Designing Props for Yoga


Alexandra Bernard

The purpose of our yoga prop is to aid users in going up into handstands as well as other yoga poses. Our final prototype is on a one fourth scale. This prop features three hinges, which allows for the ladder to be locked in five different useful positions. Each of these positions assist with separate yoga poses and allow for the ladder to be adjusted based on one’s height. In order to use this prop a hook system is required on the wall. This wall hook system is set for the three different heights needed for the four ladder positions requiring wall support; the fifth ladder position is free standing. Our final prototype also features a shelf with indented handholds to help make this prop even more versatile and comfortable.


Amro Arida

Fearless Wall Process

Henry Hirshland

To start off the studio we began by spending a day understanding how the body functions in specefic relation to yoga poses.  Since my partners and I had a passion for headstands since day one, we were intrigued to develop a prop to help support this pose.  After brainstorming, we developed the idea of creating a wall that would offer varied amounts of support which can be set to the desired support depending on the confidence and ability of the user.

With this idea we began designing our first prototype.  This prototype was simply a wall pivoting on a box railing.  It worked with a spring system that was attached on top. While it did function, we found a few issues with this iteration.  One being that the box design was not very space efficient.  Plus, the spring system was set up in a way which did not allow for very smooth movement of the wall.  With these issues in mind, we began developing our second iteration.

For our next design, we combatted the problem of space efficieny  by creating an all new design which would enable users to utulize both sides of the prop and get the most out of their space.  Additionally, we added in additional features.  For example, on the back side we installed a ladder in the shape of a half circle.  We also switched out the spring system with a new rubber band system which enabled smooth movement and distinct varied support levels by simply adjusting the spacing of the bands.  

From this prototype, after constructing it and testing it, we made a few slight adjustments to produce our final prototype.  In this, we changed the railings from being semi-circles on both sides of the prop to a triangle on one side and semi-circles on the back side.  This created a more sleek design that would not appear as bulky, while continuing to offer the benefits from the back circular ladder. 

Moving forward, some major issues we will need to address at this point are the amount of support being offered by the different intervals available.  We will need to test this by measuring the amounts of force which can be applied to each stage, and how much the wall will give when force is being applied.  Also, we will need to incorperate a clean system for adjusting these intervals of support.  Currently, we have nails which the rubber bands hook into, but it would be nice to create a cleaner system which could consist of hooks along the railings, holes along the railings which the bands clip into, or different bands which have different tensions.

The Fearless Wall

Alex Volcy

The Fearless Wall Presentation. 

Final: Fearless Wall

Grady Newberg

The Fearless Wall is a prop used to focus on improving and mastering the art of perfectly balanced headstands/handstands. When attempting to learn these poses, most people will start by performing these poses against a wall for support. The difficult part once the user is able to do the pose is attempting to do the pose as it is supposed to be done without any support at all. This was the inspiration for the Fearless Wall: creating a device that would help teach people how to accomplish a headstand/handstand without wall support.

The Fearless Wall is designed to gradually help the user become more and more comfortable balancing their own bodyweight in an impressively difficult position by not needing the support of a wall for the pose. The Fearless Wall does this by giving an amount of resistance required for the user to be able to hold the pose. For example, if the user has trouble balancing in a headstand, the Fearless Wall will give a lot of resistace, acting somewhat like an ordinary wall so the user does not fall over. However, if the user is skilled in ballancing upside-down, the Fearless Wall gives little resistance, meaning if the user bumps into the wall, it will bend depending on the amount of resistance to which the user sets it. This flexible mechanism allows the user to be able to gradually teach themselves to position their bodies in the pose without much help from a wall, until finally they are able to get into the headstand/handstand without the assistance of any prop.

Process: Fearless Wall Add-On

Alex Volcy

Initial Idea + Inspiration:

In addition to the main piece of the Fearless Wall, an add-on piece was created for the purpose of being able to the lock the user's elbows from going out further which is critical when performing headstand poses. We drew inspiration from when peforming these headstands, the group quickly realized that our elbows would gradually turn out, which is something you want to prevent when performing the pose. That is why we set out to create a device that prevented just that. 

First Prototype:

The way we went about creating the first prototype was to make two large blocks that would be running across a bar. The purpose of this design choice was it was hoped that the blocks would be able to lock in place and also be adjustable, thus allowing it to able to be used by a wider range of people.

Correcting Mistakes: 

After the first prototype of the add-on at 1/4 scale was created, many flaws were quickly arose. For one, the add-on didn't have any way for the blocks to lock into place, thus when the user made contact with the blocks, they would immentiely move out of place, throwing them off balance and defeating the purpose of the add-on. Secondly the entire notch and ridges system that was used to put the add-on together were all off, causing the entire device to look rough, unprofessional, and just slopply. And finally it was noticed that having the rod run through the middle of the blocks didn't allow a lot of the acutal block itself to be used for arm space, meaning that in the next prototype that was something that needed to be fixed.

Second Prototype: 

In the second prototype, most of the issues that were present in the first prototype were completely fixed. The blocks were now able to lock in place thanks to the notches along the bar that in conjunction with nothces that are on the outsides of the blocks, allow for the blocks to sit snug within the add-on. Also the notches themselves were improved across the entire piece, which allowed for the overall design of the device to look a lot cleaner. And finally the placement of the hole on the outsides of the blocks were moved from being in the middle to the back of. Which allowed for the majority of the blocks to be used for the acutal headstand.

Final Prototype:

For the final prototype of the add-on, there were three things that were accomplished. One, the add-on's native size was increased to insure that it would accomodate a user of any size. Another difference was that the prototype itself was created on a 1/2 scale instead of a 1/4. And finally we wanted to add another facet to the add-on that would just allow for more poses to be used in conjunction with the device. This came in the form of hand hold pieces that would be used in a formarm pose. In this pose it is important to keep your hands stable to properly execute the yoga pose. This is what the handhold pieces had accomplished. 

And with that final prototype being achieved, the overall add-on had been completed. 


Marla Perelmuter

The Yoga Spider is a stable structure for yoga that can be utilized but not only one person but a whole class. It is a free standing unit that has a great amount of spots to stretch and add attachments. With a ring on top, the two rings placed around the legs, and feet attached to the bottom this final model is extremely secure. It was imperative that our final design was as steady as possibly because when used to it's fullest potential this stucture would have to hold the full weight of one (or more) people. We also added as many circles possible throughout the structure to ensure enough options of places where bands, ropes, handles etc. could be tied. The legs and rings are also spaced at an approprotate distance from each other so that when the attachments are tied on you can utilize all areas of the structure (inside and out). The bottom ring is also placed in a perfect spot to place your legs. We also have enough spots to tie attachents for a whole yoga class to have a band tied to the outer edge. If built to full scale this would be 7 feet tall. Another great aspect of the yoga spider is that is is easy to store. Not only can you keep this in a studio as it is, but all the pieces are able to easily detach frm one another and can be stored in a closet or rested against a wall. Overall, this Yoga Spider is very useful and would be great to have while doing yoga!

Final: Fearless Wall Arm Add On

John Caruso

After a tedious amount of prototypes, the arm piece add on is fully functional and robust. The arm add on consists of two large wooden rectangular boxes that lock into different postions on a bar. It is designed to help the user keep their elbows tucked in when doing a headstand with the fearless wall. It also comes equipped with two hand pieces to help give the user support when doing a handstand with the fearless wall. The inspiration behind this was when our group did a handstand and headstand in a yoga class, and the instructor pointed out how our elbows weren't tucked in which flawed our technique. The most evident problem of project was how the ridges on each box weren't fitting snuggly into the notches on the bar. However, this problem was fixed in the end resulting in the ridges on the two supporters fitting into the notches on the bar perfectly, along with the elbow supporters being able to be adjusted according to the users preference, while still maintaining the stability of the tool. The hand pieces were sucessfully implement onto the main bar so that the user could choose to have the hand pieces for support with the head/handstand, or remove them and have only the elbow supports. The finished product is in half scale and is able to be used with the main wall piece when in full scale.


Mariamawit Loulseged

Brainstorming for the Problem: 

     Our project began with tackling the problem of yoga studios not having the best yoga props to assist further extensions or progression in a particular yoga pose. We attended a yoga class and understood how the body, muscles and forces work in certain yoga poses. At first, we believed that a yoga box would be the best because it would assist the person while trying to extend and stretch their body while also being used in the yoga classroom for multiple people. As seen  in the sketches, the yoga box would contain props on the side that could be used for different functions. For example, a yoga band could be attached on the corner of the ceiling in order to help the person stretch from an elevated source. We also created the idea of inserting holes or slits on the sides of the walls in order to allow props to be attached to those walls. We thought this was a very clever idea that could be tangible and very helpful  in the yoga studio.

Ideas in Action:

      After the creation of our first prototype using the 3D software Rhino we were critiqued and given ideas about how we could improve our product. While creating our product on rhino we made it to a 1/8th scale and later realized that in real life it would be too large. Realistically, the yoga box would be a yoga "room" and the other issue was the lack of focus on a certain type of yoga pose. We simply had too much going on with all the poses, assistance and props.

New Addtions:

     We decided that we would stick to the standing poses and the extension of those muscles when using our prop. This lead us to creating the yoga spider. We deviated from the box form and decided the dome form with holes would be the best. The extra application side for attachment of props and a full 360 degree of use. After sketching and creating certain props we realized our greatest challenge was stability. Therefore, we moved the one ring at the top to the middle and added feet. We later realized that we needed two rings with notches and feet with notches. The addition of notches on the feet and the rings were the best adjustment we've made to our yoga spider prototype. It really tackled the issue of stability and allowed the overall prop to also be taken a part and stored easily. The addition of holes all around the two rings that spiral around the person using the prop added to more adjustment and mobility. These holes give the person more options for areas of extension and stretching. After, the issue of stability was tackled we also realized the ring at the top was essential and shouldn't be taken out because it holds the three legs together. Therefore, we also implemented notches and another hole in the top ring that allows the person to also attach another prop.

What We Learned: 

     Overall we were happy with our final piece and the numerous challenges we overcame! We came a long way from a box to a spider. This studio taught us that it is important when making yoga props to focus it on a certain type of move or position because it guarantees more use and increases the value of the product. If we were to continue with this project we would implement some type of stable platform that comes with the prop in order to enhance the stability of the actual standing yoga spider when one is pulling away to extend their muscles. 

"Product Launch" and 2013 Finale at NuVu

Coach Andrew and his students finished their two-week studio. The first students presented the final prototypes of their Yoga Props. Presentations will be continued on Monday; January 6th.