When going away to a yoga retreat we want to focus on a week of relaxation and health. One type of yoga that anyone can try is Iyengar Yoga which is perfect for beginners or those who want to work on body alignment. Iyengar Yoga was created by B.K.S. Iyengar and is a style that focuses attention on poses with the help from props. The greatest benefit to anyone practicing yoga is to get the form and fundamental right.
A yoga teacher will focus on each pose with focus on alignment and symmetry. Each pose that is done is held for longer amounts of time than in other yoga styles. This is not considered a flowing yoga style. Iyengar Yoga brings meditation into the routine.
While away at your yoga retreat bringing wellness back into your life your yoga teaching will also bring awareness to you. Awareness starts with your body and then travels to all parts of your body with routine practice.
Iyengar Yoga differs from other styles of yoga because it focuses on developing strength, body alignment, and endurance, while key areas of self-awareness, inward reflection, and intelligent evaluation are underlying factors. Relaxation and flexibility are also key points. At your yoga retreat you will be instructed to move into postures that will help with deep relaxation. From that point, you will be introduced to reclining and sitting postures, inversions, forward bends, backbends, arm balance, twists and the start of flowing sequences.
A teacher with yoga certification will teach you why the alignment of your poses are very important. We are used to using the muscles in our body that we tend to always use. Stretching these areas and building these muscles in our body only tend to keep the posture that those areas support. Iyengar Yoga will focus on a broader range of muscles in your body. Weaker parts of your body will start to strengthen and stiff joints will gain flexibility, which will change the alignment in your body and could change your posture. As your body finds a better alignment your muscles do not have to work as hard which brings a sense of natural relaxation to the muscles.
During a class at your yoga retreat you will be introduced to the use of props during Iyengar yoga. Since this style is all about alignment you are given props to help you reach that goal. The aim and purpose of props is to help you during your yoga practice reach proper alignment even if your muscles and body may not allow you to open enough.
Different Categories of Asanas in Iyengar Yoga
Below are listed the categories of the different poses that you will practice during Iyengar yoga.
- Forward Bends
- Back Bends
Practicing these poses in the early morning or evening, not directly after eating is the best time during the day. Practice on a clean, dry but comfortable area on the floor or mat. Finish your yoga routine with final relaxation. Lie on your back, closing your eyes, and slowly pass your thoughts through each part of your body bringing in a sense of deep relaxation. Keep your concentration on your breathing to allow all of the day’s distractions to leave your thoughts. Practice this relaxation technique at the end of each practice session for at least ten minutes.
Once you have created the alignment in your body it is automatically mirrored in your mind. At this point your yoga vacation has paid for itself! This is so important and why so much weight is put on your symmetry and body alignment as well as your meditation and breathing. All poses are held longer which allows for you to develop a state of calm in your mind.
Benefits of practicing this style of yoga are getting rid of stress and tension, toning up muscles in your body, and removing chronic aches and pains in your body. As you learn to align your body and strengthen the weaker areas of your body and mind you are going to start to feel better.
Meditation and Poses
Iyengar yoga focuses on meditation during your poses. While away at your yoga retreat your instructor will focus on your alignment and inner awareness focusing on your body. As you learn to find this balance the instructor will move forward to other parts so that you can learn to grow through continued practice.
Even though it is possible to learn how to practice yoga with a book or video it is a great benefit for Iyengar Yoga to begin with an expert that has gone through yoga training. All instructors at a yoga retreat will have this training and can help you find your alignment during your poses.