An innovative and inspired practice of yoga, the Iyengar method was developed by yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar throughout a long career. BKS Iyengar, author of many books including the classic yoga treatise Light on Yoga, began teaching in Pune, India, in 1936 at the age of 18. His daughter, Geeta, and his son, Prashant, and his granddaugher, Abhijata, are also accomplished teachers and authors of yoga texts. B.K.S. Iyengar’s intense practice and almost seventy years of teaching have produced significant innovations in the teaching of the art and science of yoga. Achieving meditation in action, students learn to exist fully and vibrantly in the present moment.

Iyengar Yoga teaches strength and stamina, flexibility and balance, concentration and meditation. Iyengar Yoga is a refined, in-depth system of yoga that emphasizes safety, optimal body alignment, individual adjustment and attention to detail. It is uniquely suited to all levels of fitness and physical conditions, including the most inflexible. It is a profound, intelligent, rewarding and transformative practice of yoga especially for you.

In addition to addressing the needs of healthy people, the Iyengar method is now widely acknowledged and trusted by the international medical community for it's documented efficacy in the treatment of various medical conditions and illnesses. Certified Iyengar teachers are held to unusually rigorous standards and know how to guide students of all ages and abilities. Deep-seated understanding and experience of the asanas allow instructors to teach appropriately the group in front of them. Classes are sequenced to promote health and skill in the body and stability in the mind. The total approach ensures that students progress from posture to posture, class to class and year to year.

What to Expect from this Method of Yoga

  • Qualified and rigorously trained instructors committed to excellence in teaching.  Only
  • A safe and systematic progression of yoga postures to develop each student's ability and skill, both within each class and from class to class
  • Sequencing that develops strength, flexibility, stamina, concentration, and body alignment
  • Individual correction and knowledge of how to adjust postures for common physical problems
  • Precise use of language
  • Demonstration and teaching of specific points to develop understanding and intelligent action
  • Individual correction and adjustment of students, when necessary
  • Integration of the yoga philosophy with the practice of asana
  • Progressive and systematic approach that builds from the foundation learned in beginning classes to advanced classes.
  • Incorporation and relevance of practice into daily life
  • Ways to use yoga to ease various ailments and stress
  • Use of props, such as blankets, blocks, and straps, to facilitate learning and adjust yoga postures to suit individual needs

Look for the Mark – The Iyengar Yoga Certification Mark is licensed only to certified Iyengar teachers.
A sign of commitment, excellence, clarity and depth of understanding.

How does Iyengar Yoga differ from other methods?

The Iyengar method develops strength, endurance, and optimal body alignment, in addition to flexibility and relaxation. The Iyengar method develops self-awareness, intelligent evaluation, and profound inward reflection. The attention to detail and cultivation of awareness is meant to not only maintain physical safety in the practice, but to develop the mental benefits of a complete meditation in action.

No two classes are ever exactly the same. The variation in sequencing of Iyengar classes is influenced by the level and condition of the student, time of day, time of year, and many other factors. In Iyengar yoga classes, the emphasis is on learning, not just doing, so the teacher will usually teach through instruction, demonstration or adjustment so that the student can fully absorb the process and gain a more in-depth understanding of themselves.

Standing poses are emphasized at the beginning to build strength and ease of movement, increase general vitality, and improve circulation, coordination, and balance, ensuring a strong foundation for the study of the other categories of and more advanced poses.

Postures for deep relaxation are introduced from the beginning. Gradually, sitting and reclining postures, forward bends, inversions, backbends, twists, arm balances, and flowing sequences are introduced.

Why is the emphasis on precision of alignment in yoga poses important?

People tend to stretch from their more flexible areas and rely on their better developed muscles for strength, thus reinforcing postural habits. Through attention to proper alignment, Iyengar Yoga encourages weak parts to strengthen and stiff areas to release, thus awakening and realigning the whole body. An added benefit of an emphasis on correct anatomical alignment can be the diminishing of aches and pains and improved posture. As the body moves into better alignment, less muscular effort is required and relaxation naturally increases.

For more information about Iyengar Yoga visit:


B.K.S. Iyengar

River Valley Yoga Center offers Iyengar Yoga classes in the Northampton, MA area.

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