Depending on the style of yoga you do, you might already be familiar with the purpose of yoga props. If you haven’t yet had a class that allowed you to play with them, you really are missing out. Yoga props aren’t for everyone and they aren’t for every style of yoga; let’s see if yoga props are a good fit for you!
The Purpose of Yoga Props
There are a couple of general purposes of yoga props. Sometimes they are used for allowing better alignment in poses. For example, in Iyengar yoga there are a lot of yoga props used. Other times yoga props are used to help students relax into deeper poses. Restorative yoga uses many props and they are used for that reason. The third main reason yoga props are used is to allow for modifications to poses that may be difficult or otherwise impossible for certain body types. Let’s break down each of the main yoga props.
Yoga blocks are the main type of yoga prop used. The purpose for yoga blocks are vast. Like mentioned above, it depends on the style of yoga that is being performed. One of the main reasons blocks are used is because they allow student to reach the “ground” easier. There are a lot of poses that student have a hard time reaching the ground in but once they place a block down it is much more realistic and comfortable. Blocks are also used to help students align themselves better in poses, to sit on, to elevate other props, and even to balance on. Yoga blocks are used for just about anything. Don’t be offended if your instructor suggests that you use yoga props; especially blocks because it could be for so many reasons.
Yoga straps are used for multiple reasons as well. Most commonly they are used to help students extend their reach. Extended reach can help modify poses and even make up new ones. Yoga straps are also useful in restorative yoga. In restorative yoga they can be used to bind feet, legs, and more together. This allows for more relaxation in poses that require you to stay still but would require muscle tension to hold for long amounts of time. Yoga straps are also really good for stretching in general.
Yoga bolsters are good for relaxation and comfort. You might wish to try sitting on one next time you are meditating. The height allows a lot more comfort in most people’s knees. You can lay back on them in restorative yoga or in gentle Hatha yoga classes as well. In savasana you can place yoga bolsters behind your knees if you get a sore back whenever you are laying flat. Restorative yoga in general commonly uses bolsters for many of its poses.
Other Useful Yoga Props
There are so many yoga props that it is hard to get to them all. Other props include blankets, sandbags, wheels, the right active wear like athletic leggings, and more. Ask your yoga instructor if you can try out different yoga props during your next class if you think that any of them will be beneficial to you.