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DEC 11 2019
How Iyengar Yoga Uses Props
Supports or ‘props’ might be used to help students progress their practice safely.
Props also allow tired or ill students to enjoy the benefits of many asanas via fully "supported" methods, requiring less muscular effort for maximum therapeutic reward of staying in the poses.
"For me, prop is not only for the asana. It should contribute to the position of the body which in turn can let the mind be calm and state of 'chitta vritti nirodha' be experienced. Body is my first prop. The body is a prop to the soul."--B.K.S. Iyengar.
With the help of a prop one can go beyond the body. That is why I say health is that state in which one can be free from the body.
For students with ailments or limitations, the use of a belt, bolster, or block is a saving grace that allows the student to do poses that they would otherwise be unable to do—certainly not classically. With props, students with heart ailments, respiratory problems, or neck or back problems are able to relieve their suffering and begin to heal. As they improve and can do the poses independently, the props may be eliminated.
Props are not the path itself, but merely an aid in a particular situation and circumstance.
Props also support staying power in a pose. Increased duration in a pose develops physical and mental stability, poise, and concentration. As we stay in a pose, the mind draws inward, unnecessary thinking is quelled, and we experience more objectivity and humility. Patanjali calls this citta prasadanam, or "even distribution of consciousness." This leads us on the inward journey toward the Self.
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.”
- B.K.S. Iyengar
Association for Iyengar Yoga
in the UK & Republic of Ireland