i•yengar: A type of hatha yoga that focuses on alignment
What it is
Named for the popular Indian guru B.K.S. Iyengar, this meticulous yoga style emphasizes precise alignment, deep stretching and poses held steady for long moments. Students are encouraged to explore the mind-body connection, learn breathing techniques and focus on the spiritual as well as the physical.
What to expect
Because of the focus on correct alignment, students may use props — belts, blocks and bolsters — to get into a pose.
Who practices it
New students, those dealing with or recovering from injuries, and those who are detail oriented and methodical.
B.K.S. Iyengar, who died in 2014 at age 95, is credited with popularizing yoga in the West. His devotees have included Annette Bening, Aldous Huxley and Donna Karan.
Take a Deep Breath
Yoga is a combination of controlled breathing and movement, and these days the breath is getting as much attention as the poses. Research shows that breathing pattern and rate can have a powerful effect on the body and mind.
Try this basic breathing exercise:
1. Get comfortable, sitting or lying down, with your eyes closed.
2. Gently breathe in and out through your nose, with an equal inhalation and exhalation, without overfilling the lungs or trying to push out all the air.
3. Count as you breathe (in: two, three, four; out: two, three, four), or use a breath-pacer app.
4. Once that pace is comfortable, slow it a bit more. The ideal rate is between four and a half and six breaths per minute.