The Panorama of Props

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The last day during our webinar with Abhijata Iyengar culminated in the theme of developing more sensitive perception through the varied uses and purposes of props.

We began class with Savasana and Pranayama to bring a “freshness” to our approach to the asanas. And in the asana practice, we experimented with many different ways to use a prop within poses. There are a lot of preconceived notions about prop use outside of and even within our own community – only for beginners, only physical, only for therapy, they make things easier, etc…But we have to learn to “trace something beyond the physical support” in the use of every prop in every pose.

Know the functionality of a prop on all the various levels…

  • physical support
  • mirroring movement and structure
  • sensory discernment with the use of touch and time
  • reference point for comparative study
  • urging more attention and awareness

“A prop is another complete subject in itself. Learn the panorama that the props can give you. Its a HUGE spectrum. Usage of props is a wide as Iyengar Yoga itself.” 

Abhijata Iyengar, May 13 2020

“The prop is our Guruji now. In Guruji’s absence, prop takes over that roll. Where required it can be strict with you. Where required it will demand discipline from you. Where required it will give you a peace and calm you never knew existed.” 

Abhijata Iyengar, May 13 2020

So often we look at the props as a hinderance to progress or our ego tells us we don’t need them. We bring all our judgements to the table and forget the amount that we can learn. We forget that yoga is not just “doing” but the process of learning to just “be”.

“Yoga is nothing but a science of a refinement of sensitivity…Yoga is a way of life. Yes it gives us health, yes it gives us happiness. But is also leads to a state of living in freedom.”

BKS Iyengar Quoted by Abhijata Iyengar, May 13 2020

Props bring us the ability to “refine our sensitivity” and therefore props bring us yoga. And as we experiment and experience that sensitivity on the mat, we must also translate that sensitivity into living.

“Yoga is a way of life. Iyengar Yoga with the use of props is a technology and tool to realize and experience that yoga is a way of life.”

Abhijata Iyengar, May 13 2020

Don’t look at the prop as something “other”, or something “separate”. BKS Iyengar is famously quoted as saying “Your body is your first prop”. And in one of today’s stories, Abhi shared that her grandfather reminded her to look at props as part of our body. “They may not have consciousness, but they are still a piece of life.”

And also, we must widen our view of what a prop is. In Iyengar Yoga we study and follow The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. We remember Patanjali with the invocation before class begins and refer to his teachings often. What brings yoga ultimately to life is the infusing of ALL the aspects of yoga together. Not just Asana, not just Pranayama, not just Meditation, as separate entities, but always integrating the vastness and fullness of the teaching.

“Patanjali is the finest prop any yoga sadhaka can ever have. He is eternally contemporary”

BKS Iyengar quoted by Abhijata Iyengar, May 13 2020

This “Power of Unity” gathering with Abhijata was also a prop for all of us! She so lovingly and passionately shares the totality of the subject of Iyengar Yoga and I know we are thankful to have been able to be together.

Jennie Williford CIYT

Jennie Williford (CIYT Level 3) is a transplant to LaCrosse via Montana, Illinois, and originally Texas. Throughout her life moves and 5 trips to India, Jennie has acquired a well-rounded and multi-faceted approach to Iyengar Yoga since her start in 1998. Jennie loves the experimental and explorative nature of yoga in accessing deeper knowledge of the Self on every level. The practice of yoga can be intense and introspective, however as practitioners we can be light-hearted and open-minded in our discipline. Jennie is intrigued by the philosophy of yoga and hopes to share this depth of subject while teaching the physical and mental benefits that come from the practice of posture.