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Iyengar yoga

Iyengar props help novice students achieve what might otherwise be overly taxing yoga poses.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 15, 2012

Iyengar is a type of yoga in which students use props to gradually ease into fundamental yoga poses. It was founded by the purist yogi B.K.S. Iyengar, who designed this style of yoga to focus on the precise alignment of the body and deliberate movements. Iyengar began practicing yoga at the age of 18.

Benefits of Iyengar yoga: Iyengar objects help novice students achieve what might otherwise be overly taxing yoga poses, while encouraging veterans to strive toward poses that they couldn't attain before.

With Iyengar, it may be possible to, for example, stand on your head without instantly collapsing. Practitioners say that Iyengar yoga builds lean, not bulky muscles.

Who Iyengar yoga is best for: Objects like sticky mats, blankets, blocks, benches, wall ropes, harnesses, sandbags and chairs provide additional support for the body, making Iyengar a good practice for the inflexible and the injured.

Getting ready: Gather the required straps, blankets and blocks before beginning an Iyengar flow. Newbies should start off with an introductory class in order and ease into the practice from there.

While students flows through the poses, Iyengar instructors check for the proper alignment of the body. Wear fitted clothing like shorts or footless tights so this is possible. Eat lightly before practicing.

Calories burned: The jury is still out. The number of calories burned during an Iyengar style class differs from one yoga practitioner to the next.

Celebrity Devotees

Andie MacDowell is devoted to the practice of Iyengar yoga.

Risks

Iyengar yoga carries very little risk, since the use of objects are intended to help prevent injury.

Who shouldn't do it:

Iyengar is a practical style of yoga that relies on a safe progression of postures that work with a student's abilities and cater to their individual skill levels. Individuals with health concerns or limitations should tell the instructor ahead of time.

Women who are pregnant may be urged to avoid certain poses, such as inversions and lying flat on the back for long periods of time. Women should skip inverted poses while menstruating.

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