Props = LOVE
Contributed By: Stefani Gallagher
I will never forget my very first yoga experience…it was an Iyengar class with a teacher who had me engaged the entire time with his dry humor. I was thrilled! We spent a lot of time in each pose and he kept coming over to me and making adjustments and showing me how to use these big ugly blocks. I have to admit I was a little weirded out by the time he tied a strap around my back and ankles…but this guy was funny so I liked him. Then he folded about four hippie looking blankets all around me and under my legs. I didn’t know what yoga was but if this was it, I could give it a second try. Since I had been into meditation techniques before I was very interested in this man’s approach to using the breath to move our bodies even when holding poses. I was into it!
After taking yoga classes 1-3 times a week, for about 3 weeks, I began to venture into more advanced asana and poses. I wasn’t ready for it physically or mentally, but I felt the need to try and “go further”, “up-level”, “find the deepest expression of the pose”……whatever that was supposed to mean. After only a few weeks at this studio, the Iyengar teacher I loved left to go teach elsewhere in the city. I was left with ego inflating teachers who could bend themselves in half effortlessly and made me feel that if I kept pushing myself into injuries then I could do that one day too. No blankets under your knees….no blocks for equally proportioned people…and definitely no straps for anyone slightly inflexible.
Luckily for me my ego was challenged when I came to Emerge the first time. Some people do not have arms as long as their legs, some of us have extremely tight hamstrings and let me tell you…I LOVE MY PROPS!! I can now get deeper into twists, feel stretches in ways I couldn’t before. I opened up to restorative yoga (an adrenaline junkie’s worst nightmare) and guess what….I LOVE THAT TOO!
Next time your teacher offers a prop…take a leap of faith and give the block a chance!
Allow yourself to be open to something further enhancing your experience and possibly changing your perspective. All of our bodies are different. Sometimes all it takes is the encouragement to release beneath support to open up and be free in ways we did not know were possible.