BKS Iyengar (1908 – 2014) was one of the first teachers to bring yoga to the West in the 1950s with the help of his friend and student, Yehudi Menuhin. Since this time, the benefits of his style of yoga have become widely recognised throughout the world. Iyengar Yoga is highly regarded because of its high standards of teacher-training and teacher assessment. It is often viewed as one of the safest forms of yoga for this reason.
Iyengar Yoga can be said to be different from other styles of yoga in 4 ways: alignment, specific sequencing of postures, the use of props and timings. Iyengar yoga emphasizes alignment and precision enabling the asanas or postures to be experienced at a deeper level. Sequencing of asanas in practice is important to provide a safe and progressive practice for all abilities.
Iyengar pioneered the use of yoga equipment or ‘props’ to allow the benefits of yoga asanas or postures to be experienced by people with various ailments. He made yoga accessible to all regardless of age, gender, class or creed. Lastly, timing refers to the length of time spent in postures or pranayama (the study of the breath). It takes time to move into a posture and find stability in order to benefit fully and make friends with it.