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Why try Iyengar yoga?

  • by Claire Ferry - Apr 25, 2023

What is Iyengar yoga?

Even if you haven't heard of the Iyengar yoga method, it's likely that if you already practice yoga that you will have been influenced by it. Yogacharya Sri B.K.S Iyengar studied and practised yoga from the age of 10 until his death at the age of 95 in 2014. He was responsible for bringing yoga to the west in the 1970s, including through his book Light on Yoga, and invented many of the props we now take for granted - so if you've used blocks or bolsters in your classes, you've already benefited from his teaching. His method of learning yoga is now the most widely practised in the world.

Why could it be for you?

If you're completely new to any yoga practice, Iyengar yoga will bring you through the basics safely, introducing poses in sequence and with appropriate modifications or support for your body.

Students who have already practised other styles of yoga for a while often turn to Iyengar yoga for in-depth learning, for the precision and alignment within a strong and supple physical practice as well as for the appreciation of breathwork, focus and concentration as yoga becomes a meditative practice. Inversions, now becoming so popular through instagrammed handstands, have always been a staple within Iyengar yoga and consequently teachers are well-trained to teach these and other demanding poses as part of an wide-ranging practice for mind and body.

Class passes

We offer 10, 6 and single class passes and sometimes have offers for beginners. You can buy all passes online here.

Accessible and safe: Iyengar yoga is for anyone and everyone, for all ages and abilities. This is assisted by the use of props where helpful - not to complicate your practice but to find ease and awareness and to work within your own limitations in the moment. Quality of movement is prioritised so poses may be held for longer, allowing the physical body to ease into the practice as well as to encourage concentration and receptivity.

Highly trained teachers: Iyengar yoga teachers have at qualification a minimum of six years practice including three years training with a mentor, and are required to maintain ongoing training year on year. Such teachers can display the Iyengar Yoga Certification Mark, as all the Iyengar teachers at Maitri Studio do. All teachers are therefore well qualified and experienced in helping each student to find their own level. You can expect your teacher to provide a clear demonstration, verbal explanations and individual correction and adjustment when necessary. At Maitri Studio your certified Iyengar yoga teachers are Claire Ferry, Rachel Overton and Maura Gribbin. Eva Komuves also completed Iyengar yoga introductory training although now she teaches other styles also.

Physical benefits: although you may find some Iyengar classes are slower than other types of yoga, you'll discover you can work hard! It's methodical and focuses on postural alignment so helps with strength and stability as well as flexibility. With more advanced teachers, this is expanded to exploring the benefits of yoga for a range of medical conditions. All teachers are able to offer adaptations to help with common ailments (back, shoulder or knee injuries for example).

Not just physical: Iyengar always described the asanas (physical poses) as being just one of the petals in an 8-petalled flower of yoga, that the ethics and moral practices (yamas and niyamas), the breathwork (pranayama) and other limbs of yoga are integral to the practice. At a simple level, the effort of concentration to give attention to the details of each pose calms the mind, relieving stress and anxiety. The various poses also bring different qualities: grounding, uplifting, strengthening, energising, restorative and so on.

The practice of yogasana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga. While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end,” says B.K.S. Iyengar. “Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit.

Sequencing & variety: While no two classes will be the same, each posture is in essence the same, so you can fit into any Iyengar class in the world! You will start to recognise patterns of sequencing as teachers chose asanas from different groups to emphasise various elements of practice. Beginners start with some basis standing and seated poses, and are gradually introduced to supine (reclining) poses, forward and backward extensions, inversions, twists and arm balances. Long term practitioners may be able to do 'advanced' poses, but learn to value the repetition of the 'basic' standing and other poses as essential. In the end, aging inevitably means a loss of both the desire for, and physical ability to achieve, 'advanced' poses, so these foundations means you can keep practising into your 90s and beyond.

Contact Us

Maitri Studio Limited
4 The Mount, Belfast, BT5 4NA

Tel: +44 (0)28 9099 2428

Company number: NI635546