Using a Yoga Prop
It’s Great for Yoga for a Beginner
or for a Seasoned Practitioner
A yoga prop is a tool that is very useful for the beginning yoga student. There are many yoga benefits that you can enjoy when you begin a regular yoga practice. However, it can be hard for you to reap those physical and spiritual benefits without the help of some type of yoga product.
What is a Yoga Prop?
A yoga prop is anything that you can use which will help you more easily and comfortably engage in a yoga session. They can help you with proper alignment, they can support you in doing poses when your body is too tight, they can help you prevent injuries that might occur if you force your body into a position that it is not ready to do, and they can help you to relax.
What is a Common Yoga Product?
Yoga Mat – A sticky mat is something that almost every student uses. It helps prevent you from slipping and sliding all over the place. When you are practicing yoga, your body begins to generate heat. It is very common for your hands and feet to become sweaty. (I know it sounds gross, but it is true.) A yoga mat allows your hands and feet to grip it so they stay in place. It can help to prevent you from hurting yourself. A mat also gives you protection from rolling around on a (sometimes less than clean) class floor.
I use different types of mats. I use the traditional
thinner mat when I am practicing on my carpet at home. However, whenever I go to a class, I use a thicker mat because it provides more cushioning for my back, knees, and butt. Self-Guiding Yoga Mats are really cool because the poses are actually printed on the mats so you can't forget them.
Yoga Strap – This is one yoga prop that I have with me whenever I practice. It helps me get into poses that I would not be able to do without either moving completely out of alignment or hurting myself.
I use a yoga strap like the 6' Cinch Buckle Cotton Yoga Strap every time I do Reclining Big Toe Pose. In this pose, you are lying supine with one leg straight out in front of you on the floor. The goal is to raise your other leg up in the air at a 90 degree angle and hold onto your big toe. I doubt if I will ever be able to reach my big toe in this position, so I use a strap to wrap around my toe.
Yoga Block – This yoga prop is very versatile. It is useful to help you maintain the proper alignment in a pose without contorting your body. If you are just beginning yoga, you would probably benefit from using a 4'' Foam Yoga Block.
You can also use it any time you are moving into a pose and there is a chance that you might get injured if you do the full pose. I use it for Hero Pose, which is basically sitting on the floor with your knees together and your feet on the sides of your body with your toes pointed backward. I have tight quads from running so I sit on a yoga block which helps prevent me from putting too much pressure on my knees in Hero Pose.
You can use a block on its widest side, on its long side, or its smaller side to get more height. You can even stack blocks to obtain even greater height if you need it.
What is a Less Common Yoga Prop?
Yoga Blanket – A yoga blanket can accomplish several things – it can help provide extra padding for your knees, hips, and back. You can use it to prop up your hips in restorative poses so you can allow yourself to fully relax. It can also help you add height and support in certain poses.
A blanket can be very useful when doing final resting pose and the room is chilly. After you work up a sweat from doing your yoga practice, you might find that you need to cover yourself with something warm such as a Extra Large Cotton Yoga Blanket without Tassels in order to enjoy the best pose of all (in my opinion) – final resting pose. Yoga Meditation Cushion - You can use this type of yoga prop during meditation. There are basically two types that are available. One is a small round cylindrical cushion which you can use to provide support for your neck during lying down meditation or final resting pose. You can also use a small round cushion such as the Round Cotton Zafu Meditation Cushion to sit on to make your meditation at the end of your practice more comfortable.Foam Roller -36'' Round EVA Foam Roller is absolutely my favorite yoga product! I use it to do core work and to allow my pec muscles to relax. I also have a problem with muscle spasms so I use the roller (almost daily) to get the knots out of my back. I couldn't live without it! Wall or Chair - A wall or chair is not traditionally considered a yoga prop. However, I think it meets that definition because both of them can help support you in your practice. You can use a wall or a chair for poses like Downward Facing Dog when it is difficult for you to reach all the way down to the floor. You can also use either one to help support your legs during some restorative poses. They aren’t fancy, but they can be a useful part of your practice.
An Important Point About Using a Yoga Prop
Yoga is not about competition or trying to look like anyone else. It is about physical, mental, and spiritual healing and well being. A main goal of yoga is to connect your mind and body with the spirit within you. If using a prop is going to help you enjoy the benefit of yoga --- then use it! You’ll be glad you did.
Enjoy your practice.
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