above: Synapse in the “Andaman and Nicobar Islands”
Our longtime customer and friend Rose was one of the first folks to receive the Truckasana in exchange for feedback. Here’s our Q&A with Rose, in which we learn more about her Yoga journey.
TB CREW: The photos that you sent us of the Truckasana at the Adalaj Stepwell are stunning — can you share more with us about why you chose the location and about its history?
Rose: I chose the Adalaj Stepwell for two reasons: I wanted to share the ancient architecture of India and the roots of ancient Indian Yoga.
TB CREW: You’ve been a practitioner of yoga asana for over 13 years and you’re studying yogic philosophy, Ayurveda, and Sanskrit. Can you share more about your yoga journey with us? What inspired you to begin practicing yoga asana? How do your studies complement your asana practice or vice versa?
I started learning Yoga at the age of 19, but I didn’t develop a regular practice until 2014-2015. My first teachers were all Hatha Yoga — teaching traditional, classical, Hatha Yoga, so no props involved. I traveled to Rishikesh to do my teachers training in 2016 at an Ashram called “Himalayan Yog Ashram”.
I was extremely curious about the other Yoga style I saw — the one where they used props and alignments. I broke the rules and traditions in 2019 when I started learning Yoga which had ropes on the wall, chairs, belts, bricks, blankets and many more. Since my body was stiff, the props really helped in doing the asana in a comfortable way. For me, Yoga stopped being painful when it was done right, and the props helped with that.
Guruji B. K. S. Iyengar said it in one of the videos where he showed a statue of an ancient Yogi sitting in a posture: he brought Yoga and later props to America as well as India. Yoga can become a therapy if done right, and this style really helped me.
In regards to how my studies have complimented my practice —
The asanas are a part of the 8 limbs of Yoga. Yam Niyama Asana Pranayama dhyan Dharana Samadhi...
When Asana done just as an exercise, it’s not Yoga. I had to meditate in the Himalayan caves, meditate sitting in the Ganges and spend time with Yogis around the country in order to understand things and work on consciousness. There are different sects of Yogis, different schools and some of them astik (theist) and some of them nastik (atheist).
I visited Indus valley civilization (5000 years old), ancient Jain derasar temples and Buddhist monasteries to study the root of it and the similarities. So, more than theoretical, my practice needed to be practical.
History is also important to study. Sir John Woodroffe, a British supreme court judge during the British Raj in India, translated various texts from Sanskrit to English for the first time. The British were not happy because they had banned Yoga, art, medicine, dance forms and even textiles — to the extent where they cut hands and fingers off weavers. A lot of Yogis had to practice everything in secret to keep the traditions alive.
As far as Ayurveda — I have been learning Ayurveda and Yoga together because they always go hand in hand. And because I am Indian, I was taken by my grandmother to the old Ayurvedic doctors since I was a child.
TB CREW: In an Instagram post, you wrote that "There is no harm in doing what works the best for us.” and that using props in a yoga asana practice has improved your experience of yoga asana. Can you share more with us about that? And is there a particular asana in which the props made the most difference?
It is not just one or two asanas, but all asanas in which the props make it easier. I use the two bricks in the photos for prasarita padottanasana.
Since Iyengar Yoga is not like the other Yoga, we wear Iyengar Puna shorts and their tee shirts, which I keep in the other side of the bag.
In the past two months, I’ve started practicing an Indian classical dance called “Kathak” so I must carry my “Ghunghroo” with me. Ghunghroo are bells we use as instruments on our ankles. My Truckasana is perfect for my Ghunghroo when I go to the class: they are heavy, but the bag makes the load feel lighter.
TB CREW: You’re also committed to a sustainable, minimalist lifestyle — can you share more with us about that and what motivates you?
I started learning about the “low waste” movement 4 years ago. There was a minimalist trend on YouTube as well, and that’s how I came across TOM BIHN.
Different YouTubers talked about their own experiences with zero waste, low waste, minimalism, sustainable lifestyle; buying bags that last forever, so you only need to buy once, is part of that for me.
My Synapse backpack has been through places like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in ferries with other bags and there’s not a single scratch! Low waste and sustainable lifestyle people like me also appreciate water bottle pockets — we carry them everywhere so we can avoid plastic water bottles.
TOM BIHN bags are so good with organizing the things inside! It all fits properly. My mat does not slide an inch at all in Truckasana. Although, I do wish there was a bag out there which I don’t have to carry on one side and something I can carry on both sides like a backpack just so there is a balance, because I do have to shift it from one shoulder to another. I’m not sure if the next Yoga bag is a tote or a backpack. To be honest I have never seen anything like Truckasana, it’s brilliant. The science and design that went behind it is genius.
Our things always find a home in TOM BIHN bags, always find a special spot that fits in perfectly thanks to the designs. And whether I wear traditional Indian clothes or western clothes like leggings or dresses, my TOM BIHN bags always compliments my dress.
I got several messages online from people that they loved my TOM BIHN bags, and I get compliments from people at the cafes.
In India, we live with all the animals cows, monkeys (langur), dogs, elephants, camels... sometimes the animals can end up eating plastic waste, which is obviously terrible for them, and that’s one of the reasons I became low waste. Factories that throw away textile dye, harmful chemicals and plastic which go into the drinking water and environment was another motivator.
Here’s a list of what I carry regularly as part of my sustainable lifestyle:
If I’m going to a Yoga class, I add my props, and if I’m going to my Kathak class, I add Ghunghroo.