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My Journey with Prop-Based Yoga




On the 27th of January 2024, as India celebrated Rohan Bopanna's historic victory at the Australian Opens, I found myself drawn by his words (“I have no cartilage in my knees. They’re both worn out from wear and tear,”) during his winning speech. At 43, he became the oldest Grand Slam Champion, attributing his remarkable recovery and win to Iyengar Yoga. It was my first encounter with this form of yoga, and it instantly fascinated me.



Prompted by curiosity, I turned to Google and searched for an Iyengar Yoga practitioner nearby. To my sheer luck, I stumbled upon Shubham, a practitioner residing in the same society as me. After a brief exchange of messages, our journey together, delving into prop-based yoga techniques, commenced on the 31st of January 2024. Today, on the 31st of March 2024, exactly two months into this transformative practice, I feel compelled to document my experiences. Coincidentally today, Rohan Bopanna has sealed yet another victory, this time at the Miami Opens.


The initial month of February 2024 was a rapid excitement, learning, and occasional discomfort as my body adjusted to the novel stretches and poses, supported by an array of props such as bolsters and chairs. Each session with Shubham unveiled new facets of yoga, introducing me to unfamiliar asanas and prop-based modifications. Despite the occasional ache (good pain!), there was an underlying sense of progress and improvement. I encountered a brief setback due to illness, missing a couple of sessions. However, Shubham's introduction of restorative yoga proved transformative, emphasizing the profound impact of such poses. I jokingly referred to these sessions as "Sukh Asan," longing for their soothing effects.


As March unfolded, the familiarity with certain poses grew, accompanied by subtle yet significant discoveries regarding the utility of props. Simple adjustments, like sitting on the edge of a blanket during prayers at the beginning of class, revealed profound insights into the importance of proper alignment and support. A persistent tailbone pain prompted me to experiment with elevation using a blanket, leading to a realization of its role in maintaining alignment and reducing discomfort.


Transitioning into the third month, I invested in yoga accessories by acquiring several props: bolsters, blankets, backless chairs, and a specialized stick yoga mat. To my surprise, the cost of a yoga mat surpassed that of a backless chair, a stunning revelation contrary to my expectations. Moreover, I began to distinguish the differences in quality among different props. The blocks and rope I previously owned were notably softer and more slippery compared to the newly acquired ones.



Additionally, my exploration extended beyond physical props as I delved into the documentary on sage Patanjali. Contrary to my initial assumption of him being a conventional sage, I discovered a fascinating aspect of his identity – he was, in fact, a mermaid. This revelation sparked a newfound curiosity and appreciation for the depth of yogic philosophy.



Furthermore, I immersed myself in captivating videos featuring the renowned BKS Iyengar, trying to understand different dimensions of yoga. As my journey unfolds, I find myself continuously uncovering new insights and embarking on a path of profound discovery.

 




I am filled with gratitude for sessions being imparted by Shubham.  The transformative power of yoga sessions under his guidance in enhancing both my physical and mental well-being, leaving a slasting mark on my journey.

 

 

Rahul Ojha

1st April 2024

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