30 Reasons To Love (And Use) Your Yoga Props
By Julie Schoen
I have lots of rituals I do before teaching a yoga class, but one of my favorites happens just as students are coming in and setting up their mats. I am known in my area for my love of props (especially blocks and straps) in class, probably because most students meet me for the first time with an armful of yoga blocks, a basket of straps, and a giant stack of blankets. I love to greet students on their mats while handing them their personal arsenal of props that we will be using in class. Doing this helps me meet all of my students and gives them personal contact (especially important in big classes), but the other reason for doing this is incredibly practical:
If I don’t bring students their props they won’t go get them!
There is, unfortunately, still that stigma in our world that yoga props are for those who “can’t do” without. I will see students struggle and squirm in a difficult pose rather than using a prop to help them ease in.
Sthira Sukham people!
And while there are those few students who naturally have the body to perform certain poses without props, props aren’t used just as a tool in challenging poses. They are also essential for restorative poses, helping to support the body in order to deepen the experience of relaxation, and to help build strength and awareness in specific areas of the body, such as the inner thighs and shoulder girdle.
So before you become the poster child for the “I don’t need props” campaign, consider these 30 reasons to love and use your yoga props:
- How To Use Yoga Blocks: Video demonstration for using yoga blocks in Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) and Tolasana (Scale Pose)
- Why Use Yoga Props? An Iyengar explanation of why props are crucial for a yoga practice, especially if you think yoga is inaccessible for you
- Using Yoga Blocks For Passive Back Stretching: Short video demonstrating how to open and relax your back before or after your practice in two powerful restorative positions
- Quick Journey To Hanumanasana (The Splits): 12-minute video using a bolster and yoga blocks to work into Hanumanasana (Splits)
- Stack Your Shoulder Stand: Very detailed anatomical look at the benefits and necessity of using props like a yoga strap, several blankets, and a wedge in Shoulder Stand in order to align properly and avoid injury
- Q+A: How Can I Get More Out of My Yoga Practice by Using Props? Great Q&A article with Bethany Lyons about why everyone should use props, not just beginners
- Uplifting Heart-Opening Flow:A 35-minute Vinyasa yoga class geared towards opening the heart center with the help of yoga blocks
- Using Props in Yin Yoga: 45 minute video with Bernie Clark demonstrating how traditional yoga props are used in Yin Yoga to allow your body to relax and restore deeper, as well as how to use non-traditional props such as golf balls and dowels.
- Open Shoulders, Bigger Backbends: Awesome photo demonstration showing how a variety of yoga props (strap, blocks, blankets, chairs) can be used to achieve space in backbends, like the advanced pose Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two-Legged Inverted Staff Pose)
- Help For The Hamstrings: Helpful poses for increasing flexibility and range of motion in the hamstrings using a yoga strap and chair as aids
- Proper Props: A great article addressing the yoga sutras, the real reason for practicing yoga, and why using yoga props is essential with step-by-step instructions for propped poses
- Kathryn Budig Challenge Pose – Partridge Pose: Advanced posture broken down step by step with photos showing how the aid of a yoga strap can help achieve or work towards the final pose
- Yoga Hip Openers with Bolster: Video demonstration of how to use the aid of a ball and bolster to get deeper into the hips.
- Yoga Props Make Some Poses Possible: Video demonstration of how to use props in common poses to make them accessible for beginners or stiff bodies
- Iyengar Style Preparation To Hanumanasana: A great video and visual demonstration of ways to prepare the body for Hanumanasana (splits) using a yoga blanket and wall straps
- Using Props For Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose): Video demonstration of how to do the healing pose known as Viparita Karani with different variations and modifications using a yoga bolster, blanket, and strap
- Using a Yoga Strap for a Good Posture: Video demonstration of how to use a yoga strap around the shoulders to maintain good posture in day-to-day activities and yoga
- Props Are Friends: Learn how to “get a grip” on your yoga practice with the help of a fun yoga prop – the long wooden dowel
- Yoga with Props to Relieve Back Pain: Short video that demonstrates using a block in supported bridge for low back pain and a bolster to open your chest and shoulders
- Open to Change: Understanding how women can use restorative poses with props like yoga blocks, bolsters, and straps to ease the transition into menopause and post-menopause
- How to Loosen Up Tight Lats: A detailed look at opening lat muscles with the aid of props (mat, blanket, chair) working towards Pincha Mayurasana (Feathered Peacock Pose) with a yoga block.
- Tennis Ball Techniques For Tight Muscles: A fun read that demonstrates (with pictures) how tennis balls can help relieve tight muscles through the practice of self-massage (straps, chairs, blankets, and socks)
- Five Ways Props Enhance the Practice: A compelling personal story about using yoga props followed by five simple reasons to use props
- Restorative Yoga with a Bolster: 10 minute video demonstration of how to use yoga bolsters in twisting restorative poses and for meditation
- Propping Tip: Short video demonstration for how to use blankets to help support the ankles and Achilles’ tendon in restorative yoga poses
- Restorative Detox Practice: 35 minute practice to restore the body while simultaneously helping the process of detoxification with the help of a yoga bolster, four blankets, an eye pillow, and a strap
- Kathryn Budig Challeng Pose – Gherandasana: Let a yoga strap help you through this photo demonstration of the huge backbend, Gherandasana
- How To Do King Pigeon Yoga Pose: Ten minute video demonstration of how to work into Eka Pada Raja Kapostasana (One Legged King Pigeon Pose) using two yoga blocks and a strap.
- Restorative Shavasana To Reduce Anxiety: A short instructional video demonstrating how to support bodies and open the chest for deeper breathing in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the use of a yoga bolster, two blocks, and several blankets
- End Of The Day Restoration: An absolutely delicious 30 minute class that will help you unwind and restore from your day with the aid of several yoga blocks, yoga bolsters, and yoga blankets