Yoga Cittavrtti Nirodhah – Yoga is cessation of movements in the consciousness; according to B.K.S. Iyengar.
Mr. Iyengar is a yoga legend. Perhaps no one has done more than Mr. Iyengar to bring yoga to the West. He made is well-known for it’s emphasis on precise alignment of the body. It uses supports called “props” that allow students to progress in their practice of postures safely at their own pace whether there is a stiffness or injury. By using props – blocks, belts, bolsters and chairs one can learn about a correct alignment and can achieve tremendous results with practice, dedication and consistency.
“The journey to wholeness, inner peace and ultimate freedom. His ‘Light on Life’ book was one of my first book I have ever bought – so worth reading it and re-reading it.
Yoga Props reeducate and still the mind by awakening the body’s intelligence.
Yoga props help us to find a balance and transform our practice. My personal experience practicing yoga for first few years meant struggling with poses ( as had few injuries throughout my life ) and, began seeing results and feeling benefits in my body only once I began to use the yoga props. Started feeling a relieve in my back pains, I felt super supported. Since I have been teaching, I have notice that some students will shy away from the props as perhaps they don’t want to be seeing as beginners – as that’s for some ‘using the probs’ might represent. Some might think are not good enough or strong enough… or, simply feel they don’t need them.
Interestingly, more we understand our own individual make-up, anatomy and biomechanics, we start seeing that no one body is the same. We are all different with unique structure and, every single body needs something different in every pose and we have an opportunity to be supported and to create a perfect healthy precise alignment for ourselves.
See below props which I use on my private One to One Yoga Sessions and, in some yoga studios I teach.
Props for a support on your daily yoga practice
Modify your Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-Knee Pose if needed to find a safe alignment in your body. Using the strap, hold the strap in each hand and place it just above the arch of your foot closer to your toes – which will help you to lift of your waist. Make sure your spine is straight, deep breath in and, as you breath out fold forward towards your feet while you keeping your spine concave and your chest lifted. You can also use blanket under your sit bones if needed to raise your hips for a comfort. Move slowly, listen to what you are experiencing during rather than trying to achieve a goal ( reaching your toes ) quickly. When problem with sacroiliac or SI joint ( like myself ) take extra care and take your time to get into and out of the pose. Be gentle to yourself.
Use belt for Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose – Supta Padangusthasana. Lie supine on the the mat, head relaxed, shoulder blades gentle pressing to the mat. Bend the left leg, loop the belt higher than your arch, draw the thigh into your torso and pull the leg perpendicular to the floor. Adjust your hands on the strap so your elbows are fully extended. Make sure your right thigh is heavily drawn to the floor and, flex your right foot. ( my right foot is not flexed but I was about to do that when picture was taking ) Breathe in the pose for 5 – 10 breaths. Grab the belt with your left hand and extend the left leg toward your left from the hip joint. If your right hip lifts, press your right thumb into your right hip so the hip stays directly on the mat. Hold there for the 5 or so breaths and return to the middle – vertical position of left leg. Exhale, bend the left leg and release the belt. Swap the sides. This pose stretches your hips, groins, thighs, hamstrings and improves digestion.
Iyengar Yoga Chair
Start in a Mountain Pose – Tadasana and have a chair in front of you about 3-4 feet so there is enough space for spine extension. Extend your arms in front of you, inhale and as you exhale reach for the chair with your hands, keeping the spine straight. Breath into a pose for 5-6breaths. It’s great for those with a back aches and stiff hamstrings. Next time, will be showing you how to do ‘Backbends with Chair prop’ safely – stay tuned, it’s coming…
Stand in Extended Triangle Pose – Inhale and as you exhale reach your hand forward beyond your little toe side of your right foot and reach with your left hand for the block in front of you – the block should be about 12 inches in front of your leg. You should feel your hands firmly on the block. Simultaneously, on exhale lift the right leg off the floor and parallel to the floor as well as right arm lifts towards the ceiling. Extend the leg actively but, bare in mind not to lock the standing knee. The kneecap facing forward and it is not turned inwards. Turn your torso to the right and right hip moving slightly forward and, gazing forward. Press the sacrum and shoulder blades towards the back torso and lengthen the coccyx towards the raised heel. Stay in the pose for 5 breaths and on exhalation return back to Trikonasana. Swap the sides. Half Moon Pose Block – Ardha Chandrasana strengthen to abdomen, ankles, thighs, buttocks and spine. Improves coordination and sense of balance.
Lying Chest Opener feels so good. Will help to open the chest and allows the body to open deeply in comfort. Place your Bolster vertically on the mat and shift your sit bones just at the edge of your end of the bolster and lye on the bolster. Arms away from the body as wide as it feels comfortable. Arms either supported on the soft blankets or blocks. Head gently rested on the edge of the top of the bolster. The legs can be straight and your big toes away from each other if, that feels good for your body anatomy. Breath naturally in the pose. Bolster can also be turned horizontally and placed below your shoulder blades but don’t forget to support your head. More chest openers and how to use bolster for your own comfort soon…
“Yoga Props reeducate and reeducate and still the mind by awakening the body’s intelligence.” Read other article on the ‘Why Yoga props’ in the Yoga International
Try to incorporate yoga props into your daily practice and share your experience. If you need a guidance and more personalized session, get in touch how to book One to One Private Yoga Session with me.
Stay Healthy and Vibrant,