Many names apply to the yoga prop featured today….
When Mr. Iyengar was a young man, one of his first assignments was instructing Yoga to men of An Indian Army unit. Recruits train hard, resulting in sore muscles and general stiffness causing a loss in power, agility and performance. His teaching became a godsend giving relief to these pains. While observing the men trained in British army fashion practicing calisthenics and track work including steeplechase or jumping trestles/hurdles he got an idea which went a long way.
The hurdles themselves inspired B.K.S. Iyengar to use them for yoga Asana. A carpenter made a sturdier version of the trestles for studio use. And that was the birth of the Pune Pony!
But a Horse is a Horse of course.
So how do we use them?
Much in the way Guruji intended.
Especially when one is dealing with injuries, stiffness, balancing issues or an oscillating mind. This allows one to strike a posture with steady support and less effort, getting more into focus to the body, sharpening the mind, shedding vrittis. I use mine especially when fatigued after a days work or when I’m hurting for any reason.
Postures like Ardha Chandrasana, Utthita Padangusthasana, Virabhadrasana 3 become more accessible. These are just a few of the Asanas for which the yoga horse is extremely beneficial. It makes life much easier!
I made mine using furniture building techniques. They are different than those by Gurujis only visually. The dimensions remain the same. The foot is in plane to the leg, allowing zero protrusion at the base which furthers the possibilities like accessing Pachimottanasana.
The dowel, which used to be a piece of metal pipe, I make out of of solid 2” thick wood of the same species as the rest of the piece. I find wood to be much more user friendly than a heavy piece of metal, especially when it is cold! It has zero protrusion at the ends. It slips in one end where it is reverse wedged. The other end of the dowel rests in a blind hole. The beam is hollow where the legs rest in a mortise.
It is lighter than most yoga horses, goes through doorways pretty easily and when you are moving, it comes apart in 3 pieces: a rod, a wedge and 6 screws. To assemble you need only a screwdriver or cordless drill and a friend!
I love this prop as one can love a Horse. When I don’t use it, it doubles as a quilt or blanket stand!