Did you know that there are more than 20 million people who practice yoga? This includes more than a dozen disciplines such as Iyengar yoga that can be confusing and overwhelming when you’re first starting out or looking for something new. This practice focuses on precision and alignment through focus, attention and controlling your breathing. Yoga teacher, Carrie Owerko, a certified Yoga Therapist, Laban Movement Analyst and Senior level Iyengar teacher, has been teaching and exploring the relationship between body, breath and mind for several years so we were excited to speak with her to learn more about her background and what is really involved in the practice of Iyengar yoga.
Interview with Carrie Owerko on Iyengar Yoga
Wellness Patterns: How did you get started in yoga?
Carrie Owerko: I began my daily yoga practice over 20 years ago. I was working in a Movement Theater company in NYC and was curious about the body/breath based meditative practices of yoga. After leaving the theater, I began studying Laban Movement Analysis at the laban Institute of Movement Studies In NYC and continued my yoga practice. My yoga practice is where I felt most integrated.
Wellness Patterns: Why do you think yoga is an important practice for people to try?
Carrie Owerko: I think yoga, especially Iyengar Yoga, is primarily about cultivating greater levels of awareness. It is about developing presence and the ability to engage with life’s joys and difficulties with the whole of oneself. That wholeness includes the body, the breath, the mind, the emotions, the intellect, the imagination. The practice of yoga helps develop this sense of integration. It also develops our capacity for variability. We become better able to adapt to the many variables, or curve balls, that life seems to throw at us.
Wellness Patterns: How often should you practice?
Carrie Owerko: As for practice, it is most effective as a daily endeavor. It doesn’t have to be long–even 15 minutes can do wonders–but consis: tency is really important.
Wellness Patterns: What is Iyengar yoga?
Carrie Owerko: Iyengar yoga is an approach created by the late BKS Iyengar of Pune, India. This approach is known for it’s attention to alignment, the creative use of props such as blocks, chairs, belts, etc., and a high degree of focus and attention. It is also know as an inherently therapeutic practice. BKS Iyengar’s work in therapeutic yoga is highly respected in the larger yoga community.
Wellness Patterns: How can someone can started with Iyengar yoga? Any tips?
Carrie Owerko: There are Iyengar Yoga classes available in many gyms and yoga centers all over the country. There are also classes and courses available online. I have one called Iyengar 101 with Yoga Journal, which is currently available. My approach to Iyengar yoga is playful. I am influenced by my study of Laban Movement Analysis, an ongoing study of biomechanics as well as my time in movement theater. I believe deeply in the power of play as a invaluable approach to learning anything. I feel it makes the disciplined practice of yoga more enjoyable and sustainable.
Check out more about Carrie here: http://www.carrieowerko.com/