Iyengar yoga, a sub-discipline of the larger discipline of yoga, is named after Shri Belur Krishnamchar Sundararaja Iyengar, a native of southern region of India. Shri Iyengar created this sub-discipline after years of extensive research on various Hindu religious books and the Vedas. Now being practiced for the last sixty years, Iyengar yoga poses are considered to be among the best stress relieving techniques. The books that this form of yoga has been derived from, discusses in detail the practices of many of the powerful Hindu gods and goddesses. Today, this form of yoga is recommended for those who suffer from various spiritual and mental tribulations.
Shri Iyengar has won many various awards for his contribution to this field and has also authored many books on yoga, some of which are also referred to as Yoga’s bible. The technique works on various different levels, starting from the physical to the mental and spiritual route of the body. The Iyengar yoga asanas draw heavily from the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga. These eight limbs of yoga emphasize the building of stamina and development of flexibility, concentration, strength and balance. All these are achieved through deep meditation and various Iyengar yoga postures. With the passage of time, this eight limbed approach imparts wisdom to these sutras.
The first limb, known as Yama denotes physical abstinence from violence. The abstinence when practiced for some time can help people prevent from falling into the trap of stress and negativity. Abstinence also helps the body to be strong against cravings and the allure of material things.
Niyama, the second limb, is based on a feeling of self satisfaction. There is an emphasis on clearing the body and mind of any stress that may be caused due to unfulfilled desires. The practice of this gives greater psychological control over oneself.
The next limb is based on the asana, or postures, which help give the body a control over its flexibility, purpose and strengths. These postures, an integral part of Iyenger yoga, benefit the body in many ways. The Iyengar yoga benefits are especially notable because of the ability of the discipline to help those who suffer from severe physical malaise.
Pranayama, which is the next limb, helps give the body control over breathing or the life force which is inhaled through air. The Pratyahara and Dhyana, other two limbs which are practiced by Iyengar yoga enthusiasts, are used to quiet the mind and become one with the Supreme Being, thus achieving an unsurpassed calm and consciousness.