Nothing more than a footnote (snow_leopard) wrote,
Nothing more than a footnote

A month (and a bit) of Iyengar

I decided to sign myself up to try something new for the New Year and having realised that of the many yoga styles I have tried Iyenger isn't one of them I signed myself up for TWO Iyengar classes, one on a Monday at the University Wellbeing Rooms and one on a Thursday at the iyoga centre.
Its been an interesting and enlightening experience! I have discovered that I sit wrongly! Something I thought I had been managing fine for 35 years or so! (Sitting crosslegged my legs cross at the ankles whereas correct form is for them to cross at the shins.) Oh and I also stand wrongly!
Iyengar Yoga is famous for being very exact about the poses. It uses a LOT of props to get you in exactly the right position. In some ways I have enjoyed this and in some ways I have hated this!
Its made me think about alignment in postures in a way I have never thought of before and I am sure my postures have improved because if it. The standing, for example, (Tadasana in yogic terms), what I have until now been blissfully unaware of is that when I feel I am standing upright I am actually leaning forward slightly. To actually stand upright I need to pull up my kneecaps, tuck my tailbone and move my weight backwards. I am so un-used to this that I actually feel as though I might just fall over over blackwards while I am actually perfectly aligned. It will take some practice!

It's also made me less wary of using yoga props (belts, bricks and blankets). I used to think of using props as cheating, now I am more aware of the benefits props can give. For example I can't grab my toes in Dandasana without bending my knees due to my lack of forward flexibility, using a belt hooked around my feet I can pull myself forward that little bit more and feel the muscles stretching and aligning.

The downside is that in Iyenger classes you do 10, maybe 15 poses in a one and a half hour class. I found myself craving something a little more dynamic - to throw myself thorough a couple of sun salutations!

In an ideal world I think I'd have liked to have continued with one Iyengar class a week to be able combine that exact focus on alignment with a more dynamic practice. Its not, however, looking likely that I will be continuing either of my current Iyengar classes. The one on Monday is my preferred on, but its a 5pm and I have done a deal on my hours to be able to go for this month and a half (even so its been hard to get away at 4:45pm to reach the class in time) and for the next few months I will be needed to cover until at least 5pm. The class at the iyoga Centre is not ideal as it will work out at £10 a class and I don't mind paying that for a smaller class so you get more personal attention but the class sizes are 20 plus people and for the first class of the year it was nearer 50! Plus the teacher can't remember my name - last class she asked me 4 times over the course of a 1 and a half hour class and still didn't know by the end of class!

My Monday Iyengar class continues for another 4 weeks and then I will have to consider what to do next to develop my practice.

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