YOGA, IYENGAR STYLE
Iyengar-style Yoga is the most classical and complete practice of all the many different styles of Hatha Yoga --- a great place to begin any yoga journey. The style is considered to be safe and therapeutic by many medical doctors and health practitioners, with its unique use of props that facilitates safely moving in and out of difficult poses, and supported, deep relaxation and rejuvenation that traditional practice cannot achieve.
As in architecture, every pose starts with great attention to the foundation that grounds and connects one to the earth, and supports each unique human architecture to rise towards the heavens in perfect alignment and spinal extension.
Each asana (posture) has a distinct form and shape requiring exact stretches, counter stretches and resistance to align the skin, tissue and muscular structure of the body with the skeleton. The standing poses give vitality, seated poses are calming, twists are cleansing, supine poses are restful, prone poses are energizing, inverted poses develop mental strength, balancing poses bring a feeling of confidence and lightness, backbend work is exhilarating, and jumping develops agility. Each posture affects specific areas of the body, such as the joints, muscles and tendons, organs, and meridians (flow lines.)
The body is oxygenated and filled with healthy blood. Stamina, lung capacity, heart performance, muscle tone, circulation and respiration all improve. Relaxation pose, (savasana), which comes after the physical work, depends on the intensity and quality of the preceding postures. Practice of the postures changes the physical, as well as the mental state of the practitioner and is cumulative over time. As Mr. Iyengar says, “You should do the asanas with vigor and at the same time be relaxed and composed.”
The asanas bring relief to, and even prevention of numerous ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, and musculoskeletal problems, especially back pain. Psychologically, yoga sharpens the intellect and aids concentration as well as stabilizing the emotions. It actually gives a sense of hope, for when one is able to actively take control of any aspect of one’s life, even one breath, the mind becomes calm and still, and awareness increases --- a necessary prerequisite to inner peace. The best part of all is that anyone, at any age or physical condition, can practice yoga and experience the many profound benefits.
“Over the 20-some years I have known Kaaren, her consistent practice of Iyengar Yoga has inspired me and enriched my life experience on many levels. Her deep understanding of the practice of the asanas, and her attention to detail and accuracy in communicating the information as taught, has been instrumental in assisting me to overcome many sports related injuries, depression, and anxiety. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to study with her, and now share the knowledge with others.”
Silva Bayne – Yoga and T’ai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung teacher.