“Iyengar is responsible for the use of props — blocks, belts, chairs and ropes. Their purpose is to help everybody to achieve the pose, despite their limitations,” said Hudak, who studied with Iyengar and his son in India and the U.S.
Iyengar also emphasizes proper alignment more than many other types of yoga, Hudak said. This allows people to safely hold poses for awhile, she said, “long enough to make subtle adjustments and feel it and go inward.”
Unlike yoga classes in which students follow along by watching what the teacher does, in Iyengar yoga the teacher directs the class verbally and is hands on, walking around the room looking at how students’ bodies are aligned and occasionally adjusting them.
Hudak first discovered yoga in a book, “Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan,” she said, with a laugh. She attended some classes, but in 1985 went to her first class where the teacher adjusted students.
“I never knew you could do it wrong. It really opened my eyes to the complexity of yoga,” she said.
Later that year, she went to Seattle for a weekend Iyengar workshop “and that was that,” she said. It wasn’t long before she was asked to teach and was hooked.
People often think flexibility is required to do yoga, but that’s not true, Hudak said. “Strength, I think, is first.”