By Shahid Mishra
Yoga props are a helpful and useful way to introduce beginners to yoga and allow them to hold the correct pose without an excess of difficulty. A prop is anything that is used to aid in the practice of posturing. Some of the more common props are mats, blankets, yoga bolsters (shaped pillows), belts, chairs and sanded wooden blocks.
The most recognizable symbol of yoga is the mat, of course. The yoga mat is useful because it typically has parallel lines that cross in a perfect grid and is a little ‘sticky’. The parallel lines allow you to focus and help you align your body correctly for the different positions. Being slightly ‘sticky,’ a mat assists you with unwanted movement.
The blankets and yoga bolsters are used in a similar fashion for restorative poses. Due to the construction of one’s hips, some people are better off to do pigeon pose with a blanket, than without. The bolsters help support the body in different positions. They are particularly useful in aiding to open the chest up for breathing. The blankets can be folded and molded to help provide substantial support. Cotton blankets are usually preferred because they provide firmer support than wool or polyester type blankets.
Belts are used to assist in holding the stretching positions for yoga students who are extra stiff. For example: when tight hamstrings prevent a student from reaching their toes. Belts are also often used in a shoulder stand, to keep the upper arms from splaying out.
Chairs of all sizes are useful for people recovering from trauma or disease, the elderly, and for the very stiff. Especially for forward bending type poses. They can also be used to achieve some back bending poses. Extra care should be taken when using a chair for a back bending positions, to not fall off the chair.
The foam or sanded wooden blocks are nearly invaluable for helping stiff students reach the feeling a achieving a final pose, when they lack the flexibility to normally do so. The best example of this is the half-moon pose, where the hand that should be placed on the floor is placed on a brick instead.
Yoga props can be very useful for the beginner and the stiff student alike. Be sure to keep challenging yourself. It can be easy to rely on the props that are so helpful and not push yourself for the best yoga results.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
Do you want to learn to teach Yoga? See our selection of meditation and Yoga teacher certification courses.