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Health & Wellness


Iyengar Yoga

By Jessica Lowry

I started teaching yoga in Ladysmith in 2007 after having completed my first teacher training program at Moksana Yoga in Victoria. When I started attending regular Iyengar classes in Nanaimo, I realized there was a deep wealth of knowledge about yoga and teaching that was contained in the Iyengar method. My experience of the sequencing and approach was physically and mentally different from any other yoga. What I noticed first was there is a deep and precise work involved to bring awareness into new parts of the body. Instructors don’t let you just hang out in the pose, as there was necessary work to be done — work and understanding that, with practice, had a real lasting effect on the body and mind. There is an emphasis on practise and learning. The sequencing left me in the deepest state of relaxation I had ever accessed. My body and awareness were changing. The more I learned and practised, the better I felt.

 

Jessica with her Iyengar Yoga class

 

In 2014, I decided to take the Iyengar teacher training program. This would be a journey that I knew would be long (3–5 years), challenging and never-ending!

B.K.S Iyengar is considered the father of modern yoga and was the founder of the Iyengar method. His approach works on the muscle-skeletal alignment within the asanas (pose work), with the aim to renew balance in the body and, ultimately, between the body, mind and spirit. In beginners classes, we learn the fundamentals and how to adjust and align the body correctly within a safe and progressive instruction of pose work. We often work with props (walls, bricks, straps, bolsters) to help support and teach specific action in the poses. Sequencing is taught to enhance specific benefits and effects.

There are many potential benefits in practicing Iyengar yoga, which include:

mobilizing joints and strengthening muscle weakness,

improving posture, balance and coordination,

increasing flexibility and performance in sports, along with improving recovery time,

correcting misalignment, as well as circulatory disorders and hormonal imbalances,

assisting in mental health problems, such as stress, depression and anxiety, as well as self-development; and

developing self-awareness.

Certified last September in Calgary, I now offer classes at the Saltair Community Centre, as well as private in home classes and regular classes at Bend Over Backwards in Nanaimo.

The response to the general Level 1 classes, which are geared towards beginners in yoga or those new to Iyengar yoga, has been inspiring. I look forward to offering more and varied classes to the community, as I see there is a need for yoga that is accessible, sequential and safe and meets the student where they are at. I am currently offering a new spring session of classes, and there are openings for full registration or flexible passes.

Jessica has lived in Ladysmith for 12 years with her husband and now three children. She is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor and classically trained actor. You can reach her through email connect [at] alignwithjessica [dot] com, or website alignwithjessica.com.

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