You know you are in an Iyengar type class when you hear a teacher say that ‘feet are parallel’ means second toes are in line with the middle of your ankle.
At the beginning, when I was practising yoga, I was addicted to Ashtanga. So, whenever my favourite teacher was substituted by an Iyengar teacher, my heart would sink, and I would itch for a Vinyasa.
Whenever I thought of Iyengar, blocks, straps, and injury rehab would come to mind.
My relationship to Ashtanga changed when one summer, I went to a Mysore class in Barcelona. The studio was really hot, and my body was overheating. For some reason, the teacher thought I was a dancer, and in the standing balance sequence, he lifted my leg way higher than it should go. That’s how my hamstrings were torn. I could barely walk for a few days, and it took a whole year for them to recover completely.
When I arrived here I went to a lot of different classes, and was exposed to many different styles of yoga. Although I still really enjoy Power Vinyasa classes, I really feel I’m working when I’m attending an Iyengar type Hatha class.
After almost 3 months here, I can already see how my mental checklist for each asana has grown – especially for downward dog. There are so many details that I’ve now added to my practise, and my body has already learnt most of them.
The more I get into the details of an asana, the more I feel focused, relaxed, and grounded. It goes for many things in life, the more you break them down, the more you understand them, the more empowered you feel.
I’ve now also discovered a great Iyengar trick to open tight hamstrings the other day; a lesson learned the hard way!