Props are an essential part of my yoga practice. I love the extra space and support they give me in my body. Contrary to popular belief, props are not just for people with injuries or range of motion limitations, and they're not just for "going deeper into a pose" - whatever that means. Props are to support your body in a pose in whatever way your practice requires. I like to use props in poses, that my body is otherwise happy in, because sometimes it's nice to feel the pose in a different way. I like to have all my props within reach when I'm on my mat so that I can experiment with them throughout my practice.
What Props Do I Use?
This is my yoga box. I don't have enough space in our apartment to have a dedicated yoga space so I keep my yoga equipment all together in a box so it's ready to go when I want to practice.
My yoga kit includes:
a yoga mat, I prefer a natural rubber yoga mat like Jade or Kurma GECO, they are cushiony and grippy without being sticky and they wear very well, they can be expensive, though I have found they are worth the money.
a couple of yoga blocks. I like the Kmart ones because they're a good size for my hands, they have bevelled edges, they're soft to touch but still nice and firm to prop me up and they're cheap! I think they are about $6 each, and that includes a strap too! The only downside is that sometimes they can have a strong chemical smell for a little while and you might need to leave them outside for a few days to "de-stink" them 🦨
a yoga strap. Any yoga strap, or length of fabric will do, as long as it's at least 1.5m long and comfortable for your hands to hold. The benefit of a yoga strap is that it will have a buckle at one end that allows you to create a loop, which can be handy in different poses. The one that comes free with the Kmart block is a decent strap
a blanket. In most yoga studios you'll find them using the 'army surplus' style of blankets. They're made from dense wool and that means, when you fold or roll it, it's nice and firm to support you. But feel free to use any blanket you have available
a bolster, not necessary but comes in very handy when you require something to prop up the whole body. I use inflatable bolsters because they're light and I can carry half a dozen to in-person classes easily (when we're not in lockdown 😉). The style that they use in yoga studios is great to use, they're very supportive and can be used in lot of different ways
Where To Get Them
My favourite place to buy yoga props from is iYoga Props https://iyogaprops.com.au/ They're local to Melbourne, the products are good quality and they're happy to help.
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But you don't have to buy any props. Sometimes you can find things around the house that work just as good like, food cans wrapped in a towel to use for blocks, those little footstools that toddlers use to reach the bench, rolled up towels to use for bolsters or blocks, couch cushions, a dressing gown sash/belt for a strap, a wall, kitchen bench, a broom ... endless possibilities.
Chairs are always a great prop to use in your practice. I don't actually own any dining chairs with backs on them so I use my stools or my fitball or I borrow one of my neighbour's dining chairs!
Safety Tip: make sure your chair isn't going to move. Place the chair feet on your mat or other non-slip surface.
Of course, props allow us to bring poses to our practice that may not otherwise be available to our bodies. However, using props in our practice can also be a fabulous way to find different aspects of a pose that we might not have experienced before. Have a play with some props next time you're on your mat and then let us know what fabulous new ways of doing poses you've found.
Nina - Plus Yoga.
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