Flexibility of the Mind – Advanced Yoga and the Use of Props

Yoga Handstand with Three Minute Egg
Try this for an added challenge!

When it comes to advanced Yogis and yoga props, the response is almost inevitably, “Not for me, thanks. I don’t use props.”  Many will say that the more they advance, the less interest they have in yoga props, and the less they feel they need them.  And so I put forth the following question: What does it truly mean in yoga to be advanced?

The practice of asana inspires us to find where we are on any given day.  Making a declarative statement about where we are fails to factor in one of life’s biggest constants — change.  Our bodies change, our abilities change, our energy levels change and our goals change.  In this article, I invite you to think outside whatever box you’ve placed around advancing as a yogi,  particularly when it comes to using props.

Instead of viewing yoga props as something you move beyond (once they stop helping you to overcome a limitation on your part — perceived or actual), why not think of them as instructors, which can help you move beyond the place in which your practice has currently settled?  Another tool in your arsenal that can augment your practice rather than handicap it?  Adding and extension chord to a vacuum cleaner doesn’t make one an inferior house-keeper, it simply makes those hard-to-reach places that much more accessible!

Ideal for weight-bearing and balancing poses!

In the case of the Three Minute Egg®, why not see it as something you add to your practice to give it variety? A tool to make things better, or even a toy to make things more fun?  A way to make old things new again?  The Hard-Boiled Eggs, (made from a slightly denser foam than the original Namast-egg) are an amazing way to add challenge to some of your favorite balancing poses like handstands or astavakrasana (8 angle pose). Hard-Boiled Eggs are specifically designed for bearing weight without sacrificing their ergonomic shape.

Allow the Eggs to make your vinyasas more challenging.  Things like jumping back and jumping through can be more attainable with the added height, comfort and support of the Three Minute Egg®. The height of the Egg adds just the right amount of space to help you lift your legs off the ground.  The roundedness of the Eggs allow them to adjust to your body’s orientation as you make this dramatic transition (as compared with a block, which doesn’t move, forcing your wrists to absorb the impact as you change positions).  The ergonomic size and shape of the Eggs make them easy to hold, and a natural extension of your arm.  Giving your body the opportunity to work its way into the more difficult postures allows you to find the right action while learning complicated movements.

Whatever stage of the yogic journey we are in, try to be conscious of your samskaras (habits and patterns we form in our lives).   These can inhibit us from experiencing where we are right now.   They trigger quick answers based on past experiences and keep us from being truly inquisitive.

I put this question to you and urge you to explore it.  Have you calcified your beliefs that an advanced practice means one without yoga props ?  Or have you cultivated the ultimate flexibility which is the birthright of all great yogis?  Flexibility of the mind.