I have a five class pass for the Iyengar Yoga Centre here that I need to use before the end of the year so I am cramming in as many classes as I can in the next few weeks.
I attended two classes in the last 36 hours. One I loved, one…not so much. I seem to be like this with Iyengar Yoga. I would say I enjoy almost exactly 50% of the Iyengar classes I go to. A LOT of it has to do with the teacher. I truly believe some of the best teachers I have ever gone to have been Iyengar teachers. Their precision and detail they give in their instruction is wonderful. The teacher training is quite thorough and it shows with the depth of knowledge so many Iyengar teachers possess. But they are rigid with their style. A pose in Iyengar is done a very specific way. Often instructors come over and “put” me into the posture correctly. The thing is.. my body can go into postures that it shouldn’t be in. My body is FLEXIBLE enough to go places that perhaps aren’t good for it. And this is where I have an issue with the Iyengar style of yoga.
We all have tendencies with our bodies. Many of these tendencies can be negative and yoga is a great way to “reprogram” our bodies. However our tendencies often come after many years of being (or moving) a certain way. I do believe that yoga can retrain our bodies s-l-o-w-l-y out of these bad habits but the way it is done sometimes in Iyengar classes doesn’t feel healthy to me. And there isn’t really a lot of accounting for the fact that some bodies won’t ever go into some of these postures… no matter what you do. We are all different shapes and sizes. Our bones our different. Our angles and curves are different. Some postures just don’t work for some people. End of story. It is in these “won’t go” places that I feel the Iyengar system lacks flexibility… which is really too bad because otherwise I LOVE this kind of yoga.
Oh well… I am very inspired by his books and work regardless. I suppose if I continue to go to Iyengar classes locally I will just have to figure out which teachers I love and attend their classes only.