Levels are intended to help students find the class best suited to their overall current physical and mental state. Levels help define the non-therapy type classes that are general in nature addressing the whole practice of Yoga through the Asana (posture) practice. Students often spend years in the Level 1 and 2 classes because the practice of Yoga is more about deepening your understanding and practicing with confidence rather than accomplishing more. Mobility and stability and understanding the practice grows gradually, but unmistakably, with consistent practice.
For students new Yoga, new to Iyengar style Yoga or returning to Yoga after a hiatus. Level I introduces and consolidates the basic principles of alignment in the standing poses, seated poses, and the movements of the spine for beginning back-bends, forward bends, and twists. Students’ progress steadily and confidently towards the next level while learning the fundamentals of posture, alignment and breath. Most stay in Level I for many sessions or a lifetime. For students new to Iyengar style yoga, or returning to yoga after a hiatus this is a great place to begin. This level is recommended and appropriate for those with chronic back, neck, knee, or hip ailments or limitations that require support
For students who prefer the gradual transition to Level II. Ideal for those with previous Yoga experience who are new to our studio or have been practicing in a different tradition and would like to become acquainted with our styles and methods at the Center for Yoga.
For students who have studied or practiced Iyengar yoga for six months or more, this level builds upon the concepts introduced in level 1. The basic poses are refined with an emphasis on breath and movement. A student begins to develop a relationship with the postures, understanding their benefits in practice and grow in their stamina and strength by remaining in the postures for slightly longer times. At this level, students also begin to practice poses such as Setu Bandha (bridge pose) and supported Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). Additionally, students prepare for Sirsasana (headstand) by building strength and awareness of the core and upper body anatomy. Concepts on home practice and the philosophy of Yoga are introduced.
Students in this class are firmly established in their practice of yoga and are ready to move beyond the basics. The emphasis of this class goes beyond gross physical actions of basic asana and pranayama. It teaches more complex asana and introduces pranayamas, the subtle action in basic poses, higher levels of concentration and coordination of mental and physical states as part of a complete Yoga practice.
For serious students and teachers. For students with prior Iyengar training who are strong in their practice and are confident in their inversions and back-bends. Formal pranayama and philosophy is taught as is meditation and chanting. Considered an intermediate level, this is for students who have a minimum of 2 or more years of Iyengar yoga, or are able to practice sirsasana and sarvangasana independently (unless there are contraindications.) A good indicator of readiness is the ability to maintain Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) for up to five minutes. This level also asks students to maintain standing poses for 1 minute or more, seated poses for 3-5 minutes, and to work on intermediate backbends such as Urdhva dhanurasana.
For advanced students with 5 or more years of Iyengar yoga experience, this level is for students interested in challenging their limitations. Being able to sustain sirsasana for 5 minutes or more is a good benchmark for this level, as well as being able to attempt variations of legs and arms in inversions. More advanced backbends such as eka pada rajakapotasana and forward bends such as kurmasana, as well as longer holds of twists and some arm balances are all practiced at this level.