The Gift of Props

by Andrea Fulkerson

When I first began my yoga life, I owned a mat. Period. I would move through the poses one after another, staying briefly before moving on. For me, yoga was a way to become flexible — nothing more.

Years later, my teacher was away and had invited a substitute to guide the class. We used a chair and belt, and my first thought was that I was not a beginner. As the class progressed, I realized that I was learning new and exciting ways to do the same poses I had been doing for years. I had never experienced anything like it and I walked out of class with the lightness of a child. I was hooked from that day onward. As my curiosity expanded, so too did the props….

What are the gifts of using props?

Diving Deeper Inward

Prashant Iyengar explained the use of props in his most recent internet workshop (spring 2021), likening the props to an operation table that allows the person to settle the body. On the “operating table”, the movements and twitching of the body can be stilled, diving deeper inward so that the strands of the mind, body an breath can be observed. The body can be opened in a way that allows the practitioner to taste freedom with observation of the trinity. Vital energies that would normally be lost in sustaining a posture can be used to navigate the inner terrain.

“The prop is the bottle opener. You have to taste each bottle, and see what it has to offer.”
— Prashant Iyengar

Allows for Access and Progression of Poses

We are all different ability, shapes, sizes, flexibility, age, & energy levels. Props allow ALL of us to be able to access and work with poses regardless of our differences. They allow the action of the poses to be touched, worked and explored — whether passively or actively.

Play and Curiosity

Props assist as an extension of our human reach, expanding and moving the depth of our own awareness, so we can reach the fullness of our true potential — both inside and out.

About the Author

Andrea Fulkerson

With over her 30 years of health practice, Andrea has developed a holistic approach to working with others. Iyengar Yoga has given her the tools required to have a quieter, healthier, curiosity-filled life which includes the love of movement she’s always enjoyed. The study of Yoga continues to enlighten her as she practices with her teachers and at workshops.