Ivengar Yoga in Tofino
by Lisa Fletcher, Tofino
Yoga is everywhere these days. It’s like a revolution that has
slammed into the western world. People are going to classes, teaching
classes, and making sure they have the stylee outfits that make it
Yoga has been epitomized and even popularized to mesh with the West’s
new-found obsession of body image and fitness. Its been fused with
aerobics, pilates, and even boxing but it is far from just a physical
experience. Yoga came from a long road of science, spirituality and
beautifully simplistic art.
Yoga originated in India many moons ago. Sages and gurus kept this
hot little secret to themselves, only passing it down through practice
to keep it true to it roots.
Patanjali was a devoted yogi who scoured the lands of India in search
of science, art and philosophy. He was the first yogi who decided
to write the mystery of yoga all together in one handy treatise
called the Yoga Sutras.
In the heart of the Sutras was the Eight Fold Path; yama, universal
moral commandments, niyama, self-observance, asana, postures, pranayama,
control of breath, pratyahara, withdrawing of the senses, dharana,
concentration, dhyana, meditation, and Samadhi, the state of superconciousness.
Hatha Yoga, meaning union with force or determined effort, was created
from emphasis on asanas (poses) and pranayama (breath work) that
were known to open energy channels within to create awareness and
stability between the body, breath and mind.
Many styles of yoga have evolved from the Yoga Sutras, Kundalini, Raja,
Ashtanga, Kriya, Bikrims etc. Each style with its own edge, some more
commercialized than others but most cumulate from the common effort
of a purifying the mind, bettering the soul and improving humanity
as a whole.
So that’s yoga, but there’s yoga and then there’s
Iyengar Yoga is a serious style that still holds the true spirituality
of yoga days gone by. It is a very deep-rooted and well-rounded practice
that comes from physical and mental well being combined with personal
growth and empowerment. It’s a forever self- improvement project,
a philosophy for leading a finer existence.
B.S.K. Iyengar is a yogi from India, who began to spread his own
personal style almost 70 years ago after much trial and error.
Iyengar complements Hatha Yoga using props such as wooden bricks, foam
blocks and belts with a rediscovered set of postures and breathing
techniques. His core belief is that using props gives a freer range
of motion to work with, and helps to focus on the smaller details that
perfect the pose. It definably strengthens the core body but also holds
an innate sense of science.
During an Iyengar Yoga class, it’s common to only practice a
handful of poses. Most of the time is spent as prep work so that once
you get into the pose your body if fully ready for it and gets the
most from it. Every pose has a direct affect on some part of the body.
Not just on a muscular level either, there are some poses that get
deep down into the tissue and even further right down to the cells.
You can massage organs, open pathways and focus the mind to act deliberate
Iyengar sequenced his poses to maximize the powerful effect each
individual pose has on the body and mind. Practicing backbends
to rejuvenates the spine while opening the chest and heart but
should be followed by a spinal twist to release the low back and
restore balance in the neck and spine. The work done in one pose
should never counteract the next.
Iyengar’s poses are progressive and increase stamina. The longer
a pose can be held, the deeper the benefits are felt. A correctly preformed
Sirsasana or headstand gets blood flowing to the brain, pituitary and
pineal gland, giving clearer thinking, growth, health, and vitality.
B.K.S. Iyengar has maintained integrity by certifying only those who
can prove their worth. It’s a very lengthy and involved process
to becoming an Iyengar Yoga teacher. This is good news for the peeps
that take Iyengar classes, quality instructors delivering solid knowledge.
Iyengar Yoga has a holistic style all to its own. As a quote from
the man himself;
“When I practice I am a philosopher, When I teach, I am a scientist,
When I demonstrate, I am an artist.”
Lisa Fletcher wants to tame wild elephants and start a revolution in
her spare time.
Tofino Body & Soul - Spa and Wellness articles
Ivevgar Yoga in Tofino is explained by Lisa Fletcher in this Tofino yoga article for Tofino Time magazine.