Iyengar yoga flows and how to do them

3 min read

This title probably raised a few eyebrows. Iyengar Yoga is often described as an intellectual practice that focuses on body alignment. Iyengar Yoga is rarely synonymous with flow.

Learn more about Iyengar Yoga and find out three Iyengar flows to try for your next practice!

Lineage and Traditional Style

Iyengar yoga by B.K.S. Pattabhi Jois derived Iyengar yoga and Ashtanga from the teachings of Tirumalai K Krishnamacharya of Mysore in India. It is, therefore, no surprise that the asanas of both styles are very similar, but their practice differs slightly.

Iyengar Yoga is traditionally a practice that emphasizes precision. Asanas/poses tend to be held for longer, and props like chairs, belts, blocks, and bolsters are used. Chairs, straps/belts, and blocks are used to ease the body into proper alignment.

B.K.S. Iyengar was a young man who suffered from a number of health issues, including malaria and tuberculosis. B.K.S. Iyengar’s brother-in-law invited him to Mysore to try yoga and improve his health. He began teaching yoga soon after moving to Mysore.

He later founded the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India. B.K.S. Iyengar was one of the earliest teachers to introduce yoga to the West. He was also a major influence on the modern asana.

In 1966, his first book was Light On Yoga. It is considered a must-read for any modern yogi.

Iyengar’s yoga is rooted in hatha, and its style is based on the alignment of the body. Here are three Iyengar flow sequences with an intentional focus.

75-minute Iyengar Flow for Self-Love

  • Hold for 10 minutes the Reclining Bound-Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana).
  • Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Hold for 10 minutes total, 5 minutes per side.
  • Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana ) – Hold for 5-10 Minutes using a Wall if Needed
  • Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Hold for 10 minutes the Two-Legged Staff Pose inverted with a Chair. (¬†Dwipada Viparita Dandasana
  • Hold for 1-2 minutes.
  • Shoulderstand with or without a chair (Sarvangasana ) – Hold for 10 minutes
  • Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Hold for 5 minutes the Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana).
  • Wind Release Pose – Hold for 5 Minutes
  • Hold the Corpse Pose for 10 minutes

75-minute Iyengar Flow for Concentration

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana), hold for 5 minutes
  • Hold the Wide-Legged forward bend (Prasarita Padottanasana) for five minutes.
  • Hold for 10 minutes the Reclining Bound-Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana).
  • Hold for 10 minutes total, 5 minutes on each side.
  • Hold for 5 minutes the Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana).
  • Hold the Camel Pose (Ustrasana) with a chair for 5 minutes
  • Child’s Pose – Adho Mukha Virasana – Hold for 5 Minutes
  • Hold the Plow Pose (Halasana), with Bolsters and Chair, for 10 minutes
  • Hold for 10 minutes total, 5 minutes on each side.
  • Hold the Corpse Pose for 10 minutes

80-Minute Iyengar Flow for Renewal

  • Hold Mountain Pose (Tadasana paschima Namaskarasana – Tadasana Paschima Namaskarasana for 5 minutes)
  • Hold for 10 minutes total, 5 minutes on each side.
  • Hold for 10 minutes the Reclining Bound-Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana).
  • Hold the Intense Forward Bend for 10 minutes.
  • Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana ) – Hold for 5-10 Minutes using a wall as needed
  • Hold for 10 minutes the Two-Legged Staff Pose (Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana).
  • Hold for 10 minutes the Supported Bridge Pose.
  • Wind Release Pose – Hold for 5 Minutes
  • Hold the Corpse Pose for 10 minutes

Slowly ease into and out asanas for all three Iyengar Yoga flows (or any other yoga sequence, for that matter) while focusing on subtle nuances in the body, the mind, and the soul.

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