Get Your Prop On!
The use of props during a yoga practice has always been a topic of yogic discussion. Introduced to modern yoga by BKS Iyengar, props were traditionally utilized to add support. Today various types of props can we seen in almost every studio across the country, such as:
- Yoga Mats
- Yoga Blocks
- Eye Pillows (sometimes with essential oil for aromatherapy)
- Yoga Towels (popular in Bikram, or Hot Yoga)
- Yoga Chairs
- Yoga Trapezes
Some classes, such as Restorative or Yin, practice exclusively with multiple props to encourage complete support and relaxation. Yoga props, tools, toys, whatever you label them, all have one characteristic in common and that is to create a stable foundation.
For those who believe using props are for the weak or for beginners forget that they use a prop every time they practice: their yoga mat.
Although the yoga mat may be the first and most popular of yoga props, blocks, bolsters/blankets and straps are now becoming as mainstream as yoga itself. From a beginner’s standpoint, props can alleviate physical strain, reduce fear and even develop a sense of confidence at the start of their yoga journey. For those who have been practicing longer may also see a benefit to incorporating props into their yoga by getting deeper into an pose (asana) or exploring a new pose all together. By definition, yoga is the unification of the mind and the body, and anything that enhances our mind-body union should be appreciated, even the yoga prop.
Your Practice, Your Props
Similar to the yoga mat, the yoga prop industry has grown exponentially. There are now hundreds of companies making thousands of props each year, thus making the decision-making process just as overwhelming. As enlightened yogis, we know that there is no wrong way to practice yoga, just like there is no wrong prop to use. Personal preference should be the determining factor when practicing with props. One may prefer the sturdiness to a cork block, while another may enjoy the comfort provided by a foam block, and none of them are wrong. The best part about using yoga props is discovering what works for YOUR body, because no one else can tell you what feels right for YOU.
From the most strong and flexible to the least, a strategically positioned yoga prop has the ability to elevate the physical and spiritual experiences of a yoga practice.
Your usage of props is as special and unique as your yoga practice. So, next time you are practicing at home, or in a studio, try adding a new prop and see what unfolds!