Iyengar Yoga is based on the philosophy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, an ancient text which details the yogic life of non-violence, truth, practice, and non-attachment. The goal of Patanjali’s philosophy is the quieting of the mind so it can be filled with lucid awareness. Though physically challenging and physically beneficial, Iyengar Yoga is too deeply mindful to be “exercise” in the normal sense. It may begin as a purely physical practice, but other layers—intellectual, moral, spiritual—reveal themselves to the serious practitioner over the long term.
Correctly performed yoga postures improve breathing. They free the diaphragm, expand the chest, create mobility in the intercostal muscles, and stretch lung tissue. After postures have been practiced for some time, after the nervous system has been stabilized and the student is able to deeply relax, pranayama—the practice of breath control—is introduced.
Students of Iyengar Yoga are encouraged to practice at home what they’ve learned in class. Regular home practice greatly increases the benefits and accelerates learning and the transformation of body and mind.
Iyengar Yoga is known for its emphasis on precise skeletal alignment and muscle action: instruction and correction are given so that each pose is safe, grounded and integrated. An integrated pose develops muscles in a balanced way, and benefits the whole body and all its systems. Work on correct alignment deepens the mind-body connection, and increases focus and awareness.
Iyengar Yoga is known for its precision, but also for its flexibility. Each pose has many variations, each of which can teach something fresh. At the Houston Iyengar Yoga Studio, we attempt to make each class a unique experience, with fresh sequences and perspectives. In addition, as teachers of Iyengar Yoga, we do our best to respond flexibly to the needs of the individual student, altering the poses where necessary based on those needs.
Iyengar yoga is a vigorous practice which builds strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. Its emphasis on correct alignment and balanced muscle development brings balance to the joints and can be beneficial to students struggling with musculo-skeletal problems. Correct alignment also brings circulation and vitality to all systems of the body.We practice both active and passive poses. The balance of stability, extension and openness in an active pose relieves stress by releasing muscle tension, and helps the practitioner feel grounded and confident. Passive “restorative” poses release stress through surrender. All the work in an Iyengar Yoga practice steadies and focuses the mind; students leave class feeling rejuvenated, and carry with them a sense of calm, clarity, and well-being.