In some styles of yoga, props can get a pretty bad rap. But not here at HealingRadius! Like B.K.S. Iyengar, we believe that props are great assets for helping bring yoga to everyone, regardless of age, experience, or physical condition.
So here are seven props to add to your yoga tool kit, and a few alternative options if you find yourself without your props!
Blocks are a great option for helping you close the gap between almost-pose and pose! They can be used to raise the floor a little higher so you’re not over-reaching, which can throw off your core stability in certain forward bends. And since blocks can be placed at three different heights, they can help warm up the body throughout your practice more gradually which is great for long-term flexibility.
Alternative blocks: books! Grab a couple of sturdy hardbacks and voila, homemade yoga blocks.
Straps help stabilize your joints in certain poses, which encourages flexibility by supporting the inflexible parts of the body. This creates traction and space to ease compression that can happen anywhere in the body. Straps can also help you close the space in binding poses while you’re building the flexibility needed to perform them without the strap.
Alternative straps: belts or scarves! Yoga straps can be anywhere from 6 to 10 feet long, so just make sure your substitution is somewhere in that range.
Chairs are such great props, there are even yoga classes popping up everywhere offering exclusively “Chair Yoga!” Chairs offer an extra level of stability to your poses that comes with having six legs at your disposal. A chair can be a very useful tool for almost every pose, from the most basic, like downward dog or seated twist, to the most advanced, like scorpion.
Alternative chairs: your couch, a table, or anything else generally chair-height.
Believe it or not, the wall could be one of the best props to grace your practice. You may have already explored using the wall for stability and balance when working on inversions, but you can also use the wall as a guideline for proper alignment in standing or seated postures.
Alternative walls: um. We’re not actually sure on this one…
Bolsters are there to, well, bolster you up! They come in all shapes and sizes, so you’ll want to make sure you find one that fits the Goldilocks rule: too much support can cause injury while too little support doesn’t assist you in your poses, so find one that’s juuust right. Bolsters are often used in Yin Yoga classes to help support the body as you ease into poses that are held for a few minutes at a time.
Alternative bolsters: pillows or cushions – and stack ‘em if you have to!
Blankets provide a subtle, more gentle support that’s particularly helpful when softening certain postures. Stacked blankets can help lift the floor to you and cushion hard areas, and rolled blankets can weigh down on areas of the body to help release them. Remember to always roll or fold blankets so they have clean edges as they support the body.
Alternative blankets: a towel would work! But blankets are much comfier, don’t you agree?
What are some of your favorite ways to use props in your yoga practice? We’d love to hear all about them!
Kat Wiseman is a content writer for Span Enterprises in Rock Hill, SC. She has a B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Winthrop University and her RYT 200 from Yoga Alliance. When she's not writing or doing yoga, she enjoys Netflix marathons, mystery novels, and being at the beach.