Yoga being an ancient practice has developed many different variations over the years. Everyone has their own unique style of yoga practice. In every variation the focus is centered on the alignment of mind, body, and spirit. Iyengar Yoga is a variation of Hatha Yoga which emphasizes on detail, precision, and alignment. This focus comes from the sequence of postures (asanas) and breath (pranayama). Props are key to unlocking this style of yoga, as the props help with the precision and alignment of the physical body while breath helps with the alignment of the mental body.
There are over two hundred different postures and around fourteen different breathing techniques within the Iyengar Yoga tradition. This style was developed by B.K.S Iyengar in the 1970’s and has since become a big trend around the United States. The use of props is emphasized in this style to avoid injury and to appeal to all ages. Yoga props are important in any style as they prevent injury and overexertion. When students attend yoga, we tend to want to keep up with the most advanced person in the room, although that tends to lead to discomfort physically and mentally. Props are welcomed by all students to enhance each posture in the correct form.
Iyengar Yoga is based on the eight limbs of yoga. These eight limbs of yoga are the skeleton sequence for the majority of styles. My personal background and training at Kripalu was a Hatha based style very similar to Iyengar Yoga. Hatha Yoga is one of the oldest forms of yoga so many different styles were developed from the Hatha style. When I was introduced to Iyengar Yoga, I learned the importance of props. This style really helps me focus on my alignment with the support of props such as straps, blocks, and blankets. It is always nice to have some extra support to realign a pose and focus on the breath movement throughout the body.