Table of Content
- Bricks or Blocks
- Yoga Bolsters
- Yoga Belts/Straps
A simple object that is used to practice yoga poses is a yoga prop. In ancient times, the asanas were done using no prop, but in the modern times, props play a very important role in yoga. These props are very beneficial for the individuals who are less experienced in yoga. Sometimes the unachievable poses can be done through the use of props. Also the props make the poses safer and have various health benefits as well. These props also help an individual to get more creative in the yoga practice.
Props also give freedom and space to learn new techniques. Many new props have been introduced and there are few props which have been used since years and years. B.K.S Iyengar was the pioneer who had introduced the extensive use of props in yoga to help the beginners and inexperienced students of yoga. His influence on the use of props in modern yoga is noteworthy. There are various kinds and varieties of yoga props but the main 6 types of yoga props are:
The most essential type of prop in yoga is the yoga mat. Nowadays without the mat, yoga is not possible. In ancient times, yoga was done on a bare ground with a deer or tiger skin rug. Modern mats are made of plastic or rubber. The mats used in yoga are usually moist in texture. These mats provide a surface which reduces the unwanted movements. Due to the parallel lines in the mat, the alignment in various poses is possible. It helps in facilitating or extending the pose.
2. Bricks or Blocks
Wooden bricks /blocks were introduced by B.K Iyengar in yoga. Yoga blocks and bricks enhance the yoga practice. Few people who are stiffer and inexperienced find it difficult to do a finished pose. With the help of these bricks and blocks, impossible poses can also be done with ease. There is a pose called half-moon pose in which the hand is placed on the brick instead of a floor. It also provides a podium for shoulder stand.
Surya namaskar or the sun salutation can also be done with the help of blocks. Crow pose is difficult to do if one is not flexible and the hips cannot be lifted. Using the blocks, one can do a crow pose. In some poses, a single block is used while some asanas require a stack of two blocks. Bricks and blocks are used extensively as it raises the floor and can be used as lengthways depending on the need of the practitioner. Blocks play a very important role in sitting positions. Blocks are used in a child’s pose as well by placing them between calves and heels.
3. Yoga Bolsters
Yoga bolsters are known as the king of all the props. They help in restorative poses which thereby helps to support the body in a state of relaxation. They are used in other yoga practices as well. They can be placed under the spine. In this way, bolsters help support the spine and also help in balancing core work.
Bolsters are beneficial in Natarajasana pose where the practitioner stands in the middle of the bolster and gaze on the floor or wall in front of them. Bolsters are not only used in poses that can be balanced but they are also used to fine-tune the position. The kneeling pose is quite difficult as the co ordination is needed which becomes easier with the help of yoga bolsters.
Bow pose is quite challenging for most of the students but with the help of bolsters by keeping them below the lower abdomen, the stretching can be done without any pain in the lower back. In this way, bolsters are used widely as they lengthen the spine and ensure safety during inversions.
4. Yoga Belts/Straps
Whether the person performing yoga is experienced or a beginner, a strap can be beneficial for support and maintaining alignment and posture. Yoga belts/straps not only provide support but they also help to build up the flexibility. Yoga straps are quite helpful for stretching the arms, shoulders and sides of the body. Few poses in yoga require opening the shoulders. These straps make it possible to not only open the shoulders but also keep the movement stay comfortable. They are used to open the hamstrings.
Bound Angle pose can also be done using the straps as they help in stretching the inner thighs and hips. These belts are a simple cotton belts which have a sliding fastener. The straps are not like any resistance belts as they are very sturdy and also varies in thickness and length.
In this way belts/straps are used in various asanas as a supportive framework and in the extension of limbs .The strap or belt should be long enough so that variety of poses can be done.
The most obvious use of Blanket is staying warm during Savasana and meditation. It is also used as a support in restorative poses. Blanket is an everyday object. It is used as a cushion for the knees, elbows and wrists. It is quite challenging for some people to keep the spine straight in a seated position. Blanket helps to gain height in sitting poses. Those having tight hips find it tough to do various postures like a child pose, half pigeon etc. Blankets fill the gap for less flexible people. It not only makes the poses hip friendly but also less scary. These blankets are made of cotton polyester acrylic blend. They are quite affordable and durable in use.
Chairs in yoga can be used in a sitting position as well as in a standing position where the chair is used for support. It can also be done in a work place or where there is limited mobility. They are used in various poses like seated cat crow pose, seated chest opener, chair pigeon, seated forward fold etc. The most common pose done with yoga chair is downward facing down pose in which lengthening of spine can be done and the integrity of the spine is maintained. Chair is also useful in exploring the back bending and an inversion.
These are the 6 main props used in yoga that provide support for beginners and people with physical limitations. They not only help yoga practitioners during difficult poses but also help in preventing unnecessary strain or injury to the body. In this way these props are used all over the world extensively due to their benefits and they are quite convenient to use and pocket-friendly to own. All the props are easily available online as well as various fitness stores. These props not only enhance the poses but also support the body in weight-bearing exercises.