It’s no secret that we are pretty obsessed with yoga props. Blocks, straps, blankets….we love them all! And our love runs DEEP because we believe that props will enhance your yoga practice no matter what ‘level’ practitioner you are. But, so often we hear teachers expressing concern that students avoid yoga props because they feel it somehow constitutes ‘cheating’. This couldn’t be further from the truth – there is no such thing as cheating in yoga!! It’s all about using props to modify poses to suit your body….your needs….and your mood. So – here’s why we think you should always have your props within reach during practice.
Props help you work your way into poses step by step. We are all so impatient in this day and age – we are craving instant gratification and a lot of times forget that results are achieved through hard work and patience. You see a fancy pose on Instagram…or go to class and notice other students getting into poses you can’t……and force your body into the pose by skipping the process building up to it. That competitive voice takes over reasonable thought! The result is an injury that could have been avoided. Here’s where those blocks, straps and blankets become essential. Bring the floor closer to you by using a block….grab the strap to bring your foot within reach….use the blanket to support your hip….and create the space your body needs to settle into a pose. As your practice progresses, your muscles strengthen and your flexibility improves, you can continue to modify how you use your props. Start with the block on the highest setting…and then adjust downwards. Give yourself a generous amount of strap until you feel ready to shorten it. Start with 2 or 3 blankets piled on top of each other…and remove one when you’re ready. The purpose of props is to support your practice continuously – step by step – so you can avoid injury and practice for a lifetime.
You may have read the last paragraph and thought it only applies to ‘beginners’. We couldn’t disagree more. Our bodies are all different and some yogis were just born with more mobility – or grew up participating in dance or athletics. Even if you are naturally flexible and can reach your feet easily….or fold towards the ground….or get into the splits…….using a prop can entirely change your experience in a pose. It can help you activate muscles you hadn’t used before and bring a new experience to your practice. Don’t forget – too much flexibility can also be dangerous – your body can fall out of the correct alignment for the pose because it feels easy. That’s where those props come in – reminding you to check in with the correct alignment in those poses. The reoccurring theme in all of this is to avoid injury!
Finally, I want to take a moment to highlight the use of props in my favorite area of yoga – a restorative pose!!! Many a time you will find me sprawled over my blocks in a back bend or taking savasana under my cozy blanket. Yoga is also supposed to FEEL GOOD and props are essential in supporting your body and guiding you into a state of relaxation. They allow you to BREATHE instead of tighten and strain (let’s not forget a big part of yoga is to find your breath!).
So – we love props. And we decided to make them bright and fun and cover them with prints to tempt you to start using them. So go for it – grab the heart print block for your triangle pose. Or the arrow print strap to reach your feet in a seated forward bend. Try it and feel the difference. We think once you start using props, you will never want to practice without them again!!!!
Yoga Hustle xx
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