Yoga practice is exactly that, a practice. Whether you are an advanced yogi that can balance on your head or trying yoga for the very first time, it’s time to recognize that yoga props are your best friend. Your mat is there to ground you to the Earth, blocks are an extension of your hands, foam wedges to support your back, blankets to lock in warmth, and straps to elongate your arms and legs.Yes, you can practice yoga anywhere with your own body but these tools will assist you into deeper flexibility and strength. Believe me, it is much better to have blocks to rest your hands on instead of pulling or tearing a hamstring muscle in runner’s lunge pose.
Help you to support yourself during your yoga practice. Yoga props are available at every studio and cheap to purchase for your home. When I went to my teacher training program we were required to grab props to have at our mats before each sadhana or practice. I held a bit of an ego thinking that my years of experience without props meant I didn’t need them. But, I would respect my mentors and I would use the props. To my surprise, I did need the props! They were extremely useful and I ended up getting a way better work out. With the props, I was able to move and stretch more comfortably and enjoyably without over exerting and injuring myself.
Never feel embarrassed to grab some props before class starts. You will not regret the amazing workout you get from having that necessary support. Most yoga teachers will recommend grabbing props and they are not looking at you as a beginner, out of shape, or old…they genuinely know that the props offer a better stretch. I find that even with my experience practicing yoga, I need blocks when my muscles are tight or if I haven’t stretched in a while. Also, there are some days that I just don’t feel as flexible as usual.
I feel that cork or foam blocks work best, they give extra cushion. They also give a nice non-slip grip which is so important. I feel that the texture of your mat makes a huge difference during your practice. I was gifted a hand-me-down Jade yoga mat that has lasted me years and is still in great condition. Mat towels are nice to have if you are attending a hot yoga class or tend to break a nice sweat. It is very important that your hands and feet have a non-slip grip during practice because a little slip could lead to an injury.
Feel free to get creative with the use of props. Even if you are a super advanced yogi, try out some props and see how you can get even more creative with your practice. Props can even be used to make your yoga practice more complicated. If you have perfected your handstand, challenge yourself to hold that same handstand on top of two blocks! Have fun with your practice and always embrace your choice to utilize yoga props! Motivate other people in your class to use props to by making them look more comfortable and fun. Remember, yoga props are there for a reason!