B.K.S. Iyengar Explains: Why All The Props?

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“For years I was teaching without using any support, but realized later that these classical asana cannot be done by one and all. When this Institute came into existence, people with various ailments started attending. In order to build up confidence in them, I thought that unless and until I innovate props for support to do the asana with ease and also to keep their mental frame stable. I felt quick recovery from ailments may not be possible without innovating props.

In order to find props, the idea of sbija and nirbija samadhi came into my mind. If samadhi has support as well as non-support, why could not asana too be sabija and nirbija asana? Thus props like sabija benefited in two ways; one is extension and the other is relaxation, taking place at the same time.” [1]

We’re well into fall now, soon to be transitioning into winter. This is a time to balance the Vata dosha by slowing down, getting grounded and reflecting on what needs healing. It’s a perfect opportunity to begin incorporating the use of props in your yoga practice.

For those of you looking for a precision based practice that will improve your posture and retrain your body’s misaligned patterns of movement (which often cause pain in the joints and back), an Iyengar yoga class is a great option. Here, you will work with more elaborate props such as chairs, ropes hanging from walls, benches, arcing benches and other contraptions that you won’t find in a regular yoga class.

If you’d just like to bring more ease and healing into your own practice (at home or in a regular yoga class), consider slowing down and taking advantage of the standard yoga props that are widely available. If you’re unsure of where to begin, this infographic I nabbed from Hugger Mugger is a great start.

Source: www.huggermugger.com

1. From BKS Iyengar’s book, “Yoga Wisdom and Practice – For health, happiness, and a better world. (Originally published on the “Yoga – Head to Toe”, interview for BBC Radio 4 by Mark Tully in Pune, April 1999).

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