Have you ever felt that yoga props are just for beginners? It’s time to breakdown the stigma associated with using blocks, bolsters, and other props to see them as the useful tools they really are.
These tools you typically see in a yoga studio or fitness center are a major asset to your yoga practice when they’re used in the right way. Sure, yoga props can help you with the basics like bringing the floor a little closer to you for forward folds or elongating your arms for binds but they’re also extremely versatile. If there’s a tricky posture you’ve been working on or you’re looking to release a muscle that just won’t give, yoga props might give you the extra edge you’re looking for.
Some of these props could be new to you so you may want to pick some up for your home practice. I’ve listed some of my favourite choices which I know you’re going to love too. A heads up for transparency: I’m part of the lululemon creator network and an Amazon affiliate so I will receive a commission if you make a purchase through the links below.
Why You Need Blocks
If you’re looking for something multifaceted yet cost-effective, a set of blocks is the best option for your yoga practice. With an abundance of ways to use them, they might just become your favourite tool. Whether you want them for strengthening, lengthening, support, or comfort, nearly every posture can benefit from the use of a block.
Lift, Lengthen, and Support (Especially During Injuries)
Looking to pick up blocks for yourself? Check out these options:
Why You Need Them Bolsters
When I picked up my first bolster, I thought I’d gone to yoga prop heaven. These cushy yet firm pillow-like supports make your yoga practice feel luxurious. Bolsters are one of the best investments you can make if you are looking to fully relax and let go. Even though they’re accessible to everyone, I consider bolsters to be an advanced prop since it’s usually linked to serious practitioners and meditators.
If you’ve “been around the block” with your yoga practice, you’ve probably wondered what it’s like to slow down and really listen. You can only do so many sun salutations before realizing there might be something more to this. Also, if you’ve been around a while, you’ve probably sustained an injury or two (or 5 if you live in Whistler) so slowing down and shifting your practice makes sense.
The bolster acts as support for restorative postures so your brain can quiet and your nervous system can shift into a parasympathetic state ie the relaxation response. This has a profound effect on people who live stress-filled lives or anyone recovering from an injury that’s looking for a way to heal their body and support themselves through the process.
If you did want to jump back into hatha or vinyasa based practices, bolsters can also make a great tool to practice arm balances safely. Check out the gallery below for more ideas on how to use bolsters effectively.
Deep Relaxation and Muscle Release
Why You Need Straps
Straps are extremely unique when it come to the smorgasbord of yoga props. They are the only tool that can “bind” with a buckle, tie parts of your body together, and assist you deeper into certain postures. When it comes to binds or lengthening your arms from one body part to another, there’s nothing better to assist you than a strap.
Why You Need Eye Pillows
Eye pillows are one of the most underrated and underutilized props. These powerhouses have a profound effect on your nervous system. If stress and anxiety act as barriers in your yoga practice, eye pillows might be the remedy.
The pressure from the weight of an eye pillow assists your autonomic nervous system to shift into “rest” mode. This has numerous healing benefits for your mind, body, and spirit. When used over your eyes it also blocks out light, further deepening your restful state and helping you maintain a clear focus. If you place an eye pillow on your belly, you can use it as a tool to connect more deeply to your breath and the movement that comes with your inhalation and exhalation. Finally, for many practitioners using eye pillows in their hands acts as a game changer. Anyone who uses a computer regularly notices an almost immediate relief for their flexor muscles in their hands and wrists which can become overworked and fatigued from typing.
Why You Need Yoga Sandbags
A yoga sandbag is another therapeutic method similar to an eye pillow. The weight puts the autonomic nervous system back into a relaxed state. This is where a lot of healing happens. Some practitioners will also use them for weight training with postures. 10 lbs may not seems like a lot to some, but applied in the right way they can build a lot of strength. Plus, these props are simple to put together; when you receive a bag, fill it with playground sand from your local hardware store. I was able to find mine locally at the Rona and I’ve heard you can even find occasionally at the Reuseit Center here in Whistler.
By now, you can see that yoga props act as an essential part of getting on your mat at home or in the studio. All practitioners, from beginner to advanced, can benefit by applying blocks, bolsters, straps, and eye pillows with a specific intention. These yoga props become extremely valuable when they can help you build strength, create support, and fully let go when you need to the most. Skipping the use of yoga props means you might miss out on valuable learning opportunities.
Let me know which yoga prop is your favourite in the comments!
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