Certified Iyengar Yoga teachers like Alcove Yoga owner Pauline Schloesser are held to uncommonly rigorous technical and ethical standards. No one can train to be an Iyengar teacher without having first developed a strong practice as a student for 3 years. Then he or she may apply to be assessed for teacher certification, by a 3-member committee which does not include one's own teacher. Our certified teachers are then accountable for a body of knowledge and experience. It’s what sets Iyengar Yoga apart from the rest.
WHAT IS IYENGAR YOGA?
Iyengar yoga is the name given to a traditional form of yoga practiced and developed in the 20th and 21st centuries by BKS Iyengar and his family in India. In the Yoga Sutras, the sage Patanjali described eight steps toward spiritual absorption and enlightenment. Iyengar Yoga guides students along this journey in a way that’s practical, experiential, and intensely personal.
The Bhagavad Gita says that yoga is "skill in action" and also describes yoga as the complete stillness of the mind. Yoga is also a form of spiritual devotion. When the mind is still, the pure light of awareness reveals the true Self. Once this happens, a union with cosmic consciousness, or the Divine, is possible.
In Iyengar Yoga, this search for mental quietude and spiritual union begins very practically with what we can see and touch: the physical body and ancient body postures, called asanas (AH-sah-nahs).
The asanas are physical postures that create boundaries for the energy of our beings. They have names, characteristics, and properties, which enhance one's health and well-being. When you are new to yoga, the practice is mainly physical, involving muscles, bones, and joints. You do it for health of the body, and maybe to relieve stress. Your teacher introduces you to postures through physical instructions. This might be to stand in a certain way, or to align the feet, ankles, knees, trunk, shoulders, and head in a specific manner. You will be instructed to press here and extend there, and feel the resulting experience, breathing normally. In this way we take you on a guided tour inside your embodiment.
Asana practice is both vigorous and mentally quieting. The more you practice, the more there is ease and familiarity with the postures and their characterstics. Gradually you penetrate the inner body, and watch the movements of the mind. With constant practice you learn to quite the thought waves, called vrttis, and experience a blissful state. We the teachers are well versed on this journey inward. We give you some hints of the hidden gems you might find. And how to work with the obstacles you might encounter.
We have also learned from all this practice what invites injury and what promotes healing. That is why we are serious about teaching you proper alignment of joints and muscles. We want you to have an experience that will extend you, heal you, and bring you mental stability and serenity--day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
The Iyengar family in Pune – B.K.S. Iyengar, Prashant, Geeta, and Abijata – propogates this tradition at the Institute in Pune, India. Pauline Schloesser, owner and Director of Alcove Yoga, has been to Pune several times and studied with the Iyengars, and continues her studies with Advanced Iyengar teachers in the U.S.
ABOUT B.K.S. IYENGAR
Called the “Michelangelo of yoga” and the “king of yogis,” named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, B.K.S. Iyengar is widely acknowledged to have been one of the world’s greatest yoga teachers. Yogacharya (yoga master) Iyengar brought yoga to the West with his pioneering teaching in the 1960s and 70s, the beginning of today’s explosive growth in yoga. His Light on Yoga, called “the Bible of yoga,” has been the source book for generations of yoga students. His most recent books are Light of Life, and Yoga Wisdom and Practice. Mr. Iyengar pioneered the use of yoga props. Now ubiquitous in yoga studios of all styles, yoga props revolutionized the art of asana. Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers are trained to teach modifications of or alternatives to classical yoga postures to meet the specific needs of students. Props such as blocks, belts, blankets, and bolsters allow for access to archetypal forms, support for a longer stay, and a deeper internal experience.