In the evolutionary trajectory of asana abhyāsa and Yoga, the props are not meant for beginners. Often we hear people (even teachers) say: “props are like crutches that we need to get rid of with time.” This is not at all the approach and meaning with which the props are used in our approach to the practice.
To appreciate the various props and their use, sensitivity and subtlety are required. The props help us to lift, to expand, to hold an action.
But what is an action? How can a raw student really understand the depth of an action? How can a beginner understand the connection between the physical, psychological and energetical aspect in each one of us? One may know a lot through books, but understanding is something totally different. Anybody who has practiced sincerely for even 6 months begins to realize that actions in asanas open up a whole new universe.
Secondly, the unwillingness to use props depicts an egotistical attitude in the practice. And such a mind has already ended the possibility of the flowering of the awareness of the subtle and sublime.
To use the props correctly, the attitude has to be corrected to begin with.
Props are our teachers and awakeners of intuitive intelligence. In order to be able to use the props efficiently, there are various factors to be considered:
- Understanding the prop – each prop can be used in so many ways, for so many purposes. This knowledge requires a few years of practice to acquire.
- Why are you using it? – props can be used to activate or to release. Sometimes they can be used to feel through touch and sometimes to avoid touching the prop, to have a point of reference. This understanding can only come through understanding Actions.
- Understanding your own Body – this is indispensable. We need to understand our own anatomy, not only through books, but again, through an experiential knowledge through years of practice. Sometimes we may have limitations, and so the prop may help do an unattainable pose, or it may help to go beyond our limitation.
It is like with anything, we need to be humble in order to learn. True learning takes time and an open mind.