What is Iyengar yoga?
Wow ..... how much time do you have? I prefer to call it "a pedagogical approach" to yoga. Founder BKS Iyengar (14/12/18 - 29/8/14) went to great pains to create a huge body of work that outlined how the poses are to be done and taught but that is just the tip of the iceberg as yoga is such a deep and multi-dimensional practice it is just impossible to ever have a definitive "how to". His body of work is not just in his books but also in the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune where teachers from all over the work come to see and learn of his approach in action. So strong is the lineage of training that there is remarkable consistency of approach to teaching yoga all over the world when you attend an Iyengar yoga class.
OK I've booked a class now what?
Well done! Come to class 15 minutes earlier to have a chat with the teacher so you can let him/her know of any medical or physical conditions that may effect your ability to participate in the class. Make sure you don't eat for at least an hour before class, and if you do need to, try and keep it small - yoga on a full stomach is not so great.
What should I wear?
Something comfortable that allows
for a range of movement. Gym gear is fine. Loose clothing is good but
not so loose that you might catch yourself on it.
What should I bring?
Oh nothing,....just yourself. We have yoga mats, bolsters, blankets, chairs, blocks and belts.
I'm not fexible so that means I can't do yoga right?
Wrong. Yoga is much more than just flexibility, though it can improve your flexibilty and strength. In my classes I also use various yoga props that can help people with limited mobility and flexibility access the yoga poses.
I'm pregnant should I do yoga?
Yes. Please let the teacher know as there are certain poses that should be avoided during this time and many that will support the changes that are occurring to your body and the child within as well as prepare you for the labour and motherhood ahead. As a teacher trainee I am not permitted to take on pregnant students until well into my certification and so I would refer you to an appropriately qualified teacher.
Can I do yoga when I'm having my period?
Yes you can. Let the teacher know as there are some poses which are best avoided during menstruation and lots of poses that are recommended that will support the natural rhythm of your body at this time.
I have a disability or chronic condition - I can't do yoga right?
Wrong. People who are incapacitated in various ways should continue to explore, inhabit and enjoy the remaining functionality of their bodies. Yoga is a practice that encompasses a vast range of physical movement and physical awareness, so there will be something that you can do and benefit from. So let's be more specific, here are all the reason why you can do yoga:
you are in a wheelchair
you suffer chronic pain
you have MS
you have vertigo
you have had a knee or hip replaced etc etc etc
it's important the yoga teacher knows the nature of your disability or disease so s/he can avoid the yoga poses that would worsen or aggravate it and find poses that would help you cope better with your condition. As a trainee teacher I would be consulting my senior teacher as to how best to support any student with a complex condition and if necessary refer to another more senior teacher.
Is yoga a religion?
No, it is not a religion but neither is it just a physical practice. Yoga, much like meditation, can support and enhance your own spiritual journey.
How often should I attend class?
Perhaps a better question is "How often should I be practicing yoga?" Yoga is something that definitely gives you many times back what you put in. Dedicated and consistent practice will bring firmness and lightness to body and mind but distracted and half hearted practice will bear similarly weak fruits. Never underestimate the short practice; even 15 minutes of two or three poses before you go to work or before you go to bed is better than none at all. And the short answer is twice a week, one at class and one at home - that's a start!
What is significant about being a "certified Iyengar Yoga teacher"?
Iyengar yoga stands out among other approaches to yoga because of the strength and rigour of its teacher training requirements which are governed by the BKY Iyengar Association in each country. It means that when you attend an Iyengar yoga class anywhere in the world you can expect a certain consistency of approach and standard of practice. to become a a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher you normally would take at least 3 years in close association with your teacher trainer and his/her studio.
Here's a great video talking about what makes Iyengar Yoga
and Iyengar yoga teachers so unique.
Only certified Iyengar yoga teachers may use the BKS Iyengar logo in any of their advertising material.
Pi Wei is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher.