The three essential yoga props:
Who says yoga is slow and boring? The practice of yoga comes in various forms and styles. A practitioner can choose any type of asana practice according one’s persona and need of the hour. Ranging from dynamic and rigorous ashtanga practice, energy boosting vinyasa flows to comforting and peaceful restorative styles,yoga covers it all.
However, there is one thing which is commonly shared among all the styles; the use of yoga props. Yoga props are of valuable help for any level of yoga practitioner. They help to facilitate and strengthen our practice.
Let’s look at the three most fundamental and essential yoga props for one to practice alignment based injury free yoga:
1. Yoga bricks:
- Yoga brick is one of the most popular yoga prop. Made of foam, bamboo, cork or wood this yoga prop is an essential accessory especially for beginners.
- Iyengar first developed this prop for Sirsasana; headstand to support the back and shoulders blades by placing them close to the wall.
- They provide a minimum height for a practitionerwith low hamstring flexibility and is unable to reach with their hands down on the mat for standing poses like Uttanasana, Trikonasana, Prasvakonasna, Ardha Chandrasana
- From providing support to the head, spine and pelvis to help elongate the desired muscle and tendon in any particular asana this prop has a wide range of usage.
- Seeing the solid support provided to the body there are different types of bricks invented for different asanas. For example- Semi-circular bricks for supporting the spine in Supta Virasana, round bricks for people with flat foot and so on.
2. Yoga belt:
- The second most common prop widely in use today generation is a yoga belt.
- Drawing the inspiration from a luggage belt by the people of France, Iyengar thought that a belt can be of great help to provide grip to the shaky arms and legs.
- Belts work as extension of your arms to prevent the collapsing of the chest and compression of the anterior spine in forward folds like Uttanasana, Paschiomottasana, Janu Sirsasana.
- Belts help in giving right direction to the muscles and bones in an asana. For example, in all inversions like headstand, handstand, elbow stand the elbows need to be correctly aligned in order to have balance and alignment. Tying a belt around the elbows help in keeping the elbows close to each other and aligned to the shoulders especially for people who have hyperextension of elbows.
3. Yoga blankets and bolsters:
- Yoga blankets and bolsters are widely used to generate a feeling of restfulness in any asana particularly for yin, therapy and restorative yoga styles.
- Due to their soft texture they act as cushions for the head, neck, vertebral column and pelvis. The props are also used for pranayama and meditation.
- The usage of other props would be limited without blankets and bolsters.
- Blankets and bolsters are used as height to sit on in most of the sitting poses like Paschiomottasana, Janu Sirsasana, Marichyasana, Baddha Konasana By sitting on the height the knee joint tends to be lower than the hip joint thereby making the spine straight.
The use these props would be of great help to initiate one to bring out the qualities of blissfulness and cheerfulness in one’s yoga practise. Our basic 5- day workshopsandyoga teacher training course in India will enable to you to have at least a gist of how to use these props to make your daily practise safe and easy. Try it out for yourself and feel the expansion of your prana energy while you are performing an asana.