Iyengar yoga takes its name from B.K.S. Iyengar, a great Indian master who has influenced the practice of yoga worldwide tirelessly until his last breath, in August 2014. The Iyengar method places particular emphasis on aligning the body in the practice of asanas (postures) as in precision and accuracy in breathing (pranayama), refining the ability to observe and cultivate the potential of each individual.
The study and research of alignment guide the practitioners to rebalance their own strengths, redistribute the loads and efforts, therefore, dissolving the physical and mental tensions that result from the frenetic everyday life. Correct alignment promotes blood circulation, creates greater joint and vertebral space, allows relaxation, thus bringing a balanced flow of energy and increasing health and well-being. The increase in vital energy, therefore, predisposes the practitioner to deeply observe both, the body and the mind.
The Iyengar yoga, according to the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, aims to discover or rediscover the union of the individual parts of the body, physical, organic, mental and psychic through the relationships with one another. For example, the activation of the feet allows the activation of the skin, muscles, and tendons around the joints up to the vertebral column, fulcrum of the peripheral nervous system. The constant and focused practice of positions reactivates intelligence and wisdom, thus, allowing the student to have a direct perception of the wholeness of their being .
B.K.S. Iyengar has certainly innovated the practice of yoga allowing everyone to be able to undertake their own yogic path starting with work on their body and breathing, overcoming limitations related to trauma and/or age, thanks to the use of numerous supports or tools (blocks of wood, cork or other materials of different sizes or shapes, blankets, belts and benches).
Through the use of tools even a person with various physical limitations can benefit from asanas. One of the purposes of using the supports is to allow students to stay longer in one’s position. Maintaining a position for a very short time limits the benefits of the practice to the physical level only. Maintaining a position for a longer time allows the benefits to reach both, the corporeal and mental level . The customization of the practice with or without supports takes into account the temporary limits of each student as well as the physiological, psychological and health changes.