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