Yoga Kuruntha or Yoga Korunta is a series of poses practiced with the help of ropes on a wall. Kuruntha or korunta means puppetry in Sanskrit. The participant is suspended from the ropes just like a puppet. In various programs, you can become the puppet or the puppeteer by using the yoga ropes for resolute direction. The yoga rope wall was first refined and developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, derived from the ordinary Indian dwelling. Ordinary ropes were attached from typical window grills, allowing the practitioner to go deeper in different poses as they are being held by the ropes in suspension. According to Geeta S. Iyengar, the eldest daughter of B.K.S. Iyengar, a rope wall can be an ideal tool for participants who are weak, stiff or unable to perform certain traditional yoga poses independently. It eventually encourages students to go beyond beginner level yoga poses and pushes them to try the next set of asanas.
For people who do not have the time to go to yoga studios regularly, setting up an instrument at home has been common. There are different types of rope wall set up, ranging from inexpensive, basic eye screws that you could fit into a wall yourself, to more elaborate systems using ball and socket joints for easy attachment of the ropes. The eye screw set up is the easiest and cheapest to make. It uses 2-inch eye screws attached to the wall by drilling into wall studs. Without splitting the wood, the screw needs to be fixed into the very center of the stud, which can be very tricky for inexperienced individuals. It’s advisable then to get a professional worker to do the drilling.
Yoga Rope Wall Poses
1. Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
How to do it:
Start with three stacked blankets. If you find that you stand on the backside of your shoulders and upper back while in the pose, add another blanket or more. You should not be on the inner edges of your shoulders as well. It is very important to center yourself on the blankets and look gently toward your chest to avoid any neck injuries. Direct your eyes toward your chest to keep your neck soft and your pose calm. While using the rope to support you, you may work on outwardly rotating your upper arms and bringing your outer shoulders closer to each other while lifting tailbone, sides of the chest and the upper back away from the floor.
2. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
How to do it:
Place a lower rope behind your waist area and then kneel far enough away from the wall to create tension in the rope and bend backward. Let the rope hold your pelvis forward while gravity draws the portion above it backward into deep extension.
3. King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
How to do it:
From a kneeling position, step right foot forward and come into a deep lunging position. Squeeze the sides of your pelvis in toward your core and lift your lower abdominal area to remain balanced in the pose. Bend your back leg and place the loop of a rope around your left foot. Hold the end of the rope in both hands. Press the top of the left foot into the floor and lift both arms upward. Start bending your back leg. Walk your hands down the strap, then draw the foot in toward your head. Inhale and lift up through your chest when your hands come to your foot. Take your head back as you exhale. Stay in the pose for 10-30 seconds, maintaining your balance. Repeat on the other side.
4. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
How to do it:
Step inside the loop of the rope with your back to the wall. Hold the rope at about hip height. Forward fold over the strap, letting the padded rope press into your hip creases, taking your weight. Walk your hands toward downward facing dog and your feet back until your heels tap the wall and lift up. While allowing your rib basket to hammock down toward the ground, you may work with your knees bent or straight.
5. Hand to Big Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangustasana)
How to do it:
Stand facing the wall or ledge. Place your right heel up onto the ledge. The standing leg should be perpendicular to the floor. Make sure that your ankle is directly under your hip. Place your right foot between the ropes and hold the ropes with both hands. Keep your shoulders directly over your hips. Adjust your left foot so that it faces forwards. Completely straighten your standing leg. A bending knee indicates that the ledge is too high. Adjust the right hip so that it stays down, level to the left hip. This tends to lift up. Turn the front of your pelvis to face straight ahead. Pull with the rope against your foot and lift your chest and spine upwards.
Benefits of Rope Yoga
This rope wall can bring a fresh perspective to people’s understanding of the asanas, twists or inversions, from backbends to forward bends. The harness of the wall ropes in their many configurations will help practitioners direct their bodies and mind toward a state of balance and equanimity.
The body is mainly supported by the traction of the wall ropes, strengthening and stretching the areas of the spine that are hard to reach. In the book Yoga A Gem for Women, Geeta Iyengar recommends that some difficult asanas are practiced more safely with a rope wall.
Because the body is anchored with the feet and tethered by the wall ropes, some poses can be practiced for a longer period. This allows the practitioners to refine their breathing while going deeper into the experience of asanas. No wonder why it’s very beneficial to people with spinal malformations.
Expand movements and anchor poses. Practicing wall rope yoga continuously will provide increased mobility in the joints, simply because the body can move beyond the regular range of its everyday motions.
Wall rope yoga is generally nurturing and safe but remember to practice and learn it only under the supervision of an expert yoga practitioner. Just like all asana practices, it also requires steady, regular practice and patience to be sustainable in one’s life.