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Is it cheating to use props in yoga?



Yogapattasana

There is a notion that it is or that it is a shortcut. Personally speaking, props are the best allies to have around during yoga practice! They aid in creating proper alignment and posture without compromising on the experience or benefit of a yoga pose and most importantly, they help to prevent injuries. Props also help in building muscle memory until we reach a point where there's no need for them anymore. Though the use of props in modern times is associated with B. K. S. Iyengar, it is not an alien or a fancy inclusion to the practice of yoga. 


One particular prop, the yoga strap, has an ancient history, being depicted in temple sculptures and described in manuscripts from ancient times; it was used in sopasrayasana, which is a seated meditation pose - sitting with legs loosely crossed, the soles of the feet resting in the front, also called yogapattasana. This pose is supported by a strap as depicted in a sculpture from the 7th century CE at Mamallapuram  (see the headless figure on the bottom right).


Yogapattasana is as old as yoga, which is more than 2500 years old. So, it is not cheating and I rest my case! 



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