Answers Elena Kahn, Iyengar Yoga Teacher.Expert answers
Elena Kahn, Iyengar Yoga Teacher.
In yoga schools, the attitude to this issue is different. If it arose, then we are talking about the practice of asanas. I know the only definition of asana from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Sloka II.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam, where sthira is “unshakable, lasting”; "sukham" - "convenience, happiness." That is, during practice, we must be in a stable, alert and comfortable state of the body and mind, in other words: we must have the qualities of sthira-sukham. This often implies a sitting posture.
From the commentary on the Yoga Sutras by Sri B.K.S. Iyengara: "Asana - a stable position of the body, stability of the mind and auspiciousness of the spirit." In addition to curbing the mind, an important task of the asana is to improve the circulation of energy - blood, lymph, respiration, for which we create conditions: we build postures, create traction. Moreover, only with a sufficiently long stay in a correctly performed asana will its healing effect be noticeable.
So use or not props? The answer is very individual. It all depends on the practitioner's level and goals. In my opinion, props should be used ...
If the goal is the comfort and safety of beginners. As a rule, the body is not opened for beginners, and the muscles are too weak to maintain the correct position of the body in the asanas, therefore, it is worthwhile to use auxiliary materials, thanks to which the asana becomes comfortable and safe. In addition, props will help to stay in poses for a longer time. Well, the practitioner understands what body position you need to strive for, practicing without props.
For practitioners with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant. Props are basically the ability to practice and improve your condition.
During the development of more complex asanas, auxiliary materials insure against injuries, and the practitioner gets the opportunity to properly develop and deepen the posture as he grows his abilities. In this case, supporting materials will help to progress in practice. But this does not mean that props should always be used. When they are not necessary - do not use.
I am against the constant use of materials - they can interfere. It is necessary to try to achieve a state of stability and comfort without auxiliary elements. I think this is the main reason why some practitioners may not like props. I agree, it is possible in different, easier and safer ways to first train the body, and then proceed to more difficult poses. Another reason for dislike is that many do not know how to use them.
Fact: props help not only to master a new, more complex pose, but also to feel the correct state in it. But when it is achieved, from props: bricks, belts, blankets - in my opinion, it is better to refuse.