Iyengar Yoga: The Method
“Health is firmness of body, stability in mind and clarity of thinking.” B.K.S. Iyengar The Path to Holistic Health
Iyengar yoga is a form of classical hatha yoga based on the study and dedicated work of living yoga master BKS Iyengar.
Classes consist of standing and seated asanas (poses), inversions and supported poses taught in a thoughtful, safe and sequential manner. Props such as blankets, blocks and belts may be used to assist with understanding and achieving the poses.
Yoga is for everyone. There is no need to be an expert or at the peak of physical fitness to practice yoga. The strain of everyday life can bring physical pain and illness, as we often neglect our body’s well being in the race towards achieving material success. Yoga helps integrate the mental and physical plane and it offers a sense of inner and outer balance or alignment. True alignment means better posture which allows our internal organs to work to their optimum efficiency.
What is Yoga?
B.K.S. Iyengar explains in Light on Pranayama that yoga is a scientific and systematic discipline for a successful organization of all the energies and faculties of the integral human being with a view to attaining the highest ecstatic communion with the cosmic reality of God.
He strongly states that yoga is not part of any religion with a theology and ritualism. It has no hierarchy. It is a cultural and spiritual discipline open to all mankind without any distinction of caste, creed, color, race, sex or age.
Ethical Guidelines of an Iyengar Yoga Instructor
1. Professional Ethics of Iyengar Yoga Teachers
a. Iyengar Yoga teachers dedicate themselves to studying, teaching, disseminating, and promoting the art, science and philosophy of yoga according to the teachings and philosophy of B.K.S. Iyengar, and to maintaining high standards of professional competence and integrity. (Tapas, ardor)
b. Iyengar Yoga teachers study and stay current with the teaching and practice of yoga as taught by B.K.S. Iyengar and the Iyengar family. This can be done directly by study with Mr. Iyengar and the Iyengar family or indirectly by participation in IYNAUS activities and study with certified Iyengar Yoga teachers of at least one higher level of certification. (Svadhyaya, study of the self)
c. Iyengar Yoga teachers accurately represent their education, training, and experience. (Satya, truthfulness)
d. While teaching, Iyengar Yoga teachers do not mix the techniques of Iyengar Yoga with any other systems of yoga, or with any other discipline. (Aparigraha, non-coveting)
e. Iyengar Yoga teachers are not publicly critical of other Iyengar Yoga teachers’ character or of other systems of yoga. (Ahimsa, non-violence)
f. Iyengar Yoga teachers do not use any “figure and temple” service mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the name of B.K.S. Iyengar unless they have been approved to do so by, and have paid the required fee to, the service mark committee of IYNAUS. (Asteya, non-stealing)
2. Responsibility to Students and Community
Iyengar Yoga teachers:
a. Are truthful. (Satya, truthfulness)
b. Welcome all students regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual preference, or physical disability (skill level of teacher permitting). (Ahimsa, non-violence)
c. Neither speak nor act abusively toward others. (Ahimsa, non-violence)
d. Do not sexually harass students. (Ahimsa, non-violence, and Bramacharya, continence)
e. Avoid intimate relationships with their students. (Ahimsa, non-violence, and Aparigraha, non-coveting)
f. Recognize when the student-teacher relationship has been compromised by the existence of an intimate relationship and assist the student in finding another Iyengar Yoga teacher if possible. (Aparigraha, non-coveting)
3. Personal Responsibility
Iyengar Yoga teachers:
a. Maintain a clean and well-groomed appearance. (Sauca, purity)
b. Dress in a modest manner while teaching yoga. (Sauca, purity, and Bramacharya, continence)
c. Avoid abuse of drugs and alcohol. (Sauca, purity)
d. Avoid use of foul language. (Sauca, purity)
4. Applicability of IYNAUS Guidelines
a. These guidelines are not exhaustive. Their failure to address any particular conduct does not mean that the conduct is necessarily ethical or unethical. Teachers are expected to adhere to and honor classical and legal codes of conduct, including the yogic discipline of yama and niyama.
b. Lack of familiarity with, or misinterpretation of, these ethical guidelines does not justify unethical conduct.
c. Failure to cooperate in an ethics investigation or proceeding by the IYNAUS ethics committee is a violation of these guidelines.
d. An Iyengar Yoga teacher who is uncertain of how these ethical guidelines are to be applied in a particular situation should contact the IYNAUS ethics committee for guidance before acting.