Tēnā Koutou Katoa.
Iyengar Yoga is named in honour of the Iyengar family who teach hatha yoga. Classes are safe, BKS Iyengar invented the use of props.
Iyengar yoga teaches a holistic approach to a persons wellbeing. After years of study in the Ashtanga, Iyengar, Ayurvedic and Macrobiotic traditions, Jude continues to be a part of this evolving lineage.
Yoga practice is an art and a science, Yoga cultivates inquiry, sensitivity, and kindness as we look deeply nto ourselves.
What is Iyengar Yoga?
B.K.S. Iyengar, died in 2014 aged 96 years of age. He was the inheritor of a tradition going back more than a thousand years. His brother-in-law Krishnamacharya of Mysore was a south Indian scholar versed in Sanskrit and the Vedas who spent seven years studying asana in Tibet. Unlike most Indian yogis, Krishnamacharya taught many vigorous standing poses which have now been adopted in various western schools of yoga. He instructed the teenaged Iyengar for two to three years before sending him to teach in Pune, where he remained until his death.
B.K.S. Iyengar, during a teaching career spanning more than seventy years, evolved a method of teaching the classic yoga postures that is precise, progressive and accessible.
The Iyengar method
The Iyengar method is based on the teaching of Yoga according to B.K.S. Iyengar. His watchwords are precision and safety – for the health of the student and to cultivate inner awaremess.
Through a deep study of the postures, he produced:
- a safe, progressive syllabus
- rigorous training for teachers
He was a genius at reading, treating and transforming the human form and psyche. This genius extends to his ability to make his teaching transmissible by ordinary teachers. Our job is to remain true to our training, so we can pass on his system for culturing the body, for restraining the mind and making both a vehicle for self-discovery. This great stream inevitably gets diluted but should not be mixed or merged with other currents. This is the purpose of the strict rules of the IY(NZ).
Health for the body, peace for the mind
The Asanas develop strength and flexibility. In particular they can help to relieve back pain, help all the organs to function well and improve the digestive and circulatory systems.
The postures may also bring relief from the effects of stress and fatigue; they can help to bring about a state of deep relaxation.
Pranayama is the art of extending and controlling the breath. It brings vitality and mental balance and improves concentration. It is introduced only when students have a degree of mastery of asana, to be able to control the muscles of the chest and sit with a straight steady posture.
Meditation in action
Postures and regulation of the breath are two essential disciplines in the practice of Yoga. They bring the body and mind into contact with the light of the soul to find inner peace.
Yoga brings grace, beauty and firmness. The body is freed from tensions by stretching and movement. The breathing can become deep and even. Uniting spirit and body, the practitioner learns the art of self-observation. The intelligence and powers of perception are enhanced.
Iyengar Yoga Resources for you at Home
THE PATANJALI INVOCATION by Geeta S. Iyengar
The invocation we chant is as follows:
Om, Om, Om
Yogena cittasya padena vacam
Malam sarirasyaca vaidyakena
Yopakarottam prvaram muninam
Sankha cakrasi dharinam
Sahasra sirasam svetam
Meaning: To the noblest of sages, Patanjali, who gave us yoga for serenity of mind, grammar for purity of speech
and medicine for the perfection of the body, I salute.
The second part describes the statue of Patanjali:
Meaning: I salute before Patanjali whose upper body has a human form, whose arms hold a conch, and disc and a
sword, who is crowned by a thousand headed cobra. Oh incarnation of Adisesa my humble salutations to thee.
Now let me tell you about the Patanjali invocation and the meaning of the invocation and their symbolism. The
invocation begins with Āum. Āum is the first primordial sound, an adi nada, a melodious, sonorous and sublime
sound. The three syllables Ā, U, M represent the entirerange of sound and creation. They represent the waking
dream and sleep states of consciousness. The crescent symbolises the transcendental state. Āum is pranava
which means exalted, unsurpassable praise of the supreme principle, the divinity. According to Patanjali it
symbolises Isvara, the divinity “tasya vacakah pranavah.” Being the source of all energies Āum is
uttered as an auspicious beginning. No sacred activity will be complete, profound and perfect without effecting
the supreme grace and Āum is the greatest invocation to seek that grace.
The author(s) of the invocation are actually unknown. It was never the custom in those days to mention the name
of oneself as an author or a writer. However, some traditional books mention that abahu purusakaram was
written by King Bhojadeva in 1, 100 AD, author of Rajamartanda Vrtti a commentary on the Yoga Sutras.
Each aspect of the statue of Patanjali carries meaning like the intricately worded sutras.
When one gazes at the idol of Sage Patanjali one sees the three and a half coils below the navel. The three coils
indicate the Pranava Āum, a mystical symbol conveying the concept of God as generator, organizer and
destroyer. It signifies him as omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Aum is composed of three syllables, Ā, U
and M with a crescent and a dot on the top.
The three completed coils symbolize the syllables and the half coil, the crescent. It also represents the three gunas
of prakrti, namely sattva, rajas and tamas and an aspirant aiming at the trigunatita state, which is a
transcendent state. Sage Patanjali invites our attention towards the three types of afflictions, namely
adhyatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika, which are to be conquered by following the path of yoga. The three
coils indicate that he is a master of Yoga, Grammar and Ayurveda. The half coil indicates the reaching of the state
of kaivalya. The conch, in the left hand, signifies the state of alertness, attentiveness and readiness to face obstacles,
which are inevitable in the practice of Yoga. In olden days the conch was blown as a warning call to get ready
to face disaster or calamities as it is done nowadays with sirens. It is also a symbol of jnana.
The disc, in the right hand, signifies the destruction of ignorance with supreme effort and is a symbol of
protection. The sword, tucked in the waist, indicates the cutting of the ego, pride or sense of “I” which is the main
obstacle covering pure being. It is a sword of jnana to vanquish â jnana. These three weapons also indicate the
restraint of mental fluctuations, removal of obstacles and the eradication of afflictions through the practice
The hood above the head is an assurance of protection from Adisesa, King of serpents. This protection always
remains for the practitioner, provided he surrenders to the Lord within, which is signified in the atmanjali mudra, hands
folded in namaskara. Lord Patanjali indicates with his hood, that he is our protector, provided
we destroy the evils hidden within us by the sword of Yoga, purifying ourselves with yogic Sadhana.
The thousand headed cobra, sahasra sirasam svetam, indicates that Patanjali guides us in a thousand ways by
showing us the several methods of practice and the approach to find the Soul within.
The idol of Patanjali shows him as half-man and half-serpent. The human form indicates the individuality of
man, since he has been endowed with intelligence to use his own efforts to reach the goal. The form of the serpent
suggests the motion and continuity of Sadhana, which cannot end until the goal is reached.
Patanjali guides us to move like a serpent, intensely,silently and fast on the path of Yoga and to be a
tivrasamvegin, the ultimate type as a pupil. Let me now give you some of the qualities of Patanjali,
according to his works. Patanjali is an immortal, versatile personality, a master of diverse knowledge with divine
qualities. He is a dharmin, virtuous and pious in deeds, a tapasvin, a bhaktin, a sannyasin and a devout practitioner. He is an artist, a skilled dancer, a scientist, a mathematician, an astronomer, a scholar, a physicist, apsychologist, a biologist, a neurologist, a surgeon, a skilled physician and an educationist par excellence. He is an incarnation of glorious qualities, in sraddha, virya and vairagya. He is an expert in psychological and chronological time, as well as in the science of gravity.
He transcends the purusarthas namely, dharma, artha, kama and moksa, as well as prkriti. He has unsurpassable memory and is well versed with nature and its functions. Yet he remains a pure being, a perfect siddhan, a realized Soul. All these qualities suffuse the life of Patanjali.