What is Yoga?
Yoga is the physical practice of postures and breathing techniques that brings health to the body. It promotes flexibility, strength and balance in the body and calms the mind through concentration and relaxation. It has been used for thousands of years to successfully treat pain and relieve stress. Yoga can be practiced by anyone regardless of health, age, or circumstance of life.
Yoga philosophy as written in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali consists of eight parts or limbs. These limbs are as follows:
2 Personal practices
Self-study (gaining knowledge and wisdom)
Letting go to the Universe
3 The physical postures
4 Breath control
5 Withdrawal of the senses from the outer distractions to inner peace
8 Transcendence of Consciousness
Human beings are made up of three components: body, mind and soul. It should be noted that the mind is the intelligence in every cell of the body (and is distinct from the brain, the organ in the head that thinks). Corresponding to these are three needs that must be satisfied for a contented life: The physical need is health, the psychological need is knowledge, and the spiritual need is inner peace.
Yoga helps all these areas. At the physical level it gives relief from countless ailments from the practice of the postures. At the psychological level yoga sharpens the intellect, aids concentration, steadies the emotions and encourages caring for others. At the spiritual level the practice of the breathing techniques cultivates concentration, which leads to meditation. This enables the realization of stillness and inner peace.
Yoga is in the end a meditative spiritual path to enlightenment. The word Yoga actually means union – is this case, union of the individual Self with the Universal Soul, or Self-realization. It is not a religion, and it can be practiced by anyone regardless of personal beliefs. It can either enhance people’s established beliefs, or help them to make conscious choices about new life paths.
What do you mean by alignment?
You’ve heard that old saying about “getting my ducks in a row”. When you do yoga you remove pain by putting your bones, joints, and muscles into correct alignment by practicing correct action in the poses. This brings the spine into alignment, which aligns the chakras, which in turn helps you align with your chosen spiritual path. You can become healthier by bringing a few simply daily habits into alignment in your life. You then Live with Alignment!
What is Iyengar Yoga and why does it matter?
Iyengar Yoga is named after YogaCharya BKS Iynegar who lives in Pune, India. He was listed in Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20 th century. He is credited with the popularity of yoga in America and in many other countries around the world. His system has a lineage that dates back thousands of years.
At the heart of the Iyengar method is precise attention to the alignment of the body in the postures, which focuses the mind while strengthening, balancing and opening the body/mind. This promotes flexibility in the body and the mind/thinking process.
The sequencing of the postures is also of upmost importance. Some styles of yoga practice the same postures every time. In Iyengar yoga we use different sequences depending on the desired effect of that particular practice or on the goals of each individual. You might say that a proper sequence of poses produces a result greater than the sum of all those poses.
Iyengar yoga uses props such as mats, blocks, blankets, walls, and specialized wooden benches. This makes the benefits of yoga available to anyone regardless of age or physical condition. Therefore Iyengar yoga is the most therapeutically beneficial type of yoga. Gary teaches yoga to people who have been in car accidents or have suffered severe sports injuries (such as those resulting in mental rods supporting broken bones), brain damage resulting from things like concussions and conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis.