Get the Most Out of Yoga With Yoga Props
Aside from a good mat and comfortable fitting clothing there are other yoga props that can really help your yoga practice so that over time you can improve core strength and flexibility through better alignment. I often use these props in my classes (and they’re not always optional).
Sometimes students can feel like they’re cheating or not mastering the pose as well as they should if they need to use a prop. That really isn’t the case. We are a predominantly sedentary society which means that our bodies are not predisposed for many of the yoga positions which require standing, balancing or sitting cross legged for any length of time. Use of the yoga props means that over time your body can be retrained to find comfort in poses that were not available or comfortable to begin with, usually providing you with a greater mastery over the pose than someone who has rushed in without any assistance. Alignment is fundamental to any yoga practice and yoga props can help us achieve just that.
Yoga Block and Bricks:
Blocks and bricks are my ‘go to’ yoga accessory, helping with alignment and comfort. Bricks are great for standing poses when your hands don’t reach the floor or for providing additional support when balancing and blocks are fantastic for seated poses (and there are quite a lot of those so it’s nice to be comfortable!).
I recommend having two bricks (that are equal in size) and 1 block for use as a regular part of your practice.
The Yoga Strap:
The yoga strap is excellent for bound poses when your hands don’t reach each other (and don’t look like they’re likely to anytime soon). Straps are also great when a pose calls for you to hold your feet but you can’t reach them. The length of your limbs can be a big determining factor in whether or not you use yoga props in your practice.
The Yoga Blanket:
A blanket is a fantastic and inexpensive yoga accessory. They can be used to provided extra padding when seated, kneeling or practicing inversions like headstands. Additionally they’re great during savasana (relaxation) as your body temperature can drop when you’re lying down.
You can buy some really beautiful yoga blankets online and they can range from £15 – £140 (depending on the retailer). However, I prefer to get mine from IKEA, just as cosy and far cheaper at £3.50 per blanket.
The Yoga Bolster:
You are likely to use the bolster most sparingly of all your yoga props. The boster is a large side body pillow used to provide additional support in poses and is typically used in restorative yoga. I love the bolster (and whilst love is a strong word, it is the right word) and will often use it as part of the wind down sections of my classes so that students can fully surrender to each pose knowing that they are supported by the bolster.
The yoga bolster is however the most costly of all of the yoga props averaging between £20 – £60, it is worth it but I would hold off purchasing one until you’re sure that yoga is a regular practice for you.
I’d recommend using props for anyone new to yoga, in fact, scrap that! I’d recommend using props to anyone practicing yoga. Not only can they be use to modify poses but they can also be used to progress them, taking you further into your practice.
There are loads of online yoga prop retailers with Amazon and Yogamatters standing out for their great selections (that are budget friendly too):
My article Preparing for your first yoga class may also be of interest.