What are props and why do we use them?
Sri B.K.S. Iyengar introduced props into the modern practice of yoga to allow all practitioners access to the benefits of the postures regardless of physical condition, age, or length of study. Props help all practitioners (including the most advanced) gain sensitivity to the use of effort and receive the deep benefits of postures held over significant time periods. Props are introduced from the beginning for students with specific physical limitations and gradually in regular classes to enhance personal understanding of a posture and its effects and to develop skill and confidence.
Props include sticky mats, blankets, belts, blocks, benches, wall ropes, sandbags, chairs, and other objects that help students experience the various yoga poses more profoundly. Props may be used in class to encourage students, bolster confidence, and create optimal body alignment.
Allowing students to practice asanas (yoga postures) and pranayamas (breathing patterns) with greater effectiveness, ease, and stability, props provide support for the body and allow the mind to relax and more profoundly receive the benefits of the yoga.
Is religious faith necessary?
People from many religious traditions can and do practice Iyengar yoga. Teachers will not promote a religious viewpoint however, yoga is based in the Hindu tradition and some references may be made to the source of ideas or names of postures in order to clarify background detail.
How does Yoga benefit cancer patients?
Yoga can aid in the relief of pain and reduce depression and anxiety. Patients practising yoga will sleep and breathe a lot bettering generally improve their life, .
Cancer caused by exposure to asbestos . Follow the link and read how yoga benefits and aids in the treatment of this cancer. https://mesothelioma.net/yoga-mesothelioma-patients/
Yoga Heritage (Parampara)
Below is a representation of a clear lineage from Sage Patanjali to Shri BKS Iyengar and his students.
Sage Patanjali - Shri Ramamohana Bramachari - Prof. Shriman Tirumulai Krishnamacharya - Yogacharya B.K.S.Iyengar (Pune) - Smt. Dr. Geeta S.Iyengar (Pune) - Sri Prashant S. Iyengar (Pune) - David Jacobs (South Africa) - Jürgen Meusel (South Africa) - the pupils (Sisyas/Sadhakas)
of David and Jürgen
"The Guru, the Sisya and the Vidya – the teacher, the pupil and the knowledge – all should be integrated." (B.K.S.Iyengar)
Invocation to Sage Patanjali
yogena cittasya padena vacam
malam sarirasyaca vaidyakaena
yopa karot tam pravaram muninum
patanjalim pranjalir anato smi
abahu - purusakaram
sankha - cakrasi - dharinam
sahasra - sirasam svetam
To the noblest of sages, Patanjali,
Who gave Yoga for serenity of mind,
Grammar for purity of speech,
And medicine for perfection of the body,
I bow, I prostrate before Patanjali,
Whose upper body has a human form,
Whose arms hold a conch and disc,
Who is crowned by a thousand-headed cobra,
O incarnation of Adisesa, my Salutations to Thee.