It has taken me a few years to get rope wall installation done to Iyengar specifications and in a way that is structurally sound. This posting is about what I have learned about installing a rope wall, the materials required, and to get it done safely and sustainably.
First is the location of the rope wall. You need enough space to do a pose without impediments. Consider walls, furniture, and height of the ceiling. I like space when practicing yoga and not a confined area.
When installing a rope wall bear in mind that most studs are 16″ on center. Iyengar calls for the ropes to be 18″ apart- from what I have read from reliable resources. Sixteen inches works, and for many people who do not have a large frame like I do may be adequate. I have also learned that most people prefer to pose against a finished wood wall instead of painted plaster- I am one of those people. A big advantage with using hardwood plywood, 3/4″ is what I recommend, is that it can be sanded smooth and finished in a water based poly or shellac. It can also be built a couple inches out from the wall so supports at the correct width can be secured for the rope eye bolts.
The eye bolts you use for the rope wall are critical. Avoid getting them too big or too small. Even with my large body frame a 7/16″ lag bolt works well, as long as the eye is large enough to accept the rope. You need to drill a hole large enough to let the eye bolt enter the stud without cracking it, but not so big that it may strip out. This is another reason I like to build out the rope wall from the existing wall- I can have the 2×4 secured sideways and a 3/4″ piece of plywood distributing the stress. This makes the wall act as a unit and not relying on a couple studs in the existing wall.
The ropes for the rope wall can be purchased at your local hardware store or kits can be ordered online. The knots are not difficult to tie (I use knots every day) but it looks complicated. Find a good 1/2″ braided nylon rope, heat the ends so they do not unravel (you can also use tape), and practice the knot a few times. Start with Iyengar specifications (I will post them soon) and adjust to suit your body style.
Having the ropes at the correct width, being able to use a nice finished surface for your poses, and the extra security offered by the plywood and secured studs makes building your rope wall out a few inches worth the effort and cost.The plywood and supports add about $250 to the installation of a rope wall when I do it. I usually charge $150 for a basic installation (including materials), but with a drill, tape measure, and screwdriver anyone can install a rope wall.
Practice safe and enjoy your rope wall!