The Use of Props in Yoga Classes
There are different views when it is related with the use of props in our yoga practice.
Depends on our background, we might have crossed over these views or have stayed to one side to use or not to use props.
From the style of yoga that I started with, the use of props was never introduced. Although alignment was important, I was relying only on various pose modifications instead of with the aid of props. Lucky – or not lucky – with my strength and flexibility, I have never missed the use of props in my practice. It is true, you cannot miss what you don’t know.
However, teaching now in the western world, where most people do not normally sit on the floor, or on squat, let alone touch the toes – I reach to props often for the safety of the practitioners to enter a pose.
So without judging the different views regarding the props, let’s see how we can integrate props in our teaching or our own yoga practice.
Different Kinds of Props
There are a lot of yoga props out there, it can be head- spinning to decide what to use. The first prop that you might use – and most likely already have – is a yoga mat. With millions to choose from, I would recommend to use one that is suitable to your style. For example, indoor or outdoor mat, light for traveler or heavy and more padding for sensitive joints. Another thing you might want to look at is the sustainability of the mat. With the issues we are now facing in our environment, please choose the mat which is made from eco-friendly materials. Or choose the one that can last “forever”, so it doesn’t end up in the garbage bin too often.
Another essential prop is a yoga block. Usually two is sufficient. A strap and a bolster would be useful too. There are so many other props to use, such as blanket, chair or a wall.
The Use of the Props
With a lot of ways to use the props in a Yoga Teacher Training class, the creativity is endless. Here is some example of some uses.
Blocks are very handy. We can use them in standing poses when our arms cannot reach the floor just yet. We can also squeeze them in between our thigh to train activating our thigh muscles. Place it in between your palms in chair pose.
Bolsters are very popular props for seated meditation, you can sit on top of one or two. Also place a bolster behind your back vertically in Supta Badha Konasana for more support.
Straps can be used in Badha Konasana, to help the soles of the feet stay together. Can also be used in Paschimottanasana. Pulling the straps makes Gomukhasana easier to do when shoulders are not open yet.
Deepen Your Practice with Yoga Prop Without Attachment
It is important to remember that despite of their multi purpose use, we should not get attached to the props. Without props we can still practice yoga. Without our mats, without our blocks, without our bolsters, we can still practice yoga.
Yoga poses are not only about anatomical structures. As yoga practitioners we have to be able to move beyond fixation with the physical and physiological. The poses are just our tools to connect mind-body-spirit. The props are just helping us to achieve that.
Now it is the time to practice yoga. With or without props.