Difference between Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga

By Patricia | December 2, 2008
Iyengar Yoga For Flexibility & Strength

Iyengar yoga, which is good for flexibility, balance, endurance and strength, was developed decades ago by B.K.S Iyengar. This yoga is about doing poses that need proper alignment of the body and coordinated breathing. Meditation is also part of Iyengar yoga.

Difference Between Iyengar Yoga And Other Forms Of Yoga: Iyengar yoga is different in certain ways from other forms of yoga.

  • Iyengar yoga is about spirituality through physical methods. Breath work, meditation and poses are all part of the yoga practice. The essence of this yoga is that every pose requires deep concentration and to do that you need to be in a meditative state while practicing yoga.
  • Props are used in Iyengar yoga to help everyone, from young people to the elderly, to practice the asanas with ease. Props like blankets, cushions, wooden blocks and straps are used while practicing yoga.
  • User-friendly and safe, Iyengar yoga is about precise alignment of the body while doing the poses.
  • There is also a proper order in which the asanas need to be performed. Based on precision technique, Iyengar yoga is said to be a great form for beginners.

Difference Between Ashtanga Yoga And Iyengar Yoga: Ashtanga yoga, which is fitness yoga, focuses on toning, strength and fitness. A more energetic form of yoga, Ashtanga is quite different from Iyengar yoga.

  • Ashtanga is more fitness oriented and is said to tone up the body as well as build up a strong physique. Iyengar yoga stretches and strengthens the muscles of the body and the asanas or poses are supposed to be held for a certain amount of time. The poses in Iyengar yoga are good for strengthening the legs and the arms.
  • Ashtanga practice begins with sun salutations, which will heat up the body and lead to sweating and an increased heart rate. This is said to purify your body. On the other hand, Iyengar yoga will increase your stamina but it isn’t as rigorous and won’t make your heart beat go up.
  • Ashtanga is extremely good for increasing your flexibility and loosening your stiff muscles and joints over a short period of time. Iyengar yoga is great for flexibility too, but it happens over a period of time and after practicing for some time.
  • While, Ashtanga yoga is about focused gaze and rhythmic breathing, Iyengar yoga begins with basic breath work as it is believed that practitioners should first build precision and strength before doing elaborate breathing techniques.
  • Ashtanga yoga is more rigorous and physically demanding. Iyengar yoga is slower and a lot of importance is given to correct alignment and positioning while doing postures. Iyengar yoga is said to be good for back pain.
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