If you watch my classes on Udaya regularly, you will notice props almost always make an appearance. Even when I’m trying to teach without props for the students at home who may not have access them, a prop always seems to creep its way in. I do this because I find props to be extremely effective teaching tools. The kinesthetic feedback of a well-placed prop speaks volumes. As I teacher, I can say less, and the let student experience more.
In these variations of ustrasana (Camel Pose), the chair teaches the pose. The chair back provides the lift in the back ribs and the thoracic extension necessary to keep your spine from buckling in the pose. Your arms can leverage against the chair legs to help find that lift and extension. When all these elements are combined, the legs fire to provide the strength to hold the pose.
These are just some of the ways you can use a chair to improve your asana. You don’t actually need to know a lot of anatomy if you know how to cleverly use your props.
Jules Mitchell, M.S.