Today I’d like to give some insight into the makings of a yoga pose. It’s not always possible to do certain poses straight away, some require a lot of flexibility and openness in different places that not everyone has. But don’t worry! Flexibility comes with practice, not just naturally. Yoga props will help you work on your flexibility and form while helping you modify poses you’re not able to do alone yet.
Naturally, a yoga mat is a massive prop for yoga. For me, I love my yoga mat. I’ve had it for years and have used it for other fitness things besides yoga (I actually need to get a new one soon, my current one is showing its age) but it is very useful. I don’t know about you, but in my house, pretty much all the floor is wood/ hard floor. So, with things like downward dog or plank etc, I can be on my bare hands and feet and I’m okay. However, I’ve tried doing a supported headstand on my hard floor and, it’s possible, but it’s kinda uncomfortable for my forearms. So, a mat is definitely a good idea for a little cushion for your forearms, knees, back or any other areas you may experience pain/ discomfort. Also, it’s possible, in having a busy life and possibly busy home, having a mat can be ‘your’ space. Roll it out, sit on it, get in the zone. Your mat is your space. Having this sanctuary on the mat really can help you meditate, concentrate, and get the most out of your practice.
For poses like bow, dancer’s, sugarcane and more, openness in the shoulders, chest, and hips is ideal and necessary to be able to grab your feet. However, if you are unable to do that, with a yoga strap these poses are still achievable. You can use the strap to make a connection between your foot and your hand. You’ll make a loop with the strap and get your foot in the loop and that way you can hold onto the end of the strap or move your hands closer to your foot depending on your flexibility. If you don’t have a yoga strap, again, that’s fine! You can use a towel, a belt, a scarf, I’ve even used a pair of leggings to loop around my foot and hold up! It’s all good, just use what you have, there’s no judgment here.
This prop isn’t a necessity, and may not help in a large variety of poses. HOWEVER, it is really good to incorporate into your workouts. You can get a good core workout from being in plank with your legs on top of it and rolling your feet over it in and out like a crunch. It can also help you achieve deep backbends for poses like king pigeon pose (Kapotasana.) It will help support your back and take the stress allowing you to relax into the pose building strength and flexibility in it. This is what I’ve done in the picture below, my back is supported, my shoulders and chest are being opened but I don’t have the weight of my body making the pose more difficult because the wheel is taking my weight. I was able to relax into this pose and breathe into the stretch.
Yoga blocks are big-ish blocks that can help you achieve certain poses where you’re still developing openness/ flexibility. For half-moon pose, for example, it may be too difficult to reach the floor while keeping good form. Here you can place a block under your hand to allow you to still have that support that you would get from the floor while having good form. If you don’t have the budget for buying some blocks, don’t worry, you can use a big book a footstool or whatever you have to hand.
As I mentioned in my post “Which kind of yoga is for you?”, Restorative yoga uses props in it too. I touched on what bolsters can do to help, click here if you’d like to read “Which kind of yoga is for you?“.
You don’t necessarily need to buy a ‘yoga’ blanket. If you have a blanket that you like at home, that will do. You can use it to support your back in savasana, keep warm in savasana or roll it up as a makeshift bolster.
I hope this has helped you learn a bit more about yoga props, and if you’d like to purchase any of them, Amazon does offer a wide range of props to suit different budgets, so you won’t have to spend a lot, but if you can/ want to, the option is also there. And as I said, you don’t always need to buy props if you don’t have the money, or don’t want to commit to buying stuff yet, just be creative with what you’ve got around the house!
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Thanks for reading,