At the beginning of lockdown number 2, many of us are worried about our physical activity. Sometimes it’s not a few pounds on top, but something much more serious. Few people realize that working from home has a very bad effect on our musculoskeletal system.
To counteract the negative effects of lack of walking, vitamins and exercise, we need to maintain tone. And we can achieve this with the help of well-chosen yoga exercises.
We will talk about one of the schools that gained the most popularity in the west of India and glorified the teachings of yoga around the world, especially in the second half of the twentieth century. This is Iyengar yoga.
The best thing about it is its adaptability, which makes it suitable for everyone. Find out how you can start practicing it today, at home.
Where does Iyengar Yoga originate?
The doctrine is named after its founder B. K. S. Iyengar. He was born at the beginning of the last century in India and has been practicing yoga literally all his life. He developed his own reading, which still has millions of followers.
Iyengar believed, for example, that details are key to practice. That is why his school paid considerable attention to the proper performance of various yoga poses. However, the practice can be quite universal.
In his practices, Iyengar often uses facilitators or so-called “props” . These can be:
- cubes and others
They help when our limbs are shorter than necessary – for example, the arms, which sometimes make us bend over to reach the floor with our fingers when bending, or the legs, which prevents us from holding them behind us. with hands as others can. Also with this type of practice are less likely injuries.
In 1966, Iyengar set out his views in a book that became a bestseller on the shelves of spiritual literature. It is believed that this is the first and most detailed description of over 200 asanas. B. K. S. Iyengar retired in 1984.
Iyengar’s eldest daughter, Gita, also became a yoga teacher. She is also the author of many books. She became best known for her contributions to women’s yoga. Gita and her brother Prashant, Iyengar’s son, became heads of the RIMYI Memorial Yoga Institute named after the guru.
How to practice Iyengar yoga at home?
You don’t need to be an expert to practice yoga at home. Iyengar School is accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels. However, you need to have a solid enough foundation of at least theoretical knowledge to help you protect yourself from injury.
Remember that if you suffer from any chronic diseases, you must talk to a doctor in advance and seek advice. The good thing is that there is a way for everyone to practice Iyengar yoga and any other type of yoga in an adapted version of the asanas, which create difficulties for us. Share with your instructor and he will give you guidance on how to overcome the challenges.
Morning short practice for beginners
We offer you a simple practice that is suitable for performing in the morning . You do not need to have very good yoga skills or have been active in sports to master this regime. You just need to follow the instructions and be careful when performing the asanas.
Warming up and stirring
We start with meditation in a shavasana or child position for a few minutes. Then, if we have been in a child position, we stand up by inhaling, opening our eyes and looking first forward and then up.
We get up to a seat and do a short breathing warm-up with pranayama – a class of yoga exercises that work on breathing (about 5-7 minutes). Iyengar also had his own views on these practices, also adhering to their strict adherence to detail.
After breathing yoga, sit on your knees. Adjust for the soup grown by relaxing on your elbows and sit for a few full breaths. After two minutes, relax even lower, but only if you feel that your joints allow it. If not – stay that way. Stay that way for 3 to 5 minutes.
Return to childish posture, only this time with arms outstretched forward. Stay for 1 minute. We inhale and look ahead. We bend our backs, standing up to a sitting position slowly from the waist up, the head is last. We take our legs forward and stand up to the mountain.
We take an ordinary chair with a straight back, which will be our prop for performing bharadvajasana. The pose is named after the mythical sage and clairvoyant Bharavaja. It is performed by exhaling and rotating sideways and backwards with the torso, while our legs and pelvis remain facing forward.
The posture is great for unlocking the blockages in the body. To perform this variation of it in Iyengar style, put the chair with the back to your left hand. Turning to the left, grab with your left hand the far side of us the backrest, while with the right we hold on to the closer one. We keep the back straight, and the pelvis does not bend to the side. We stay in the asana for 3-4 minutes, then repeat on the other side, turning the chair.
We start from the mountain. We lean forward uttasana , embracing the legs through the calves. If necessary, slightly bend the legs at the knees – this is better than getting a joint lock and distortion of the posture. We stay for 45 seconds. We face the mountain again, holding in the middle. We repeat several times.
Then we perform the asana, called a downward-looking dog. Stay in it for 10 seconds, then inhale to the plank. Exhale in a plank, inhale and exhale back to the lower dog. Repeat the series several times.
In the last dog raise your right leg and stay like that for 5-10 seconds, then step forward with it, placing the knee at 90 degrees with the ankle. From there, move to Warrior 1, 2, and 3 positions, spending 45 seconds in each before switching to the next.
Again we make a dog looking down and we stay in it for 20 seconds.
Badha konasana – the posture is performed by sitting on the ground and turning your feet towards each other. We cover them with our palms and pull them to the bottom of the pelvis. We stay like that for about 10 seconds, after which we move our legs from the knees up and down for another 10 seconds.
Inversions (inverted positions)
Complete the exercises with shoulder posture – salamba shirshasana, followed by ralo – halasana . Skip these two asanas if you are in a cycle. If you have back pain when you lift your legs up in a salamba shirshasana, put your hands on your waist to support it. Going to the plow, keep them there.
When you decide to return, first relax your arms on the ground and use them as shock absorbers to go down your spine vertebrae by vertebrae. The posture is spent up to 4-5 minutes, but if you feel sick, stop immediately and carefully.
After this exercise, hug your legs towards your body and swing in different directions to release the tension.
Relax for at least 10-15 minutes , weather permitting. You can simply lie in shavasana, practicing the method of autosuggestion – think about how each part of the body relaxes, starting with the legs and going up. Thinking about how our limbs relax, they will really relax better. Go around the whole body in this way. When you get to the head and face, stay as long as you want, enjoying the meditation process.
Regular Iyengar yoga practice allows us to straighten the posture and relax the blocked channels in the body. Create a routine to practice these exercises for at least 25 minutes a day and you will be able to counteract all the harmful effects of quarantine.