Discovering Iyengar Yoga

“Yoga is like music – Rhythm of body + Melody of Mind + Harmony of Soul = Symphony of Life. It is a way of life; it is an art, a science, a philosophy”

– BKS Iyengar

Photo Credit: Bepresent4u.com

As a Regulated Kinesiologist, Nationally Certified Iyengar yoga teacher who holds their master’s degree in Psychology, I encourage you to take the time to understand that yoga is an integration of anatomy, neuroscience, and culture and thus does not fall into a single dimension such as meditation and exercise. True
yoga’s health benefits are based in scientific objective data and must be practiced in a systematic way to truly improve your physical health and mental wellbeing.

Scientific truth is objective, confirmed by proof, and is or at least, ideally should be universally accepted. Subjective truth, on the other hand, is dependent upon opinion and perspective. Iyengar yoga has objective proof as well as regulatory boards for professionals who are designed to protect the public. There is a safe scope of practice to ensure consistency, safety and accountability to those who have the education and training to teach it. Overall, to teach it, it is complex and based on the understanding of neuroscience, anatomy, mental disorders, injuries, illness, age and gender and other human regulatory factors.

The Western proclivity for studying component parts, such as postures, mindful breathing, and meditation, highlights the difference between Eastern and Western approaches to healing. Yoga was designed so that all eight limbs of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were to be practiced in sequence. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali conceptualizes the practice of yoga as comprising eight limbs (areas). Most yoga studies focus on asanas (postures), pranayama (mindful breathing), and dhyana (meditation).

The eight limbs were developed to be used together so that the ability to study and teach them in isolation is difficult. There is, accordingly, a conflict between the Western view of dissecting healing modalities into component parts and the practice of yoga in which the component parts are designed to be used simultaneously. For example, it is hard to perform a posture correctly without simultaneously concentrating on the form and breath.

Photo Credit: le-minh-phuong unsplash

Yoga is universal and is for anyone who can open their mind, heart and be available to work within their own body’s capabilities. To achieve this however a competent teacher is key whose training involves a deep understanding on how to achieve mobility, stability, integration and consolidation.

Iyengar trained yoga teachers commit to three years of at least 15 hours per week of education, training and practical placements in order to teach yoga in what it was initially designed for and in order to receive its health benefits. Yoga teacher training programs can vary widely from 20 hours up to 3 years of training for
Iyengar teachers. That is 1800 hours of training followed by a three-day National Assessment prior to earning level one of certification. Prior to my certification in Iyengar yoga I had taken many other short-term courses and never felt capable to teaching yoga safely. Yoga is a complex, multifaceted practice that has so many
health benefits when taught under that guidance of the right teacher who can explain the why in accordance with measurable reality. Women’s anatomy, hormones and functions are different than men’s and yoga has various practices and sequences of poses that adapt as we move through human development.

So, what makes Iyengar work to better your health and why is it available and can benefit people of all ages regardless of age, body type, injury, disease or mental disorders? Iyengar yoga teachers are taught how to adapt asanas (poses) to allow for this. This is the purpose of props such as blocks, straps, bolsters, and chairs.
Props allow for adaption and accessibility in order to teaching mobility, stability, integration and consolidation. Seasoned practitioners continue to use props for necessary feedback and safety from injury. Your nervous system plays a role in nearly every aspect of our health and well -being guiding our brain, sensations,
perception, thoughts, emotions, memory, learning, movement, balance, coordination, stress level, aging, breathing, digestion and hormonal levels.

Next week we will explore 3 foundational poses and the proper instruction for each.

To learn more, visit Annette’s website at www.bepresent4u.com. Look for this symbol as only Iyengar Regulated Practitioners can use it.

Annette will also be teaching for Muskoka Chautauqua from August 6 to the 15 th from 8:30am to 9:30am at Windermere Resort in Muskoka. Join her morning classes to experience this yourself!!!

To look for an Iyengar teacher near you go to: https://iyengaryogacanada.com

Annette’s passion for lifelong learning has enabled her to gain the experience and education to treat the reciprocal relationship of health (mental health and physical conditions) while walking a continuum of change in the present. ... She holds both a BSC degree in Kinesiology and a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology. She is certified with the College of Kinesiology of Ontario (CKO) and holds National Certification as an Iyengar Yoga Teacher. My professional experience of over 20 years has been working with those individuals who suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, depression and loss.