A Beginner's Guide To Yoga Props
Sometimes people get the wrong idea about props in yoga, viewing them as crutches or “cheating.” But this mindset really couldn’t be further from the truth and can actually hold you back in your practice! First of all, yoga props aren’t crutches, but rather intelligently developed tools to help you achieve alignment as well as deepen into your poses. They can be used by any yogi no matter the age or level of experience; that’s why most yoga studios have shelves of them! When we give ourselves that loving support, our body can unfold gently into a pose. Force is only met back with force, which is counterproductive and potentially damaging. Let’s take a look at a list of the most commonly used and beneficial props you can implement into your unique yoga practice:
Let’s start off with one of the most popular props on the block: the yoga block! Blocks are used to assist in stability and alignment in standing poses and flexibility in seated stretching poses. They’re so helpful because they bring the floor up to you. Blocks stabilize poses and make them more accessible to yogis of different abilities and body types. In addition, yoga blocks can be used to deepen a pose or stretch if you’re looking to add a little extra challenge.
Our cork blocks are made of high-quality, sustainably sourced cork, which will support you in every asana. The cork material makes them easier to grip and more comfortable, not to mention more antimicrobial!
You might be thinking, really, a blanket? Yes, really! As far as props go, a blanket is as versatile and accessible as it gets. For yoga, choose a blanket that is made of natural fibers like wool or cotton as they are better for retaining body heat for restorative poses like an end-of-class Savasana, are eco-friendly, and will put you more in touch with the natural world. The best part is, they are so lightweight that you can pick them up and take them anywhere, for yoga on the go! Use a folded blanket as support under
your knees in any pose that has them down on the mat like Cat/Cow, or Gate Pose. They’re also great to place under you in seated poses for extra comfort and back support.
So, what’s a yoga strap? A yoga strap, also called a yoga belt, is a prop for everyone from beginner to advanced that encourages proper alignment and helps lengthen your poses. Have you been working on a specific pose but can’t quite reach? A yoga strap is your new best friend! A good strap can help make poses safer and more accessible, aid in flexibility, and improve alignment.
BKS Iyengar created a belt specifically for yoga in the early ’70s. These early belts were made of cotton with a sliding bar and stainless-steel buckle. They were sturdy but often hard to loosen when pulled tight. Today’s straps are modelled after the original but are wider for comfort and easier to adjust.
Our Nama yoga strap is made from organic cotton using non harmful natural dyes. This classic cotton belt design with its sliding metal buckle makes it a modern favorite in the Iyengar community. It will enhance and support your practice by opening you up like never before.
Yoga bolsters are long, cylindrical pillows meant to support your body in certain poses. They are an especially great tool for Restorative yoga because they offer added comfort and support while the body holds a position for an extended period of time. They can be wedged under different parts of the body like the legs and back to aid in stretching and create more relaxation. Yoga bolsters are available in different sizes and shapes, so you’re sure to find the right fit for you.
It’s in the name, a meditation cushion is an excellent prop for, well, meditation! They provide extra support and comfort while you’re in a seated position allowing you to concentrate on your meditation or seated asanas. A good meditation cushion lifts your hips, allowing them to roll slightly forward, supporting the healthy natural curve of your back and aligning your spine. They can even be used like a bolster for more restorative poses.
Our Zen Meditation Cushion is made of high-quality sustainable cork fabric with treated buckwheat fillers. The cork cushion naturally takes the shape of your body making it very comfortable. It’s also so lightweight, making it easy to carry around and be mindful on the go! As a bonus, it makes for a nice piece of decor when not in use.
Eye pillows might seem simple, but they can be a life-changing prop! Ideal for restorative yoga, Yoga Nidra, and of course Savasana, eye pillows put gentle pressure on the eyelids, stimulating the Vagus nerve. This important nerve is the main balancer of the Parasympathetic nervous system and sends calming messages down the body. By stimulating the Vagus nerve, you give your body signals that it’s okay to let go and relax. It can also result in nights of sweet, deep sleep!
Drift away and go into deeper relaxation with one of our consciously crafted Eye Pillows. Each Pillow was mindfully created by underprivileged but over-talented women in India, and each sale benefits them. The pillows have an organic lavender scent which has the added yogic benefit of relieving tension headaches and helping with anxiety and insomnia. They can be heated up in the microwave for a wonderful warm sensation or cooled in the freezer to reduce puffiness and swelling.
Yoga Props can be used for so many reasons in our ever-evolving practice. They have the capacity to increase accessibility and support for all yogis and all bodies. Props allow you to maintain the healthiest alignment for you, and prevent injury, no matter the asana. So don’t be afraid to stock up on some helpful props for your next yoga class. Give your body the loving support that it needs! After all, couldn’t we all use a little more of that?
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