Iyengar Yoga, created by B.K.S. Iyengar, is a form of yoga known for its use of props, such as belts and blocks, as aids in performing asanas (postures). It is firmly based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga as expounded by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, emphasizing the development of strength, stamina, flexibility and balance, as well as concentration (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana).
Iyengar Yoga, a form of Hatha Yoga, focuses on the structural alignment of the physical body through the development of asanas. Through the practice of a system of asanas, it aims to unite the body, mind and spirit for health and well-being. Iyengar Yoga is considered a powerful tool to relieve the stresses of modern-day life which in turn can help promote total physical and spiritual well-being.
Iyengar Yoga is characterized by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment. Iyengar pioneered the use of "props" such as cushions, benches, blocks, straps, and even sand bags, which function as aids allowing beginners to experience asanas more easily and fully than might otherwise be possible without several years of practice. Props also allow tired or ill students to enjoy the benefits of many asanas via fully "supported" methods requiring less muscular effort.
Standing poses are emphasized in Iyengar Yoga. They build strong legs, increase general vitality, and improve circulation, coordination and balance, ensuring a strong foundation for study of more advanced poses.
Unlike more experiential approaches where students are encouraged to independently "find their way" to the asanas by imitating the teacher, an Iyengar Yoga class is highly verbal and precise, with misalignments and errors actively corrected. Iyengar has trained thousands of teachers, who complete 2-5 years of rigorous training for the introductory level of certification (higher-level certification may take a decade or more).
Mr. Iyengar has also developed extensively ways of applying his practice to various ailments, diseases, and disorders. Many of these sources of suffering, from chronic backache to immunodeficiency to high blood pressure to insomnia to depression, have specific programs of Iyengar yoga associated with them. These programs are formulated in their most advanced form at the center of Iyengar Yoga: the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute located in Pune, India.