Yoga props are nice, but not necessary. Think of yoga as a gift you can give yourself anytime and anyplace. On the other hand, props can help. They give you more stability and a wider range of motion. You can safely position your body to start working on more advanced poses instead of just looking at them in a book.
There are two options for acquiring your props. You can buy them if you find they give you more effective results or you just like the look and feel of them. You can also find free substitutes for just about any prop by using common items you probably have lying around your house. Take a look at the ideas for props you may want to add to your practice.
Practicing yoga at home is a great way to work out and reduce stress. The poses tone your body and calm your mind.
If you had been going to your local studio, you may miss the shelves and closets full of props. If you’re a beginner, you may be unsure about how to use props because many videos and books leave this topic out.
Unlike training wheels that you remove once you learn to ride a bike, yoga props are beneficial at any stage in your practice. They make many poses safer and more accessible.
Props are convenient too. You can use many objects you already have lying around your house, and the rest are usually inexpensive to buy online.
Learn more about what accessories are appropriate for you. Study this quick guide to yoga props.
Benefits of Yoga Props
- Prevent injuries. Easing into poses gradually helps you to avoid overstretching your muscles or putting too much pressure on your joints. Let props do some of the work for you, especially if you’re older or disabled.
- Enjoy greater comfort. Yoga is meant to feel good. Giving your body a little extra support allows you to relax and focus on your breath.
- Advance your practice. Props help you to accomplish more. You can hold poses longer and work your way up to mastering more challenging movements.
Using Blocks and Straps
- Extend your range. Do you find yourself struggling to touch the floor or clasp your hand around your foot? Blocks and straps shorten the distance you need to travel while you work on becoming more flexible.
- Adjust as needed. While you may have to replace your running shoes after 6 months, most yoga props last for years. As you progress, you can use a single block instead of two or switch the angle from vertical to horizontal to make it lower. Similarly, straps can be used in a variety of ways.
- Substitute books and belts. Re purposing household items saves you money and reduces your environmental impact. Books and belts may be adequate for your purposes.
Using Bolsters, Blankets and Pillows
- Take your seat. Using a chair tightens your hips and knees but sitting correctly on the floor loosens you up. Adding a little support under your tailbone and knees may help you get started with many sitting poses.
- Support your neck. Simple precautions will lower your risk for hyper extending your neck. Ask a certified instructor to show you how to use blankets and correct alignment in shoulder stands and similar movements.
- Warm up. The final moments of a yoga session when you’re lying on the floor are an essential part of your practice. Covering yourself with a blanket slows down the cooling-off process so you can enjoy the changes that yoga makes in your body and mind.
- Straighten up. An easy way to check your alignment in many poses is to press your back against a wall. You’ll feel what it’s like to target the correct muscles, and you’ll protect your lower back from injury.
- Add resistance. Pressing your hand or foot against a wall creates pressure that makes stretches more effective. Pulling against a strap works too.
- Increase your balance. If you’re a little unsteady on your feet, use a wall to keep you safe. Leaning against a wall is one way to keep from falling down.
Basic Yoga Props
- 1. Select a mat. A sticky mat cushion your bones and joints and prevents you from sliding around on slippery wood floors. Inexpensive mild soap or diluted vinegar will clean your mat just as well as fancy commercial formulas.
- 2. Grab a strap. Until your hands reach your feet in certain poses, you can use straps to hold on. Belts and towels may be sufficient, or you may want sturdier and more elastic yoga straps.
- 3. Extend with blocks. Blocks lift your buttocks and bring your hands closer to the floor while you’re working on your flexibility. Books and folded blankets can sometimes stand in for wooden or foam blocks.
- 4. Relax with bolsters. Bolsters cushion your head, back, and other body parts. Regular pillows work too.
- 5. Towel off. Any towel can wipe off sweat. Yoga towels are worth the investment if you use them to cover your mat and give you more traction.
- 6. Pack a bag. Mats are bulky. A bag or strap is a convenient way to carry them over your shoulder.
- 7. Carry a water bottle. One item you want in your bag is a water bottle. Remember to drink before you become thirsty.
More Unusual Yoga Props
- 1. Clear off a wall. Plain old walls are some of the most versatile and valuable yoga props. They can support you while you’re mastering a headstand or relaxing on your back with your legs up. Pick a surface that cleans easily if you want to avoid hand and foot prints.
- 2. Apply eye pillows. Dissolve stress and soothe tired eyes with a couple of eye pillows. Warm them or cool them according to your preference.
- 3. Wear sleeves. Are you struggling with arm balances? Buy sticky sleeves that give your triceps a stronger grip or make your own out of Velcro strips.
- 4. Roll around. Some yoga students love the foam rollers that physical therapists have used for years. They loosen tight muscles and speed up recovery from minor injuries.
- 5. Sprinkle salt. You’ve probably noticed that new yoga mats tend to be slippery. They usually become more comfortable with use or you can speed up the process by rubbing them with a little salt or leaving them in the sun.
- 6. Fly on a trapeze. Maybe you’re intrigued by the new aerial yoga studios where students are strapped into swings attached to the ceiling. If you install the gear at home, hire a contractor to be safe.
Enjoy your home yoga practice by making props a regular part of your routine. Blocks, straps, and other accessories help you to perform poses safely and more completely so you can enjoy the full benefits.
All you need is your body and a desire to practice. If you choose to use props, you’ll find many ways to accelerate your progress and go deeper into the poses so you can enjoy greater physical fitness and inner peace.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this post or this site in general.
I will answer all the comments on my website personally so drop me a line below if you have any Yoga questions or comments.
I’m happy to help any way that I can.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietitian before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.