Now yoga is perhaps the most affordable way to keep fit. A yoga center or a practicing instructor giving classes can be found in almost every city. But the diversity of yoga styles can be confusing at first. One of the best practices for beginners is Iyengar yoga for women, based on the Gita Iyengar technique.
The kind of yoga that a European person imagines – breath control, physical exercises and meditation – this is just one direction that has received the greatest popularity in the West. It is called hatha and aims to achieve harmony of body and spirit.
At that time, when hatha was just getting its distribution in Europe, it acquired new branches, consistent with the requirements of a different culture. So, ashtanga vinyasa yoga is one of the most mobile practices. It cultivates health and strength; in terms of the intensity of training, it is in no way inferior to classes in the gym.
Iyengar yoga, on the contrary, is very attentive to any kind of weakness, has no restrictions on classes. This leisurely destination is available to people of any age and health status. On the basis of Iyengar yoga, the daughter of the great master, Gita Iyengar, created her own practice, taking into account all the features of the female body.
Yoga Gita Iyengar
It is thanks to B.K.S. Iyengar yoga has received worldwide recognition – the master taught in various European countries and US states. His daughter, Gita Iyengar, was present at the training sessions led by her father from early childhood. When Gita became seriously ill, her family could not pay for expensive medicines. The girl’s life was saved by her father’s practice. As she practiced, she got better. A few months later, the disease receded completely.
At the age of thirteen, Gita began teaching yoga with her father and remained an established teacher for the rest of her life. She owns the authorship of the technique, called the female Iyengar yoga.
Like any other type of yoga, training according to the Gita method consists of three parts. The first, pranayama, aims to control the breath, which continues throughout the session. Watching the inhalation and exhalation helps to establish balance in the body, and also deprives yoga of the exhaustion inherent in any sports training.
The second stage is asanas. Asanas in yoga are called physical exercises. Their specificity is that the purpose of asanas is not to increase physical strength. Iyengar yoga practices asanas to achieve maximum harmony. The original goal of this direction of yoga was healing, so all asanas are selected taking into account the state of health.
At the end of the workout, there is a transition to meditation. Most often, its place is occupied by a relaxation asana – Shavasana, “corpse pose”. It prepares for a more serious practice – nidra. The result of nidra is a complete cleansing of internal unrest. Also during group classes at this stage, it is possible to chant mantras. The vibrations produced by the body at this time have a healing effect on the internal organs.
Despite the fact that yoga until some time did not separate practices as specifically male and female, Geeta Iyengar believed that some physiological characteristics of women are of no small importance. She was interested in the issue of a commensurate distribution of loads during the stages of hormonal changes.
Gita Iyengar identifies three main milestones in a woman’s life:
- Pregnancy and childbirth;
All stages are related to hormonal changes and require a special approach to practice. The Gita method is based on building practice according to the cycle, mood swings and well-being that occur at this time.
The manifestation of Yin energy, corresponding to the feminine principle, depends entirely on hormonal characteristics. Yin affects all five sheaths of the subtle body that make up every woman:
- The physical sheath is annamaya;
- The pranic sheath is pranamaya;
- The psychological shell is manomaya;
- The sheath of wisdom is vijnanamaya;
- The spiritual sheath is anandamaya.
Iyengar yoga for women works out each of the shells in accordance with the influence exerted by hormonal characteristics. Women are less hardy, more flexible, mobile. The forceful method in working with women is unacceptable. The more persistently a woman practices yoga according to the male method, the more it is transformed in the male vector. The Gita Iyengar technique allows you to develop your femininity to the maximum, improve your health, clear your mind.
Features of Iyengar yoga for women
The most notable limitations of Iyengar yoga for women relate to asanas. Some of them are given more attention, some for classes during menstruation are unacceptable. These asanas include all stances with legs raised up. According to Ayurveda, everything that is waste must leave the body in order to maintain health, and not stagnate inside.
The development of Shakti energy, that is, the creative female force, occurs through meditation and performing simple exercises called “bandhas”.
Bandhas are muscle contractions that allow you to hold energy within yourself. For female practice, mula bandha is of particular importance – contraction of the muscles of the perineum. It also strengthens the walls of the vagina, has a beneficial effect on childbearing. Mula bandha, accompanied by the singing of mantras, harmonizes pranamaya and manomaya, calms, promotes a surge of strength.
Yoga during menstruation is aimed at restoring strength. There is no need to be afraid to fall asleep during shavasana – this will only benefit the body. The reserve of energy will help to replenish the obligatory meditation after each complex of asanas.
In general, Gita Iyengar advises practicing the Iyengar yoga technique according to the following scheme:
- Standing postures – develop balance and stamina in the body;
- Asanas with forward bends – stretch the back of the body;
- Sitting postures, postures lying on the back – prepare for pranayama;
- Inverted postures – unload the nervous system;
- Asanas aimed at working out annamaya;
- Asanas with bends back – stretch the front of the spine.
Also, the Gita Iyengar methodology includes Kurunta – a practice aimed at performing already familiar asanas with the help of ropes. It is perfect for older women, as well as those who are weak after illness or have problems with flexibility. There are complexes for pregnant women. In them, the greatest attention is paid to pranayama, which makes it possible to facilitate childbirth. This effect is well known to everyone – obstetricians usually advise a woman in labor to breathe.
Yoga Gita promotes the treatment of endometriosis, amenorrhea and vaginismus….