"I do it myself!" Most children utter this phrase starting at a very early age. A little later, there is generally a stage when Mom & Dad don't know anything. Such striving for independence is vital for survival in our culture, and is a necessary evil.
When we get older, we generally learn how much support our parents or caregivers actually gave us. Without support, it is much more difficult to open ourselves to new experiences.
Yogis can often behave the same way. Our vision gets clouded, and we think being able to "do it myself", without the support of a prop (a block, strap, chair, blanket, the Yoga Wall, Aerial silks, or even our beloved mat), is somehow more valuable. Sometimes, even if you can do the pose without a prop, a prop can be a huge benefit.
Here are a few ways that props can be helpful:
1. They allow the experience of poses that were previously unaccessible.
2. They help us find the balance between the sthira and sukha (steadiness and ease).
3. They allow us to have new experiences in familiar poses.
4. They allow us to experience the benefits of poses for a greater period of time.
5. They teach us how to engage our lesser used muscles.
6. They teach us to stretch our less flexible muscles.
7. They make inversions and balancing poses more accessible.
OK, so yoga props can be great tools for everyone, now what? We take our yoga back our everyday lives! Look for a way that you can or BE THE PROP for someone else. Supporting someone else will bring joy to both of you.
Be OK with accepting support. Sometimes when we are able to soften, listen, and accept help, we are able to reach new places on and off the yoga mat. Your non yoga prop may be a person, tool, discussion group, religious group, or anything else. Whatever it is, maybe you've been resistant to the prop that is the very thing that will facilitate a new experience or skill. Using a prop is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of mental strength, and awareness.
Go into the rest of your day. Realize that support is a wonderful thing! Analyze your needs for props on and off the mat, and search for a way that you can be the prop for someone else.
Namaste - Beth
Also, enjoy this short video of Dr. Geeta S. Iyengar speaking about the Yoga Rope Wall.