Iyengar yoga is a widely recognized form of yoga, with 180 Iyengar Yoga Institutes in 40 countries. Developed by B.K.S. Iyengar (December 14, 1918 – August 20, 2014) of Pune, India, this form of yoga is marked by its precise alignment of bones, muscles and joints in the pose.
His life’s work was teaching asana and pranayama encompassing all of the eight limbs as formulated by Patañjali. Patanjali lived about 1700 years ago in India. He is credited with texts on Ayurvedic medicine and grammar as well as the yoga sutras which encapsulate yoga philosophy in 196 sutras (aphorisms).
The eight limbs are:
- virtuous conduct towards others or social discipline
- virtuous conduct towards oneself or individual discipline
- practice of the postures for physical discipline
- practice of breath control for mental discipline
- discipline of the senses
B.K.S. Iyengar continued his daily yoga practice until his final days, inspiring students from around the world who attend classes at his Institute in Pune . To learn more about B.K.S. Iyengar click here.
For more information about the Sage Patanjali, and to hear a recording of B.K.S. Iyengar reciting the invocation to Patanjali, please click here.
The Teaching Method
The Iyengar Style of teaching uses props (straps, wooden blocks, bolsters and chairs) when necessary, to allow students to progress safely and at their own pace. The props are meant to awaken the body’s natural intelligence, allow the breath to flow more easily, provide steadiness and increase mobility.
The postures are taught in a safe, systematic manner to establish a firm foundation. The sequencing of specific postures during class is a highly developed aspect of Iyengar Yoga, providing the most beneficial effect on the nervous system. Many students report improved sleeping after one class. As understanding, strength and flexibility are gained, students can move onto refining the basic poses and learning more complex poses. Although Iyengar yoga is internationally renowned for its therapeutic value and for recovering from injuries , an advanced Iyengar practice demands a high level of strength, balance and agility.
Iyengar Yoga Instructors
Becoming a Iyengar Yoga Instructor is a commitment with equal dedication and rewards. Once accepted in a teacher training program, a rigorous training process begins which can take up to five years to complete. Only after passing two assessments overseen by a national board can teachers display the Certification Mark demonstrating a commitment to maintaining the purity, excellence and high standards of Iyengar Yoga.
To learn more about Iyengar Yoga, visit