All of the fitness centers, yoga studios and the like are closed, and may be for awhile longer. This has forced people to tackle their wellness completely at home. Many instructors and coaches have moved to an online platform (myself included), which has both pros and cons. One con I didn’t mention in last week’s post is the lack of props.
Why do we need props? Sure, classes can be done without props, but they do provide many benefits:
- Assist with relaxation
- Help with alignment (especially if there are physical limitations)
- Provide support
- Deepen stretch
- Prevent injuries
- Change in perspective
There is a bit of stigma attached to props and I don’t understand why; I’ve always been an advocate for the use of props. In my in-person classes, I encourage students to grab all of the props available, because even if I don’t have a specific use for one, the student may find it helpful. Props allow you to customize your practice to YOU!
If you’re committed to your at-home yoga practice, I encourage to purchase some props. Most props are pretty inexpensive. If you’re not ready or able to get the real things, I’ll give you some ideas of items you already have that can be used as a substitute.
I like to use two blocks in my classes, one for each hand. Some poses these can really come in handy for are runner’s lunge, warrior 3, camel. Blocks can also make it easier to step a foot in between your hands from your downward dog. If you don’t have blocks, you can also use a stack of books. You may want to tie them together so they don’t slip.
Straps can act as an extension of your arm. Can’t touch your toes in a seated forward fold? Use a strap! Can’t connect your hands for a bind? Use a strap. I think you get where this is going. I hear over and over, “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” Which is absolutely crazy! How are you ever going to get flexible enough without doing the very poses that will help your flexibility? No strap? No problem! Use a belt, rope or tie!
The ultimate comfort prop? A bolster. I often incorporate the use of a bolster in my yin, restorative, meditation and yoga nidra classes. Any time you’ll be holding a pose for a length of time, you’ll want a bolster to give you the support you need to be able to fully relax. Place it under your knees during savasana to support the low back, under your head/chest/stomach in child’s pose to relax the upper body or under your forearms in puppy pose to deepen the stretch of the shoulders. Bolsters can differ greatly: soft or firm, rectangular or round, short or long. Pick which one fits your needs best! Bolsters can be a bit more pricey than other yoga props, so if you aren’t ready to purchase one, use a firm pillow or cushion instead.
Comment below with your favorite yoga prop, purchased or a creative substitute. If you have any questions or want help selected the best props for you, let me know!