While you’re over there enjoying that Child’s Pose, you might hear your teacher ramble on about blocks or straps and how to use them. Maybe you think “I don’t need those things. I’m a pro.” BUT you would be wrong. Everyone needs props at some point. The idea that only beginners need props, or if you’re strong enough or flexible enough you shouldn’t need them is so so so wrong. We’re going to break down the props we use at the studio, and why we use them.
If you follow us on instagram you’ve seen us talk about side angle pose and using blocks to help open your chest. We like to think of blocks as a way to bring the floor up to you so that you can open your chest, your hips, or simply meet you where you are at. In Side Angle Pose, and Triangle where the primary goal is to open your hips and spin your chest open you can bring your hand to a block to allow yourself more room. In Pyramid, or Forward Folds you can rest your hands on blocks if you have tight hamstrings. Of course these poses are just a few examples and sometimes people need blocks because they are anatomically unable to do some poses. Depending on the length of your arms, and your legs can affect your ability to do some poses. In Yin we use blocks to rest on as we hold the poses for longer amounts of time. Blocks are an effective tool, and even the most advanced yogi knows the benefits of incorporating them into their practice.
We like to pull these out when we are beginning our stretching. If you have tight hamstrings straps will be your best friend. They can help you to move deeper into a pose. You can loop the strap around the balls of your feet for forward folds, and you can use them to open up your shoulders.
If you have sensitive knees these can be great padding for low lunges. You can roll up a blanket and put it under your feet if you are sitting on your heels. You can also place a blanket under your knees during Savasana if you have back pain. And of course we like to use blankets to cover up with in our relaxing classes because as your blood pressure drops and you begin to relax you may find yourself a bit cold.
We use these in our Relax To The Max and Yin classes. These are a softer alternative to blocks and can be more comfortable to rest on. They also are a bit higher than blocks and can provide a little more support. You can lay back on one to open your chest. You can bring one under your leg during pigeon to rest on. You can also put one under your knees during Savasana if a blanket isn’t quite high enough.
These are just a few of the ways that you can use props in your practice, there are of course a ton more uses. Our ultimate goal is to stop associating props with beginners or the inflexible. Say it with us PROPS ARE FOR EVERYONE. Shout it from the mountain top. And use your props proudly. And if your teacher recommends a prop for you, don’t think that it’s because you’re weak or inflexible. It’s because your teacher wants you to get everything you can out of this practice we call yoga and learn to do what we can with what we have.
Isn’t that the ultimate goal in life?