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Iyengar

Why do Yoga Studios in Amsterdam offer so many styles of Yoga?

Yoga studios in Amsterdam offer a lot of different yoga styles. To discover the origin of all these styles of Yoga, we need to take a look at the past. Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago. And, although different styles of Yoga already existed also back then, these different forms were mainly focussed on either the body (Hatha), the mind (Jnana), the heart (Bhakti) or a combination of all these paths (Raja). The vast amount of different physical styles of Yoga was not yet so cultivated as it is today.

Over the last 150 years, Yoga made its way from India into the rest of the world. To make Yoga easier to access for Western people, the physical aspect of Yoga (Hatha Yoga) was the main aspect that was adapted. In the West, we are schooled differently than in India. Our world view today is based on a scientific and objective way of reviewing the world. That is why, for us, entering a subjective practice like Yoga is easier through something relatable like the body. From this starting point, slowly we can start to experience the deeper, holistic benefits Yoga has to offer.

Read more about what Yoga and the realization of Yoga really means! 

 

How did so many styles of Yoga came into existence?

There is a vast amount of different people in the world, all with different constitutions and preferences. To make the practice of Yoga more accessible for a wider audience, there was a need for different, more specific branches. That is why certain aspects of Hatha Yoga were split off into different styles of Yoga. For instance, to satisfy people with active minds, the flow aspect of Hatha Yoga was adapted into different Vinyasa Flow and Power Yoga classes. For the more introspective types of people, Yin Yoga was distilled from the Restorative aspect of Hatha Yoga.

It is good to realize we all need different styles at different times in our lives. The one day, Vinyasa Yoga serves us and the other day Yin Yoga will help us enormously. This only shows the wide range the whole teaching of Hatha Yoga encompasses. All these paths are as beautiful and important as the other. They can all equally serve as a path towards the realization of Yoga. We can choose one path and stick to it religiously, or combine different styles in our practice next to each other. Both can learn and teach us a lot. There is no right or wrong in this matter.

Check our class page for all the different styles of Yoga we currently offer.

 

What is Iyengar Yoga?

We, as LiveYoga Amsterdam, started out with being purely an Iyengar Yoga Studio. B.K.S Iyengar was a Hatha Yoga teacher from India who, in particular, emphasized the importance of aligning the body properly in poses (asanas). To do so, he invented the use of Yoga props to help students align in poses that, otherwise, their body could not perform. During his 60 years of teaching Yoga, he developed a methodical system in which his teaching was preserved. This is what is called Iyengar Yoga today. Iyengar self did not agree with that name by the way. He claimed that he simply was teaching Hatha Yoga like it was described in the ancient scriptures.

 

What styles of Yoga do we teach at LiveYoga Amsterdam?

We recognize that different students are served with different styles and not just Iyengar Yoga. Even students that love the style of Iyengar, are sometimes served by a different approach. Because we do not want to be dogmatic, we move with the changes of the time while also maintaining true to the core principles that Iyengar shared with us. Just like Yoga teaches us, the inner core is unchanging but the outer layers change constantly. We honour that cosmic dance between the permanent and the transient and try to keep it alive.

Because of this, our schedule has changed accordingly while staying grounded in our core principles. You will see that nowadays, next to Iyengar Yoga, we offer Yin Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Pilates, Iyengar Flow, Restorative Yoga, Sun Salutations, Meditation and different kinds of Breathing classes. Still, in all our classes, you will find that inner and outer alignment is a very important part of our teachings. The wisdom Iyengar shared with us during his life is still very much alive, even years after he left his body.

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Iyengar Yoga for fatique relief

Bolsters, Blankets, Blocks, and Belts help open the body to deep relaxation.

Too tired. For many, it’s the default response to every request—even the fun ones. Some of the walking weary are simply too overworked or overstressed to get adequate rest, while others may feel drained by a physical ailment, a psychological condition, or the side effects of medication.

Whatever the cause, all can benefit from the respite that a restorative yoga practice provides.

WHY NOT A VIGOROUS PRACTICE?

When someone is deeply fatigued, a dynamic practice, like a double espresso, can be depleting, despite its initial invigorating jolt. Restorative yoga, on the other hand, soothes the senses, so they stop urging the mind and nervous system to react and instead turn their attention inward—on the breath or embedded tension, for example. These asanas also lower anxiety levels and calm the fight-or-flight response—the stress-induced outpouring of adrenalin and other hormones that taxes the systems of the body.

 

viparita dandasana – yoga for fatigue relief

 

Furthermore, deep, long-standing fatigue can turn the simple, unconscious effort of standing upright into an exhausting task, and when the shoulders stoop and the spine sags, the chest and diaphragm get compressed, the breath becomes shallow, and the abdomen tightens. Under these circumstances, who has the strength or energy to hold their body with integrity in a yoga asana?

That’s why blankets, bolsters, blocks, and belts are essential props in a restorative practice. With their help, passive supported backbends allow the chest to expand without physical effort and open the body and mind to the stimulating effects of the pose without draining already-low energy reserves.

YOGA ASANA’S

The first asana of this sequence supported purvottanasana(upward plank pose), broadens and lifts the chest and frontal diaphragm away from the lower body. This posture encourages the inhalation to expand outward and upward toward the top chest, bringing lightness, while the abdomen can flow downward and soften on the exhalation.

Similarly, supported forward bends quiet the mind and body and provide a reprieve from overstimulation by turning the attention of the brain and senses of perception inward. At the same time, because the bolsters and blankets support the organs in the frontal body, the back of the body and kidneys relax and spread, further relieving tension.

Finally, inversions provide support for all of the body’s systems, especially the immune and endocrine systems, and thus help address various kinds of hormonal issues—like adrenal fatigue. Inversions give the heart a rest from its effort to pump blood to the brain and let gravity help refresh the legs and lower body from heaviness and vascular stagnation.

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Iyengar yoga and releasing lower back pain

Iyengar Yoga helps back painChronic back pain is defined as pain that lasts more than three months. Notoriously it is difficult to treat. Not surprisingly, it drives many sufferers to turn to alternative and complementary therapies in search of relief. The Spine study is the second of two randomized trials to test Iyengar yoga.

Chronic lower back pain

THE STUDY:

90 adults participated in a year-long trial comparing the effects of Iyengar yoga therapy with those of standard medical care.
Participants ranged in age from 23 to 66, and all were suffering chronic low back pain.
About half of them were assigned to 24 weeks of a twice-weekly, 90-minute regimen approved by B.K.S. Iyengar and taught by a certified Iyengar yoga instructor and two assistants with experience in teaching yoga therapy to people with chronic low back pain. On days when they didn’t have a yoga class, they were instructed to practice at home for 30 minutes using a DVD, props, and an instruction manual.
The rest of the participants (the control group) continued with usual medical care and were followed with monthly telephone calls to gather information about their medications or other therapies.

All subjects reported on functional disability, pain intensity, depression, and medication use at the start of the study, midway through (12 weeks), immediately afterward (24 weeks), and at a follow-up six months later.

THE FINDINGS:

Compared with the control group, the Iyengar group experienced a 29% reduction in functional disability, a 42% reduction in pain, and a 46% reduction in depressive symptoms at 24 weeks. There was also a greater trend toward lower medication use in the yoga group. There were no reports of adverse effects.

Six months after the trial ended, 68% of the yoga group was still practicing yoga — on average, three days a week for at least 30 minutes. Their levels of functional disability, pain, and depression had increased slightly but were still lower than those of the control group.

LIMITATIONS:

A small number of participants, as well as reliance on the participants’ own reports of symptoms and disability. Also, the control group, on average, had been suffering back pain longer than the yoga group. Still, the results are consistent with findings from other studies of yoga for low back pain.

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