Elisabeth of Belgium Learned to Stand on Her Head at 80 – Iyengar Yoga

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Anyone else notice the Google doodle today? The doodle honours the birthday of BKS Iyengar, the Indian Guru credited with bringing yoga to the West. Not only did Iyengar found a style of yoga, he also taught iconic author Aldous Huxley and the violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Iyengar yoga is taught in more than seventy countries, and it is said that Elizabeth of Belgium learnt his trademark sirasana headstand at the age of 80. He pioneered the idea of teaching yoga to groups, and encouraged women to take up the practice, even during pregnancy. Here are some Iyengar yoga poses for you to try.

  • Paschimottanasana (Sitting Forward Bend): This helps you stretch the hamstrings and the back. Never force the stretch – use pillows or bolsters to ease into the posture. As you build flexibility and knowledge of the posture, you’ll use the props less.
  • Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose): You can move easily into this posture from Hero Pose. Many people find it more comfortable to straddle a long cushion or bolster and lie on additional pillows to reduce strain on tight thigh and back muscles.
  • Tadasana Variations (Mountain Pose): One of the easiest Iyengar yoga positions for beginners, this posture features arm variations to help extend breath and center the mind and body. Some people use a strap to complete arm positioning.
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): A terrific posture for hamstring release and to clear the mind. If you look closely at this posture on the Iyengar site, you’ll notice the model is using four yoga blocks to complete the pose! This is just one example of how props can help
  • Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Ankle Pose): This pose helps to temper blood pressure, open the hips and groins, and relieve menstrual pain. You’ll use several bolsters or folded blankets behind you, as well as blocks under your knees.
  • Savasana (Corpse Pose): This reclining posture doesn’t always need props, but some people are more comfortable resting on a bolster with a pillow under the head. Take your time with this one – it’s extremely relaxing.


Holly Martin

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poses from yoga.lovetoknow.com

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