Why Practice Iyengar Yoga?
You don’t need to be able to touch your toes to do Iyengar yoga, but if you practice it, that may be one of the results you get.
In addition to stretching your muscles, the physical demand of holding each pose will help you build strength and tone your body.
A Calmer Mind
Once you enter an asana or pose, the method of Iyengar yoga is to focus on the alignment of the pose. When you do this well, there is no room for other thoughts. You are completely in the moment – it is called ‘meditation in action’. Like meditation, the more you practice it, the calmer your mind will be—on the mat and off of it.
Studies have supported the power of Iyengar yoga to relieve back and neck pain. By focusing attention on alignment, much of the slouching, hunching, and muscle weakness that leads to back and neck pain can be overcome.
Through its focus on alignment, Iyengar yoga helps you strengthen the muscles of the body responsible for good posture. With minor adjustments to improve alignment, the small muscles that are often ignored become stronger. The result is that you’ll find yourself sitting and standing straighter, which will give you more energy, less pain, and increased confidence.
Protection From Disease
Disease often results when the normal processes of the body don’t happen the way they should. Iyengar yoga helps improve the overall functioning of the body—from the circulatory and lymph systems, to the nervous system and digestion.
When the body’s systems are doing their jobs, organs are nourished, toxins are eliminated, and the risk of some diseases is reduced.
Improved Food and Lifestyle Habits
As you calm your mind and improve your physical condition, your body responds by wanting—even craving—healthier living. This means healthier food and lifestyle choices. Iyengar yoga teaches you to love your body, and how can you really love your body if you’re abusing it with unhealthy choices?
While you hold your asana and consider your alignment, Iyengar yoga also instructs students to focus on the breath.
Whether you realize it or not, many of us hold our breath during times of stress. The more you practice breathing through Iyengar yoga, however, the less you’ll end up holding your breath unconsciously, and oxygen to your brain is a good thing!