What is Yoga?
"Yoga is the cessation of the movements of consciousness." - Patanjali, in Yoga Sutras. In a more broad sense Yoga is one of the six philosophic systems of India. Yoga is connected to personal development through the balance between body, mind and spirit. It was revealed by Patanjali, a great Indian sage, over 2000 years ago in the classic text known as "Yoga Sutras".
The name comes from Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (B.K.S.) Iyengar (14/12/1918 - 20/08/2014), one of the most influential yogis of all times, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar began practicing Yoga with T. Krishnamacharya, his brother-in-law and master. It was presented to the West by the famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin. He lived most of his life in Pune (India) where he found the RIMYI - Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute. He is the author of many of the best books on Yoga such as “Light on Yoga”, “Light on Pranayama”, “The Art of Yoga”, “Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali”, “The Tree of Yoga", "Light on Astanga Yoga", "Light on life”, “Core of the Yoga Sutras”.
"Light on Yoga" was published for the first time in 1966 and since then has been re-published many times in several languages. It was the first work published about yoga that explained the poses, techniques' performance and the benefits of each one of them.
Yogacharya B.K.S. IYENGAR was nominated by TIME MAGAZINE (April 2004) as one of the 100 most influential personalities of 2004 in the category of "Heroes and Icons". He was considered by many as the ultimate exponent of yoga having dedicated his whole life to the study, practice, teaching and spreading of yoga. The so called IYENGAR YOGA® has entered since 2004 the new Oxford Dictionary of English and is based on the Yoga Sutras by PATANJALI, and has the following characteristics:
- Detail and precision when performing the poses.
- Emphases is given to standing poses (toning, develop strength and the correct alignment, release tensions and improve circulation).
- Inverted poses with props and back bending poses, have calming effect
- Using props: ropes, wood blocks, belts, benches, chairs, blankets - make the practice easier.
2. Poses' sequence according to the intended general or therapeutic benefits.
In IYENGAR Yoga® poses and pranayama respect a specific order according to different factors such as the level of practice of the person, specific conditions (therapeutic, pregnancy, etc.) and/or the purpose of the session in question (normal practice, recuperative, etc.) This order takes into account the energy, psychological and mental aspects, so that the practice of Yoga in a given session or set of sessions produces an optimal impact and effect.
3. Time spent on the poses.
IYENGAR Yoga® helps each person to progress according to their abilities.
- a methodical and progressive approach that emphasizes the correctness of details and total safety. - a practice that demands a lot of attention, reflexion and introspection and which contributes to release stress, calm the nerves, develop will power and concentration. Increases flexibility, strength, health and vitality.
The regular practice of yoga will influence us at the organic (physiologic), mental and spiritual levels as well as physical level. IYENGAR Yoga® cultivates the eight disciplines of yoga (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, prathyara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi) and is much more than gymnastics and deep breathing. With practice and understanding we become aware that Asana (pose) is different from stretching or gymnastics as Pranayama (breath control) is different from deep breathing and Meditation is different from self-induced trance.
The pyramid, the registered brand of B.K.S. IYENGAR, that proves the authenticity and commitment of the teacher that uses it to IYENGAR® Yoga. The IYENGAR® Yoga Teachers Certificate is a way to guarantee that the persons teaching under the name of B.K.S. IYENGAR are qualified to do so and have received training and are qualified in this method, maintaining the accuracy, integrity and vitality of the IYENGAR® Yoga community. Certification keeps, promotes and protects B.K.S. IYENGAR's teachings by submitting future or current teachers to a strict standard training programme, practice and involvement in the Iyengar method, according to the guidelines determined by RIMYI, Pune, India. IYENGAR® Yoga teachers are respected worldwide due to the demanding training they are submitted to. Their training consists of intense studying and practice of asanas and pranayama as well as studies in literature, philosophy, anatomy, physiology and teaching techniques. In addition to that, to be admitted into a teacher training the candidates need to have practiced IYENGAR® Yoga for several years. In their training they learn how to teach persons of all ages and capabilities in a safe accessible way. The teachers are periodically tested and re-tested and the exams are long and difficult. They are required to maintain a program of study and to develop more and more their knowledge and skills. Training never ends. You cannot get a IYENGAR® Yoga training certificate for the rest of your teaching career. The certified teacher has to regularly be accessed in his/her practice in order to keep the teaching certificate.