Iyengar yoga focuses on three key components: alignment, sequencing and timing. Straps, blocks and other props are used to ensure students maintain an ideal posture in order to fully benefit physically, emotionally and spiritually from the poses and sequencing.
Rather than the flow and the relatively speedier pace of vinyasa yoga, Iyengar has a greater focus on finding the ultimate expression of the pose, then maintaining it. It’s perfect for yogis who want to move with care and precision rather than sweat it out on the mat.
Here are some of our top picks.
St Kilda Yoga School
Simon Marrocco has been practising yoga and teaching since 1986 and now hosts 20 classes a week catering to every level of experience.
“We respect the individual needs of the students. [If] they have never done Iyengar yoga before we build them up slowly to the new instructions. Especially how to work their legs and arms,” he says.
St Kilda Yoga School also hosts workshops and international teachers, and runs retreats in Byron Bay, Bali and Italy.
For Marrocco, Iyengar yoga is a lifestyle choice, one that brings students a greater sense of purpose and appreciation for life.
“[It] helps their connection with their breath,” he says. “And [with] quietening the mind.”
Casual classes range from $15 to $24, depending on level. Private lessons are $100.
Clifton Hill Yoga Studio
Founded in 1996, Clifton Hill Yoga Studio is located inside an former masonic hall. It has five core teachers who are certified, full-time Iyengar yoga teachers with a minimum of 10 years teaching experience. Senior teacher Marina Jung has been teaching yoga for more than 25 years. All of the teachers are taught by the Iyengar family in Pune, India.
Director Tim Bosworth advises newcomers to dive right in and try a class “without too much preamble.”
“Iyengar yoga is a bit different in that we are teaching – rather than leading – yoga sequences,” Bosworth says. “Most people have done a bit of yoga and when they try Iyengar they are struck by this difference.”
Beginners through to advanced and teacher-level students are catered to with 45 classes a week, including specialist women’s, kids and pranayama (breathing technique) classes. Drop-ins are welcome.
Casual classes are $24, or $20 for concession holders. Unlimited sessions cost $48 per week.
After founding Noosa Yoga Centre and teaching there for 10 years, Peter and Sue Scott moved to Melbourne to open Yoga Jivana in 2007.
Peter has been teaching since 1982. Sue trained in classical ballet from the age of eight, and began teaching yoga in 1992. Together they have been to Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune India many times to study.
“Our approach to teaching Iyengar Yoga is open, welcoming and accessible,” says Peter. “Iyengar Yoga is both instructive and detailed, and we aim to inspire students.”
There are 18 classes a week ranging from beginner to advanced. Class times vary from an hour for beginners to two hours for more-advanced students.
Six- or 12-month memberships range from $29.25 to $42.50 per week depending on class level.
Yogaha was founded by James Bahuth who, after 20 years of practice, teaching and mentoring at St Kilda Yoga School, was eager to open his own studio. Bahuth is also an Iyengar teacher, so alongside classes for students he offers certified teacher training.
There are 20 group classes a week ranging from beginner to advanced levels. Private tuition is also available. Yogaha conducts induction courses for those new to Iyengar, where students are taught the foundations over 10 weeks.
Introductory courses require pre-booking. The other 15-plus classes are casual (no membership or booking required).
Classes are $25, or $20 for concession holders. A one-hour private session is $110.
Bridge Yoga Studio
Bridge Yoga runs classes seven days a week and combines fun and challenging physical work with a focus on integration of mind, body and breath.
Founder Tony Rothberg began his yoga practice in 1988 after a friend recommended yoga as a remedy for back pain. Rothberg studied in Pune, India, and became a fully certified teacher in 1996.
Rothberg’s classes are open to every level of experience. He is particularly interested in performance development and recovery for athletes, and has worked with Richmond and St Kilda Football Clubs, professional rugby players and ballet dancers.
Classes are $22, or $20 for concession holders.