Fitness Magazine

Yoga Props We Can't Live Without

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Nina
Yoga Props We Can't Live WithoutA few weeks ago I wrote a post 7 Reasons Why You Should Love Yoga Props about why yoga props are so beneficial. Today I thought it would be a good idea to tell you exactly which props we recommend and why. (Just kidding about the “can’t live without” part because actually you can do a lot of yoga, especially when you’re traveling or stuck somewhere with absolutely no props at all, but I needed a catchier title than “Yoga Props We Generally Recommend.”)

Recommended Yoga Props

  • One yoga mat (a thin sticky mat, not a padded exercise mat)
  • Two blocks (wood, cork, or foam)
  • One eight-foot strap (with a buckle, if possible)
  • One sturdy chair 
  • One round yoga bolster
  • Two densely woven single blankets
Although you can find yoga props for sale at many yoga studios as well as on several web sites, you may not be able to—or wish to— make a major investment in buying “official” yoga props. So, in many cases, you may be able to make do by using things you already have around the house (see Making Your Own Yoga Props).Yoga Mat. If you buy only one yoga prop, buy a yoga mat (also known as a sticky mat). A yoga mat provides you with the best surface practice yoga on, keeping you from slipping around, especially if you start to sweat. You can also use a yoga to keep other props, such as blocks or blankets, from slipping around by placing them on top of the mat. It’s also just generally useful. For example, you fold it up and use it to cushion for various bony parts of your body or as a firmer option for a blanket.Yoga Props We Can't Live WithoutYoga Blocks. You can use blocks to support different parts of your body, such as your hands or or your pelvis. For example, you may sit on a block while doing a seated twist or place both hands on blocks in Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). And if you can’t easily reach the floor in a pose like Triangle pose (Trikonasana) or Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), using a block helps stabilize you and keep you from over-stretching. Yoga Props We Can't Live WithoutIf you do not have blocks, you can use books or small boxes. However, be sure to use something that is firm rather than squishy so it can easily support the weight of your body. And make sure that for those poses requiring two blocks, that the two props you use are the same size. Yoga Strap. You primarily use a yoga strap to reach parts of your body that you cannot reach without overstretching or at all. For example, you can use the strap to reach your toes in Reclined Leg Stretch (Supta Padangusthasana) and to connect your hands in Cow-Face pose (Gomukasana) if you can’t make the clasp.Yoga Props We Can't Live WithoutYou can also buckle the belt into a loop and use the loop to bind your arms or legs together. For example, you can use a strap around your arms in Downward-Facing Dog pose to keep them into good alignment. If you do not have a yoga belt, you can use a tie or sash. For those times when you need to make a loop with the belt, you will have to tie your sash. Chair. You can use the chair for the “chair” versions of poses, such as twists and shoulder openers (see Featured Sequence: Mini Office Yoga Practice).Yoga Props We Can't Live WithoutYou can also use them to do higher versions of classic poses, such as Downward-Facing Dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) and Upward Plank pose (Purvottanasana), to rest your head on while you’re in a supported forward bend, and to support your hand in standing poses if a block is too low. Yoga Props We Can't Live WithoutIn certain classic supported inverted poses, such as Easy Inverted pose, Chair Shoulderstand, and Half Plow pose (Arda Halasana), and certain supported backbends, you will actually drape part of your body on the chair.

Yoga Props We Can't Live Without

Chair, Blankets, and Sticky Mat All Together

You can use almost any sturdy chair for yoga, except one that has wheels, although for certain backbends you need a chair with an opening in the back that you can fit your legs through and for Half Plow pose, you need a chair without a bar across the front legs as well as a opening in the back. Most yoga studios use inexpensive office folding chairs, sometimes with the back removed, which are easy to obtain from an office supply store.Bolster. How would we do restorative yoga without a bolster? (See Restorative Yoga: An Introduction.) For restorative yoga, you use your bolster to comfortably support your torso, pelvis, or legs, and if you’re flexible to rest your head on while you are in a seated forward bend. You can also use a bolster as a softer alternative in poses where you might normally use the support of a block.
Yoga Props We Can't Live Without
If you do not have a bolster, you can roll one or two folded blankets to create a bolster substitute or you can use a stack of blankets folded into thin rectangles, depending on which shape is more appropriate.Blankets. You can use folded blankets to sit on, to support your head in reclining positions, and to support and cushion your body in various ways. (A blanket is always good under your knees as shown above.) You can use rolled blankets for passive backbends and for your legs in restorative poses, and to substitute for a bolster when you don’t have one (or need more than one). 
Yoga Props We Can't Live Without
If possible, use single-bed-size blankets of densely woven fabric, such as wool or cotton. Squishy or fluffy blankets, such as comforters or polar fleece blankets, do not provide the necessary support that you will need, as your body weight flattens them.Happy propping!Subscribe to Yoga for Healthy Aging by Email ° Follow Yoga for Healthy Aging on Facebook ° Join this site with Google Friend Connect

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