Blocks. Straps. Blankets. Sometimes hidden in the corner of a yoga studio. Sometimes never mentioned by a teacher. Or, sometimes used thoughtfully throughout an entire class.
Different styles of yoga and different teachers have varying opinions on using props during a class.
I believe the use of yoga props can elevate your practice.
1. More Space. When we sit on the edge of our blanket in meditation, we are creating the openness needed in our hips to keep our spine comfortable and safe. When we place our hands on blocks, we bring the floor up to us. When we grab for our strap it lengthens our foot or leg. Yoga props help create more space in our bodies. And this is so important. When I breathe into the expansiveness that props can create, I feel lit up and alive. My exhales are euphoric and my lips soften into a smile.
2. Bye Bye Ego. While that pesky little ego is an important aspect of our being, often times it can get in our way. Our ego tells us that we don’t need yoga props. We can do it all on our own. “Me? Need help? I don’t think so.” It is okay to need help. Sprinkle in the use of props in your practice and you’ll learn it’s okay to ask for support in other aspects of your life as well.
3. Here is where I am today. And it’s exactly where you should be. Maybe today you need a block for your bottom hand in Trikonasana and tomorrow you don’t. When we learn to listen to our bodies instead of forcing them into what we think they “should” be doing, our whole being softens into acceptance. We accept that today our body may be sore when we step on our mat. We then accept when we are pushing ourselves off our mat and learn to soften there as well.
I teach vinyasa yoga and love the fluid, almost dance-like, quality that can come from this practice. Do I teach each pose with a prop? Nope! But, I always invite my students to play around with props and kindly incorporate them into a pose when needed. It’s what can open you up and elevate your practice.