Greetings fellow yogins,
Just like you... I have my views. I would love to shed a little light on the subject at hand: Props.
First, we most be awake enough in our discernments as to what it is we are trying to achieve in the debate of this very discussion? Are we wanting to be right or wrong in our opinions and views on the subject of using props as it relates to ourself or others? What is the difference between this debate and the debate of religion or politics? Do we like to impose our beliefs onto others' as it will "enlighten their practice ? NO!
When one works to achieve a "more auspicious pose or practice" it is somewhat akin to what is called Tapta Marga. Tapta Marga, (which can more easily be stated as the process of creating heat or fire to help obliterate the essence of affliction or ignorance. By and by, yoga leads to self-realization. and that self-realization is always on becoming renewed. People figure things out for themselves-- on their own terms. The prop battle is not only in the field but in our heads!
Props help some people, some of the time, for whatever reason it does. Now, I postulate that many of the reasons people use props are known and not known-- by teachers and students alike!
When we use props are we doing it to remain stable in a pose so that the nervous system is not in some form of shock; subtle or gross. Our we using props to help bring a more sustainable approach to the symmetry of muscular balance?
Are we working through a specific injury-- past or present? Perhaps, if we are lucky enough to understand the specific role(s) fascia plays in our physical, emotional and mental understanding of health and wellness we use these props.
Use see, our limited understanding of how the body, the mind, the universe and perhaps chance interact is everything and nothing all wrapped up together in the matrisome of our conditioning.
We all have the opportunity to transcend our limitations-- with or without props!
Miguel J. Latronica, ERYT
Im pretty sure that BKS Iyengar, and TKS Deskichar, both student of Krishnamachariya, are firm believers in using props, and blocks. Both lineages understand that all bodies are different, and that many face certain physical restraints . Therefore, practicing with blocks, straps, and bolsters can be more therapeutic & healing, yet it is still YOGA. Deskichar's 'ViniYoga' is based
on the needs of the individual. It is still a Vinyasa type with breath led movements, yet using props to always inhance your asana practice.
I don' thtink there's anything wrong with using props, especially for beginners, so long as it doesn't become a habit. I live in France and, and where I practice, they're not big on using props (the center is run by Hindis, so it may have something to do with it) and on those days when I feel a little tired and less flexible, then I do feel props could be useful. Not that I feel I'm personally missing much, as the instructors to insists on "only going as deep as your body allows you today," but it still.
Im sorry but I can't help but think props pose limitations on one's ability to perform a pose. I view props to be somewhat unatural and are more of a hinderance than helpful. For example, I find blocks to be unstable, to topple over easily posing a risk for injury. Straps? Still not too sure what benefit they offer. The only prop I can see being of any use is a mat for obvious reasons. Asanas, in my belief, was meant to be practiced naturally, using your own body to take you to that higher level of consiousness. On that note I will bid you Namaste <3.
Generally I prefer to practice without props (only the mat) and remember getting frustrated in a class when the teacher ordered me to use several blankets just as a matter of principle for poses I could easily do without any.
Now that I practice more by myself I find some props really beneficial not just as an extension of my body parts (I never use them as compensation for tightness though) but they also let me experiment with asanas and find the right alignment and muscle balance which I would never even know was possible otherwise.
Can anyone tell me why a yoga mat is necessary and why a plain exercise mat is not as good as a yoga mat. Thanks.
in ancient India, props are unknown to the yogic students., even now...only for westerners and for non-Indians, props are being invented, I think...
Using props for 75% of the class, means I'm doing something wrong? I'm stunned that a yogi would make this comment. We are all at different flexabilities - on a daily basis. What I use my props for changes - depending upon that day's "fluidness" and arthritic complications.
Don't be so hasty to judge - you will age too. I hope that when you are 50 yrs old, some flexible nubile classmate doesn't you so harshly.
At first I didn't like props, but now that I've done about a year of steady practice, I feel and see how beneficial they are. My current uses are a block to extend my seated foward fold and give me a little support in arch strengthening poses that are held for a long time, the wall for headstands (almost there on my own!) and handstands, and straps for dancer...wow! what a difference!...and full pidgeon. I've learned to appreciate how they keep the integrity of a pose, and ultimately a better practice. Namaste :)
I have to agree with Char. I broke my left arm in three places six months ago. The break was so bad, I needed to have plates and screws put in to set the bones. I need to use a block in some poses because that arm can't bear as much weight as my right arm. I hope some day, I won't have to use the block, but if I have to use a block to avoid putting weight on my left arm, then so be it. What good is it to "tough it out" when your mind is focused on the fact that when you are putting weight on it, you can literally feel the plates and the screws in there? Isn't that defeating the purpose of clearing the mind? Not everyone who uses props consistently is "doing it wrong".