• Iyengar Yoga and a Beginners Mind

    The purpose of Iyengar yoga is YOGA, and the purpose of yoga is to reach within and explore the infinite SELF, as Iyengar did.

    Iyengar yoga is known for its therapeutic approach and use of props that include blocks, chairs, or anything that helps you understand the asanas (poses). Truth be told, it’s more than that.

    Iyengar yoga is a method to explore the infinite path of yoga and reach within. The name of this yoga method comes from the last name of B.K.S Iyengar.

    There is a quote he used to tell his students that greatly influenced me. He would say, “The difference between you and I is that when you go to practice, you try to remember everything I taught you, and when I go to practice, I forget everything I know.”

    To me this is the essence of Iyengar yoga.

    Having a beginner’s mindset allows you to be in the present moment and focus on what’s happening in the NOW with your body.

    Having a beginner mindset implies humility. It implies that we don’t know what the moment can bring.

    It implies sensitivity to observe and to explore the unknown of today.

    It implies the eagerness to learn to be curious.

    It also implies that you are letting go of the dogmas of the past.

    Iyengar was able to go to practice with a beginner’s mind and transform and rewrite his behavior each time.

    A beginner’s mindset is not that of a beginner student. A beginner’s mind is a requirement for inner exploration and is a requirement for an advanced student. An advanced student is one who can find joy in learning from himself, and that joy goes beyond failure or success.

    The props are the outcome of Iyengar’s beginner mindset on the practice. He realized that the props could be of help, not only to the beginner student but also to those who are willing to create space and structure within their body for the energy to flow. Space is needed so the energy can flow, and structure is necessary to direct energy to where it is needed. The props are not there for making a pose easier. They help to find new spaces within your body and your mind. When we find new spaces, the energy flows, and when the energy is allowed to flow, it can boost your mood.

    A very nice quote of Iyengar on props is that “the props are there to make it easy to work harder.” I would add that they make it easy to work more intelligently. And where intelligence goes, prana goes.

    Iyengar yoga is broad. It can be therapeutic. It can be dynamic. It can be static and focused on actions. It can be done with beginners, intermediates, and advanced students. There are classes where you are going to jump from one pose to the other or classes where you may spend a long time in a few poses. There are classes for the neck, for the back, for the knees, for scoliosis and everything in between. The purpose of Iyengar yoga is YOGA, and the purpose of yoga is to reach within and explore the infinite SELF, as Iyengar did.

    By Javier Wilensky

    Javier Wilensky was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduating from Universidad de Ciencias Economicas y Sociales (UCES) with a BA in Business Administration, Javier moved to Florida to found Om’echaye Wellness and Fitness center. In 2002 Javier discovered IYENGAR Yoga as a result of a constant quest to improve concentration and release stress; this discipline not only helped him overcome these challenges but also opened the doors to a new spiritual path. Since then he has traveled to India continuously to study with the Iyengar family. He also studies with Lois Staimberg among other teachers. From the moment Javier became a certified Iyengar teacher, he has thrived to inspire individuals to be sensitive to the gift of life and be thankful for their body and their challenges. His teachings come from the heart to touch the hearts of others. He believes that we all should thrive for happiness every day and when adversity crosses our path, yoga is the best tool to overcome it. With his career as a Yoga Director/Owner at Om’echaye Wellness and fitness center in Hallandale, FL. Javier has grown and gained the experience of a lifetime while continuing to learn something new every day. For the past ten years, Javier has taught several workshops, Teacher training and more than ten classes a week. Today, Javier aims at continuing his journey towards spiritual growth as well as contributing to the spiritual growth of the community through the teaching of Yoga. Find Javier on Instagram here.

    Photo by Ernest Brillo on Unsplash

  • What is Iyengar Yoga?

    “Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.” B.K.S. Iyengar

    Iyengar Yoga is named after Yoga Master BKS Iyengar, author of what is considered the Bible of yoga, “Light on Yoga”, as well as numerous other books. Since the age of 16, Mr. Iyengar dedicated his life to the study of yoga. Born in Bellur, a small village in India, he became world-renowned for his pioneering work on the practice of yoga.

    His groundbreaking contributions to the study and practice of yoga are far and wide, but here are some highlights:

    1. His philosophical teachings are deeply rooted in the yoga sutras of the ancient sage, Patanjali.
    2. He discovered that alignment was an important element in the quieting of the mind.
    3. He devised sequencing that led to that purpose, and as such, a class can include slow, fast, long holds, fast movements, and the study of all categories of poses in various ways.
    4. He invented props such as blocks, straps, and other creative ways of helping his students attain postures that otherwise would be out of reach for them, as well as to gain stability and clarity in the poses.
    5. His creativity has enabled anyone to practice yoga, through his pioneering work in Yoga Therapy, and helped those with issues no one else could solve.

    Students from around the world flock to the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India, to continue learning. The institute is a two-story building with two yoga halls, which has daily classes that range from kids and teen classes, beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, different levels of Pranayama classes as well as Medical Therapy Classes.

    Mr. Iyengar’s daughter, Geeta, also dedicated her life to yoga, and to help students understand her father’s work. Author of “Gem for Women” and other works in yoga, she helped to advance the understanding of yoga for women.

    Mr. Iyengar’s son, Prashant, also the author of numerous books on yoga, philosophy, and Pranayama, continues to guide students into a deeper understanding of the functionings and connections of the mind, body, and breath.

    Mr. Iyengar’s granddaughter, Abhijata, along with Certified teachers from around the world, continue to share BKS Iyengar’s legacy.

    To become a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher (CIYT), a candidate must study with a certified teacher for at least three years before beginning the path to becoming a teacher. Many CIYT’s follow the Mentorship model for training future teachers, and all Teachers maintain a regular practice and continue to study with higher-level teachers.

    To learn more about Iyengar Yoga, please visit www.bksiyengar.com or www.yogarosa.com.

    By Rosa Santana

    Made in Brazil with Mexican ingredients, Rosa Santana is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, and Certified Yoga Therapist by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She has been studying, teaching, and propagating the therapeutic art of Iyengar Yoga and the teachings of Patanjali since 1995. She was drawn to the mental and physical discipline after suffering three accidental falls, one of which fractured her tailbone. Since healing her back, neck and sciatica pains, she has introduced yoga to thousands of students who had never experienced this healing art, philosophy, and science. In 2001, she founded www.yogarosa.com., in the Miami area, which has become a respected yoga studio in the classical teachings of Iyengar Yoga. She has hosted numerous internationally recognized teachers and continues to teach and mentor yoga students and teachers. She has had the privilege of studying directly with Yoga Master BKS Iyengar, and the Iyengar family in India and the US on numerous occasions. She continues to learn from the Iyengars as well as Senior Level teachers in the US and abroad.

    Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

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