These resources—book, website, videos, workshops—grew out of repeated requests for a comprehensive guide to using the Iyengar wall ropes. In Boston, where we teach and practice, we are fortunate to have studios with ropes installed and students and teachers with great enthusiasm for using them to deepen their practice and expand their teaching.
This group, the Boston Yoga Ropes Collective, was formed specifically to create these resources. We have been learning and practicing together for years, and have complimentary skills that made the work together an absurd amount of fun as well as a great learning experience. Once we agreed that we were going to take this project on, we sought Patricia Walden’s blessing and guidance. Then we decided that we wanted to involve as many ropes students and teachers as possible, as models and to trial the material we produced. Finally, we made sure we used several different studios for our shoots. We want you to see lots of bodies of all sizes and ages using lots of ropes set ups, to inspire you to come as you are to this transformative practice.
We know that there are many slight differences in the ways the ropes are attached to walls, in the lengths of the ropes, and in the setups of the places where you practice. We encourage you to adapt and modify safely to make our methods work for your body in your situation. In the book we include explanations of common ropes ties and terms we use. We also show a number of different set ups, and point you towards how to set up your own ropes wall. We also know that many of the variations we practice have no real names in the rest of the world, or have confusing names that are not shared by every teacher. You will notice that we’ve given a few poses or variations new nicknames that make sense to us, like Cowboy and Lollipop, while most have their familiar Sanskrit names, like Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana.
When we were deciding what to include in the book, early on we agreed to focus on the Iyengar Introductory 1 and 2 syllabi. There are some poses from later syllabi, but the bulk of the book should give you a solid grasp of ways to use the wall ropes in these foundational poses. We have also put groups of poses together in order, like rope vinyasas, which we refer to in this book as cycles.
One characteristic we all share is our great love for practicing on the wall ropes. Most of us are Iyengar students and teachers, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to B. K. S. Iyengar, Dr. Geeta Iyengar, the Iyengar family, and our individual teachers who shared their knowledge with us. Some of the people you’ll see in these pages practice other styles of yoga as well as the Iyengar wall ropes, and they appreciate the way our precision and creativity nourish their practices. We all hope our work will be helpful and inspirational for you and your practice.
The Boston Yoga Ropes Collective—Tristan Boyer Binns, Donna Gross Javel, Val Leiter, Greg Sullivan, Pam Toomey, Boston 2019