Iyengar Yoga is renowned for the importance it places on attention to detail and focus on precise body alignment.
B.K.S Iyengar pioneered the use of "props" such as cushions, benches, blocks, belts, 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 for beginners 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. Inversions are also very important & taught in the Iyengar system.
Unlike more experiential approaches where students are encouraged to "find their way" independently to the asanas simply by imitating the teacher, an Iyengar Yoga class is highly explanatory and didactic; poses are demonstrated, guided, practised and revised with misalignments and errors actively corrected. B.K.S Iyengar has trained thousands of teachers, who complete 3-5 years of rigorous training for the introductory level of certification (higher-level certification may take a decade or more).
Learn more at the IYAUK website
Who is B.K.S Iyengar?
The world’s most widely practised method of yoga is that taught by Yogacharya Sri B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India. Born on December 14, 1918, in Bellur, India, he studied and practised yoga continuously for over 85 years. B.K.S. Iyengar is universally acknowledged as the world’s greatest yoga teacher.
Mr Iyengar’s thorough study, understanding and mastery of yoga are unrivalled in modern times. Having taught for over 75 years in all five continents, he won worldwide respect and recognition for his achievements and made yoga accessible and relevant to people everywhere, no matter what their physical or mental ability. He set the standard for his teachers and students while his textbooks on yoga have become classics. He set up the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India, with his daughter Smt. Geeta and son Sri Prashant Iyengar as directors.
Triumphing over poverty and serious childhood illness, B. K. S. Iyengar began his study of yoga at a young age with his guru, T. Krishnamacharya. Practising hour after hour, year after year, he acquired the encyclopedic knowledge, which fired his teaching.
Yogacharya Sri B.K.S. Iyengar brought yoga to the West with his pioneering teaching in the 70s, the beginning of today’s explosive growth in yoga. His seminal manual “Light on Yoga”, called “the bible of yoga” and continuously in print since 1966, has been the source book for generations of yoga students. Mr. Iyengar’s other influential works include “Light on Pranayama”, “Light on the Yoga Sutras”, “The Tree of Yoga” and “Light on Life”.
His invention of yoga props — now ubiquitous in yoga studios of all styles — revolutionized the art. Blankets, belts and other devices allow students of all skill levels to work safely in the classical yoga asanas (postures). Mr. Iyengar also revolutionized the therapeutic applications of yoga, gaining recognition for yoga as treatment for serious medical conditions.
Mr. Iyengar continued his daily practice at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India, until shortly before his death at the age of 95 on August 20, 2014. Named for Mr. Iyengar’s late wife, who died shortly before it was completed, RIMYI is where Mr. Iyengar’s family members, now the chief teachers of his method, carry on his work. For many years, until her death in 2018, Geeta S. Iyengar, his daughter was a leading teacher, along with her brother, Prashant. B.K.S. Iyengar’s granddaughter, Abhijata Sridhar Iyengar, also teaches at RIMYI.
Geeta Iyengar is the author of Yoga: A Gem for Women, the pioneering work on yoga for every stage of a woman’s life. Mr. Iyengar’s son, Prashant S. Iyengar, has also written extensively about yoga.
Mr. Iyengar has also transformed his ancestral village of Bellur, in southern India, with a visionary series of projects including a hospital, a water treatment plant, educational opportunities including those for the girls of the village, and India’s first temple dedicated to Patanjali.
What is the SWIY?
South West Iyengar Yoga is a registered charity . We are a group of Iyengar Yoga students and teachers committed to promoting the practice and philosophy of Iyengar yoga.
We cover the South West of the UK but mainly Devon and Cornwall.
We have a committee of teachers and students who volunteer their time to plan all our events, do the accounts, advertise, host visiting teachers and support each other.
SWIY is a member institute of the national IY(UK) which provides a network of information about Iyengar yoga and yoga events in the United Kingdom.
IY(UK) is also responsible for maintaining standards of teaching of Iyengar yoga, and undertakes regular assessments and certification of those wishing to teach from Introductory up to Senior levels. It also coordinates Professional Development days throughout the United Kingdom, to enable teachers to remain up to date and to help maintain the validity of their teaching certificates.
The SWIY organises events & workshops from visiting senior teachers from all over the UK. Most workshops are held in Cornwall at the Zshed Falmouth, Yogaloft Troon, YogaspacePZ & Yogahut Falmouth. Anyone from any area is welcome to attend our events. SWIY members pay an annual fee which gives them a small discount for events/workshops.
On our website you will find details of regular classes, teachers and upcoming events.