What is Iyengar yoga and how is it practiced?

Oriented towards body alignment, Iyengar yoga is an ally in increasing strength, correcting posture, releasing energy and general well-being.

Last update: November 17, 2021

With fewer movements, more use of accessories and focus on alignment, Iyengar yoga is practiced. This discipline is recommended to increase flexibility and strength, especially in the elderly, patients with any disease and those who are overweight.

Such a variation of yoga is characterized by the use of straps, blocks and pillows, that is, more tools than in other modalities. Its basis is the maintenance of postures to correctly align the body for long moments.

What is Iyengar yoga?

The exercises are based on the theory of BKS Iyengar, oriented to the therapeutic use of positions and the management of breathing. Its center is to align the head, spine, hip and feet in different asanas.

People of all ages and all genders can try the Iyengar method, which stands out for 4 peculiarities:

  • Technique: the coordination of each breath, the adjustments, the movements and the actions affect the energetic, the muscular, the skeletal and the organic.
  • Delivery and intensity: regarding the time you remain in each position and the discipline you have. The body absorbs investment in asanas and manifests it in effects at the nervous, physiological and mental levels.
  • Alignment brackets: they are instruments that activate the intelligence of sleeping body parts. For people with pain, stiffness, or physical limitations, postures are made easier with blankets, chairs, and other items.
  • Sequence: Following an order in the asanas carries a certain impact. For example, with inverted positions you recover, standing up you gain energy and flexing you get to relax.

Benefits of practicing Iyengar yoga

Yoga helps in the management of musculoskeletal problems, rheumatological diseases, cardiopulmonary pathologies and behavioral conditions, explains an article in the Anales Magazine of the Faculty of Medical Sciences. In particular, the Iyengar yoga modality provides the following benefits.

The different varieties of yoga are modalities that can go back centuries or result from more recent developments.

It is therapeutic and corrects postures

Because the sessions are adjusted to the needs of each body, You take advantage of them as therapeutic days. His alignment approach rectifies posture.

Positive feelings increase

The Iyengar minimizes depression, activating positive feelings that surface the more it is practiced. Exercise increases the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which stimulates a happy mood and helps control psychiatric disorders.

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, after 3 months of Iyengar the participants were less anxious and with greater well-being.

Increase energy

By releasing endorphins and increasing blood flow, fatigue is reduced and vital energy rises.

Promotes breathing

When you hold the pose for extended periods of time, you also focus on your breathing and, over time, you learn not to contain it in stressful situations.

Flexibility and pain reduction

That some asanas last longer than others increases flexibility. You may feel discomfort at first. Nevertheless, with guide and using accessories improvements without injury or pain.



Tones muscles

Iyengar yoga involves muscle groups connected to other parts of the body, so that poses are key in toning. The asanas last more than a minute; enough to build strength as you get to know your body and find inner peace.



Lowers blood pressure

By relaxing the body, this type of exercise slows down the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, with less danger of suffering from cardiovascular conditions.

The use of accessories in this variant of yoga helps to achieve special postures for long periods of time.

How to start practicing it?

At home or with a professional, Iyengar yoga requires an appropriate environment. The ideal is prepare a space with relaxing music and lighting natural. In the same order, add candles, incense, flowers or elements that call for meditation.

Above all, in the case of beginners, it is advisable to create a routine and have the advice of an expert. With more experience, the videos in Youtube or applications that offer personalized classes by levels offer very good results.

The practices have to be daily to habituate the body, encourage breathing, concentrate and notice changes in your quality of life. Set and respect a session schedule.

Recommendations for Iyengar yoga classes

There are essential points for the classes of the yogis Iyengar. You have to dress comfortable, with garments made of elastic fabric that facilitate movements. Avoid meals an hour and a half before and develop the patience to execute the poses.

Most importantly, in each lesson you expand awareness of body positioning. You learn to demand and motivate yourself.

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