Many yoga students forego using props for several reasons. Perhaps the plethora of yoga props to choose from can feel overwhelming or intimidating. On the other hand, there might be the belief that they aren’t necessary. We might tell ourselves stories that yoga props are only for beginners or only needed in specific yoga classes, such as Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Chair Yoga. However, even the most seasoned yoga practitioner can benefit from the support of yoga props. Props are essential items that can benefit everybody and can make all types of yoga sessions easier and more effective, including Vinyasa. Not only does the right yoga equipment increase the accessibility of yoga postures, but they also reduce the risk of injury.
Since Practyce offers a library of online yoga classes you can take anywhere and any time, we wanted to support you with a breakdown of yoga gear you might want to lean on and have nearby. Read on for five yoga gear essentials, plus how and when to use them.
1. Yoga Blanket
Not just for warmth, a yoga blanket is one of the most versatile props to help you mind the gap. It can easily be rolled up or folded to cushion certain poses, such as salamba sarvangasana, or shoulder stand. We love to use the yoga blanket to support the neck whenever we lay down for savasana or restorative yoga poses. For yogis with sensitive knees, a yoga blanket provides the right amount of cushioning without the bulk, especially in poses like anjaneyasana, or low lunge. Because of its weight and malleability, the yoga blanket also provides stability for seated yoga poses, like virasana (hero pose), supporting your back as your flexibility progresses.
2. Yoga Bolster
A yoga bolster is a thick, firmer cushion that can truly enhance your practice, especially for restorative poses like balasana, or child’s pose. While child’s pose is often used as a resting pose, sometimes you might struggle to relax into this seemingly easy yoga pose. A yoga bolster will provide firm yet comfortable support to encourage full-body release and relaxation. A yoga bolster is often the best friend for Yin Yoga practice, as each yoga posture is held longer to allow the body to open and release tension. Next time, as you finish your practice in savasana, place a yoga bolster underneath the knees for extra support as you drift consciously into savasana bliss.
3. Yoga Block
Yoga blocks are another versatile essential, and you might even want to have two nearby. Standing poses like utanasana, or standing forward fold, can be challenging for yogis with tight hamstrings. If you find yourself reaching for the ground with your fingertips in standing forward fold poses, placing yoga blocks underneath your hands can help bring the ground closer and make poses more accessible. In advanced standing poses like trikonasana, or triangle pose, yoga blocks can also help you balance with ease. Without the feeling of falling over, even the most seasoned yogis can benefit from the support of yoga blocks in this pose. If you have tight hips and/or experience discomfort in seated poses, placing a block underneath your bum to elevate the hips creates more room for the knees and ankles. Yoga blocks also offer stability and can turn active poses into resting poses, for instance setu bandha sarvangasana, or bridge pose.
4. Yoga Strap
Suppose your arms are longer for a hand-binding or hand-to-foot yoga pose; in that case, a yoga strap helps you reach challenging poses such as dancer pose (natarajasana) and extended hand-to-big-toe pose (utthita hasta padangusthasana). Yoga straps around the feet are a great way to maintain neutral hips and spine in a yoga posture, allowing you to focus on the stretch to open the hips and hamstrings. No matter your level of experience, yoga straps can help you increase your range of motion, ease tension, and bring the body into proper alignment as you practice a wide range of yoga poses.
Correct placement of sandbags on the body in Yin or Restorative Yoga poses can stimulate deep therapeutic touch, the kind of hands-on pressure that relieves anxiety, tension, and stress that accumulates in our bodies. Sandbags provide a little added weight to help the body create a calm and relaxed feeling. They allow yoga practitioners to go deeper into the stretch or settle into a yoga pose.
What is your go-to yoga prop? Let us know in the comments below!
By Practyce Team
May 17, 2022