In more than 70 years of teaching, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar became a world-renowned yoga practitioner and teacher, honored in many countries on all continents for his work making yoga accessible to everyone. He published numerous books on the subject, notably Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, The Tree of Yoga, and most recently, Light on Life. All of these books are widely available, and are presently on bookstore shelves.
Mr. Iyengar passed away in August of 2014, having practiced yoga from his first learning at age 14 until the last. All of his profound understanding of this art and science, all the help he gave thousands of students over the decades of his teaching, and all honors and titles he received were a direct result of his exposure to yoga as a youth by his teacher and guru T. Krishnamacharya, and then of his own lifetime of unflagging, observant, profound, adaptable, and practical practice.
At Clear Spring Studio, several certified instructors teach Iyengar Yoga. Asana and pranayama form the main practice-ground, the starting place for the realization of the other limbs of yoga. In working with posture, the method is characterized by the simultaneous development of strength, flexibility, endurance, and steadiness of mind and body. Attention to alignment though, is perhaps what most distinguishes B.K.S. Iyengar's work from other styles of yoga, and has gained for him admiration and imitation from teachers in many other methods of practice. His method has the capacity to be strong when the student is strong, and supportive, restorative and even healing when the student has limitations or difficulties.
Pranayama, or the breath work of yoga, is dependent on the benefits of asana to arrive first. Asana opens the physical and physiological body, and permits prana to flow more naturally. When this begins to happen, then pranayama can begin. It is generally practiced separately from the physical postures in Iyengar yoga, largely because its subtle nature requires a steady focus without distractions in order for its effects to penetrate into the nervous system and mind, and to avoid negative results.
The Iyengar method makes possible recovery from many of the aches and pains that come from incorrect musculoskeletal habits, certain medical conditions, stress and injury. Out of his own practice, Mr. Iyengar has expanded and deepened the use of support in postures, to assist the student to find the energy and benefit of the classical posture when strength, flexibility, coordination, or understanding, is lacking.
Yoga asana practice is a pathway into all other aspects of this vast discipline. Through posture, we work from the outside in to develop strength, increase flexibility, and bring health, vitality, and mental clarity. We clear up obstacles to our stability and ease of being. Throughout, yoga aims at the larger goal, to move deeply enough inward to observe and realize our selves as an integrated whole, and in so doing to correct our interaction with the world around us. What we learn in asana from the outside in, can and should be applied from the inside out. Understanding how to be truthful and not to harm ourselves, we understand the nature of truth, and how not to harm others. Understanding and cultivating that freedom within ourselves, we can see and support it in others. All of this is skillful action, and all of this is yoga.
Others among Mr. Iyengar's senior teachers have also written widely popular books on the subject of yoga. Among these are his daughter Geeta Iyengar (Yoga, a Gem for Women, Yoga for Motherhood), Mary Schatz, M.D. (Back Care Basics), Judith Lasater (Relax and Renew, Yoga Body), Sylva, Mira, and Shyam Mehta (Yoga the Iyengar Way), H.S. Arun (A Chair for Yoga), Eyal Shifroni (Props for Yoga), and Jean Couch (The Runner's Yoga Book).