Introducing Iyengar Yoga at Artemis
I am very excited to be introducing Iyengar yoga classes here at Artemis Yoga. You may not have even known it but Iyengar yoga already has been seen here with the ever present props and the rope wall which stem from the tradition. While many of the teachers here study regularly with senior master Iyengar teachers in the Boston area, I am thrilled to welcome two Certified Iyengar teachers, Mary Wixted and Rahel Wasserfall to our roster of instructors. To help explain a bit about the style, I put together this FAQ and if you have other questions, drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) or stop by the studio.
What is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar yoga is a widely practiced form of yoga based on the teachings of B.K.S Iyengar. B.K.S Iyengar is credited with bringing yoga to the West and is considered a pioneer of yoga. After practicing for nearly 80 years starting as a young teen recovering from illness, he developed a method that brings acute attention to both the postures and the breath work and ultimately to one’s own body. Prior to his death in 2014 at the age of 95, I was fortunate to see him speak in Boston during his 2005 Light on Life book tour, which is a wonderful read that I often reference in class, and it was most inspiring to listen firsthand to how yoga influenced his life. An earlier book, Light on Yoga, published in 1966, is often considered a classic for learning modern yoga poses and breathing techniques.
How would you describe Iyengar yoga?
This method teaches classical yoga poses with a deliberate emphasis on alignment and awareness of the student to his or her own body. I would say a hallmark is the ability to make each pose accessible to each student through the use of props and for students to have a curiosity about their own bodies. Additionally Iyengar Certified Teachers must complete a rigorous tiered certification and assessment program to earn the credential. We are fortunate at Artemis to have two Certified Iyengar Teachers joining us, Mary Wixted and Rahel Wassefall.
How does this class differ from a Flow or Vinyasa class?
In general, you will find the poses of the two classes to be familiar but the structure and sequencing to be different. While both styles instruct with an attention to alignment, Iyengar teachers introduce postures in a sequence of teaching that emphasizes optimal body alignment and individualized adjustment to build strength and flexibility in each student. You may find that poses are held longer and explored with a variety of props more than in a flow class. In a flow class you will generally move fluidly from pose to pose with sun salutations as a regular component. Iyengar classes are also known for teaching inversions in an accessible and safe manner, for example the use of blankets to support the neck in a shoulderstand. And yet these distinctions are not always so black and white and many of our flow-trained teachers at Artemis Yoga have studied the Iyengar method or trained with Iyengar instructors for many years and thus their own teaching is influenced by the method as well.
What level should I take?
Just like our Flow classes, the Iyengar classes at Artemis Yoga will have levels, Basic, Level 1 and Level 2 so that students may enter a class at a pace that is just right for you.
Who should take the Iyengar classes?
Everyone! Often people with injury enjoy the personal attention and adjustments of Iyengar trained instruction but really anyone can join an Iyengar class to learn and practice.
Should I take both types of classes?
Yes! Personally my Iyengar classes inform my flow-based and restorative practices and teaching style. You may find that you want to focus on one type of class but for others the variety is helpful. It is just like any other activity, some days you might want to read non-fiction and focus on a topic and other days you may find you like to immerse yourself in a good juicy novel. Both are good for the soul. Or for those who enjoy different forms of exercise, you could think of your Iyengar class as a day that you work with a trainer on body mechanics and strength building and the flow class as a day you work on cardio circuits and/or run or cycle with a meditative type of pace.
What is the current schedule of Iyengar classes?
I invite you to join Mary and Rahel in their classes:
- Sunday – 11am – 12:15pm – Level 1 Iyengar with Mary Wixted
- Monday – 5:30pm – 6:45pm – Basic – Iyengar Foundations with Rahel
- Tuesday – 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Level 2 Iyengar with Mary Wixted
- Thursday – 11am – 12:15pm – Level 1 Iyengar with Rahel
In closing, I found this New York Times article, What is so special about Iyengar yoga?, to be very informative and explanatory. So come on in and find out for yourself.