Yoga has always been about attaining perfect physical and mental harmony through a set of poses. However, for a beginner or for someone who is not as physically able, such as an older practitioner, this seems to cause a lot of stress, leading to imbalance.
The Importance of Yoga Props
Contrary to what many people think, yoga props are not only used to teach beginners stability and posture but also to guide their body into poses that would otherwise be very difficult to achieve. Not only does this allow a faster transition into more difficult exercises, but it also allows the body to learn without feeling sore, moulds it into the perfect posture for each asana and at the same time, stretches and strengthens each relevant muscle in the routine. The practitioner is also saved a lot of stress.
Of course, yoga props can also be used to make a routine harder for those who like to push themselves to the limit, so their use works both ways depending on the individual. Anything new should always be approached with caution and the same rule applies for props. Never push yourself on the first use. Find a pose that you can safely work your prop into and try it out. If that doesn’t work, try another one. Props are versatile so don’t worry about your investment going to waste if it doesn’t suit a certain asana.
Choosing The Right Yoga Props
Prop choosing depends on the type of requirement, such as which asanas you need them to support, their storing ability and versatility. Most props like blocks and straps are small enough to be put away in drawers and those that aren’t such as bolsters and blankets can be repurposed to be used with your furnishing when you are not using it for yoga. There are a multitude of props out there and the most difficult part is choosing which ones you will need for your routine. Ask your yoga master or a fellow practitioner for advice but keep in mind that what works for them may not always work for you.
The Different Types Of Yoga Props
Props come in an ever-changing variety of forms that have many uses. Blocks are one of the most commonly used props in yoga. They are used mainly for lengthening the body by bringing you closer to the floor and are also used to improve balance and stability for other asanas. Blocks can be the traditional solid rectangle or a slightly curved block depending on whether it is used for general yoga or restorative yoga respectively. They are extremely affordable and are made in a plethora of materials from high density foam and cork to wood. They are also easy to clean and maintain.Though many people don’t consider mats as a yoga prop more so than a necessity, it does help you keep a better grip on the floor. Depending on the material used and the thickness, they can be used as a barrier between your body and the floor and also as a support for your joints in certain asanas like the child or lotus poses. Usually made of PVC these days, there are many eco-friendly and synthetic versions of the mat that vary in sponginess and texture. Find one that keeps you dry and is non-slippery for the best experience.
A level up from the humble mat is the blanket. Unlike the mat, this is purely for supporting joints and for stretching. While it may not have the stickiness of the mat to keep you glued to a spot, the movement of the fabric allows you to perform leg stretches by bunching and releasing it. It typically is made from wool and wool blends but other cotton mixes are available. You can have your blanket dry-cleaned or hand wash it after it becomes dirty.
For someone who has problems bending, using a yoga wheel to support the curvature of the spine is a perfect way to boost your body’s flexibility. Another way to support the body is to use bolsters but if you are running short of storage space in your house, a yoga wheel is a way to go.
There are many more uses and reasons to use yoga props as well as why you should be using them. However, the best way to feel the difference is by using one. try something small and if you don’t feel comfortable with it, try something else till you find yoga a pleasure.