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What is Iyengar Yoga?

Adeline Iyengar Yoga Berkeley California

The Practice

Iyengar yoga is Hatha Yoga as taught by BKS Iyengar.  Classes are sequenced to promote health and skill in the body, and stability in the mind. Doing yoga the Iyengar way means that emphasis is placed on alignment of the body, mind and breath.  The class is artfully sequenced so the student can begin to experience inner harmony and quiet inside.

We welcome you to get strong and centered through a personalized and sensible yoga practice. Meet your life with confidence and ease.

Iyengar Yoga is known for asana, the physical postures, yet the practice incorporates the breath, the mind and yoga philosophy throughout each class.  All classes start with sitting to develop meditative quiet, and often we may do a short chant to thank the teachers who have brought us this practice.  We end every class with savasana, a pose for rest and recuperation.  Iyengar Yoga has its roots in India, though it is universal.  Iyengar Yoga is for everyone.

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Skilled Teachers

Certified Iyengar Yoga teachers know how to meet students of all ages and abilities.  Our job is to meet you where you are at! Our teachers have extensive training and direct personal experience of the yoga postures so that we can teach the individuals in front of us – you will get modifications, corrections and support every step of the way.  We love all body types, abilities and ages.

From your first class, Iyengar Yoga develops strength, stamina, coordination and flexibility. We use a safe and systematic progression of poses to develop your abilities. This total approach ensures that students progress from posture to posture, class to class, and year to year.

Our teachers are passionate!  Using physical alignment as a starting point, Iyengar Yoga classes encourage the spread of intelligence throughout the body, the growth of self awareness and an experience of the asanas as a form of meditation in action.

Iyengar Yoga has its roots in Vedic tradition.  All our teachers use Sanskrit names for poses – and we bring the Vedic traditions into class through chant, yoga philosophy and story telling.   While asana is at the heart of what we offer at Adeline Yoga, we also love to chant, do pranayama and study together.  Our teachers have dedicated pranayama practices and study yogic texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Bhagavad Gita.  Iyengar Yoga is not religious.  It is for seekers of all backgrounds.

We are very much aware of the importance of cultural appreciation rather than appropriation. Our roots in Iyengar Yoga are buried deeply into the soil of India itself.  As a center for studying yoga, we have roles both as guardians of yoga traditions and as yogic seekers.

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B.K.S. Iyengar

Named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, B.K.S. Iyengar is universally acknowledged as the world’s foremost yoga teacher. Yogacharya (yoga master) Iyengar brought yoga to the west with his pioneering teaching in the 1960s and 70s, fueling the explosive popularity we have seen today. His book, Light on Yoga, is considered the “the bible of yoga,” and has been the source book for generations of yoga students.  BKS Iyengar was often called the “Michelangelo of yoga”.

Mr. Iyengar systematized over 200 classical yoga Asanas and 14 different types of pranayamas from the simple to the incredibly difficult. These have been structured and categorized to allow a beginner to progress surely and safely from basic postures to the most advanced as they gain flexibility, strength and sensitivity in mind, body and spirit.

BKS Iyengar passed away in 2014 at age 96, though he continued his daily yoga practice until the very end. His daughter Geeta S. Iyengar carried on the tradition until she away passed in 2018.  His son Prashant S. Iyengar, and his granddaughter, Abhijata Iyengar, as well as a cadre of highly trained teachers carry on BKS Iyengar’s work, teaching scores of local and international students at the Ramamani Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India.  Many of Adeline Yoga’s teachers have studied directly with the Iyengar family, and several of us make regular trips to the Iyengar Yoga Institute in India.

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Hallmarks of Iyengar Yoga

Instruction: Clear directions and demonstrations from teachers help students learn and improve poses. Accurate and specific instructions also help prevent injuries. Iyengar Yoga encourages weak parts of the body to strengthen and stiff areas to release, thus awakening and realigning the whole body.

Sequencing: Every Iyengar yoga class is different.  Our teachers introduce a wide variety of poses depending on the theme of the class and the needs of the students.  Basic principles are taught in a safe and systematic way within a class, and from class to class. Teachers understand which poses best prepare the body and mind for subsequent poses.

Personalized: Iyengar teachers offer students individual feedback about how to improve poses. Teachers are trained in how to adapt poses to address common physical problems. Certified teachers are can address common problems with knees, lower back, neck and shoulders, headaches, anxiety and depression, and more. Please let us know about yourself so we can support you in your yoga journey.

Props: Props such as belts and blocks can help students experience the benefits of a pose. Teachers may use props to deepen a pose, support students in resting poses, and give students the ability to do poses that might otherwise not be possible.

Philosophy: Philosophical concepts are integrated in asana classes and their relevance to daily life is highlighted. The Iyengar method focuses on developing inner awareness by using the body as a focal point for the attention, creating a conscious state of being in the moment.

Variety: Each time you come to class you will do a new sequence of poses. A class might focus on a category of poses (such as backbends or restoratives), or on an area of the body (such as the hips or hamstrings). With consistent study, students are exposed to all categories of poses and progressively develop strength, flexibility, balance, stamina, and concentration.

Teaching Excellence: Iyengar teachers are among the most highly trained yoga instructors in the world. Certification to teach Iyengar Yoga requires years of study and passing rigorous assessment tests.

Yoga Beyond Asana: Iyengar Yoga cultivates all 8 disciplines of yoga and is far from gymnastics and deep breathing. With practice and understanding, asana and pranayama affects the individual on mental and spiritual levels as well as a physical level.

Community:  Our community of students and teachers extends across the entire globe.  We are tied together by the teachings of BKS Iyengar, meeting in classes, workshops and conventions both locally, regionally, nationally and in Pune India.  It is so much fun to take a class in Buenos Aires and then Prague, with a home base at Adeline Yoga.  You can see we are all passionate about similar things.  We love being together in class, discussing yoga over meals, volunteering, launching projects and being together in so many other ways.