Yoga is a journey! Our bodies and practice are equally dynamic, and require our mindfulness each and every time we step onto our mat. Some days will be met with greater energy and ease; while other days will involve some lethargy, stiffness, and an overall sense of “blah”… it happens!
As we continue to explore our practice, we will come across certain Yoga poses (asanas) that may not be immediately within our reach. However we can still achieve a variation of this pose with the help and support of Yoga Props. Rather than regarding props as crutches to compensate for our “inadequacy”, let’s start using these props to leverage ourselves into new postures, while developing some muscle-memory, as our body takes the time and space it needs to navigate this new territory. It’s all about perspective!
Many of us may already be familiar with some of the basic yoga props we’ve seen/used in a studio-setting, such as: straps, bolsters, blocks, and blankets. However, there are possibly MORE props available to us within our own home, that are simple, effective, and won’t require shopping for additional items!
Here are some items that are great to bring to your mat for your practice:
Blankets & Towels
The versatility of blankets and towels make these the perfect choice for quick and effective yoga props. Long bath towels can instantly become straps to shorten the gap as we reach for our toes in Head-to-Knee pose (Janu Sirasana), or to support our foot in a Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe pose (Supta Padangusthasana). Blankets can be folded or rolled into an easy bolster to elevate our hips in Easy Seated Pose (Sukhasana) and Hero Pose (Virasana); placed under our knees to soften our Seated Forward Fold (Dandasana), or rolled and aligned between our shoulder blades for a supported back-bend (Fish Pose/Matsyasana). For seasoned yogis, using a towel as a strap can extend your reach to achieve King Pigeon (Raja Kapotasana), and Dancer pose (Natarajasana).
Bed pillows offer the ideal length and fullness to support us in a variety of yoga poses. We can rest upon a pillow to enhance the restorative benefits of Child’s pose (Balasana) and Corpse pose (Savasana). A large pillow fills the gaps as we navigate into Leg Splits (Hanumanasana) and Pigeon pose (Kapotasana), fostering a supportive cushion beneath our hips and legs, as we build flexibility and mobility in our joints.
Having clear access to a wall, or even a kitchen counter, can serve as a surprising prop to support some otherwise challenging yoga poses. As a sturdy touch-point, we can lean into walls to support our balancing poses such as Tree (Vrksasana), Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana), and Dancer (Natarajasana). We can safely and confidently rely on walls as we work toward tricky inversions such as Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) and Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana); as well as restorative poses such as Legs-Up-the-Wall (Viparita Karani).
Books & Boxes
Firm books and boxes are great replacements for yoga blocks. While standing, having a thick book (or two) placed in front of our feet can shorten the distance while reaching down for a standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana). Same goes for maintaining our spinal alignment and experiencing that deep stretch in Pyramid pose (Parsvottanasana). These home-sourced blocks allow us to reach, without having to compromise any stretch benefits for our legs, and protect our lower back! It’s a win-win-win.
Interested in learning more?
Check out Elizabeth's video on using your everyday home items as props on our IG TV!
Written by: Elizabeth Fox
Liberty Life Yoga teachers, students & partners sharing on #livingthelibertylife